Salyers scores 4 TDs to lead Ironton past Fairland, 41-23
ROME TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Gage Salyers rushed for four touchdowns while Reid Carrico ran for 124 yards and one touchdown as the Ironton Fighting Tigers rolled to a 41-23 Ohio Valley Conference win over Fairland on Saturday at Jim Mayo Memorial Stadium.
The win avenged a loss by the Tigers to the Dragons last season at Ironton’s Tanks Memorial Stadium.
Salyers, the junior quarterback and safety for Ironton, said it was important for the Fighting Tigers to get a fast start and that began with his defensive plays. On the third offensive play from scrimmage, Salyers intercepted a pass from Fairland quarterback Joel Lambiotte at the Dragons’ 44-yard line. Nine players later Salyers called his own number, found a seal from his offensive line to his left and sprinted into the end zone for the game’s first score.
Fairland (2-1, 0-1) figured to strike back on the arm and legs of Lambiotte.
The senior used good field position set up by an Ironton 15-yard face-mask penalty on a 44-yard kickoff return by Michael Stitt and drove the Dragons to the Fighting Tigers 8-yard-line where Alec Bruce made a 25-yard field goal that cut the lead to 7-3.
That was as close as Ironton let Fairland get.
The Fighting Tigers exposed the Fairland run defense with its power-I ground game mostly with Carrico, who carried the ball 14 times in the opening two series and ripped off a 20-yard run to end the first quarter, setting up his team inside the Fairland 30. Salyers again scored on a 1-yard run to cap that drive and made it 13-3.
With 8:46 to go in the second, Carrico got into the end zone on a 3-yard score to make it 20-3.
Fairland finally found some momentum with Lambiotte connecting on a 5-yard pass to Reilly Sowards, a 7-yard pass to Brennan West, mixed with runs from the quarterback of 11, 3 and 29 yards, to put the Dragons in the Ironton red zone. The Dragons, though, missed a field goal that would have pulled them to within two scores of a tie.
Carrico ran 80 yards on a touchdown that was called back due to an Ironton chop block, and the Tigers settled for running out the first-half clock.
“We didn’t play to our ability,” Stitt said. “We can’t rely solely on our passing game. We have to be able to run.”
Stitt added a 12-yard score in the third quarter that pulled Fairland to within 27-10 with 2:04 remaining in the quarter but the junior running back was limited by Ironton to 13 yards on 11 carries.
Fairland traded touchdowns with Ironton throughout the second half. Gavin Hunt hauled in a 10-yard scoring pass from Lambiotte to make the score 34-17. Lambiotte scored a touchdown as time expired in the game to set the score.
Fairland’s defense just couldn’t find a way to stop Salyers.
Salyers scored with 3:02 left in the third quarter to make the game 27-3. He added a 7-yard run with 11:14 remaining to make it 34-10.
Ironton answered Hunt’s touchdown with a 5-yard TD run by Seth Fosson before Lambiotte added the final score.
The game had been rescheduled to Saturday due to lightning on Friday night. Now both teams have a short week before Ironton meets Ashland on Friday with Fairland heading to Waverly.