Ironton plays fast to beat Johnson Central, 32-21 – The Tribune
By Jim Walker
Listening to Ironton head coach Trevor Pendleton, you would think he was shooting another Fast & Furious movie.
Pendleton wanted his Fighting Tigers to not only match Johnson Central’s tally, but score more and often.
He got what he wanted as the Fighting Tigers beat Kentucky’s 4A powerhouse 32-21 on Saturday in the final game of the Gridiron Classic at Tanks Memorial Stadium.
“You play against a team like that, you have to be able to respond and you have to be able to respond right away,” Pendleton said.
“You have two options. You have to keep the ball away from them because they wear you down and grind you down, or you have to score and score in quick succession and put points on the board. Tonight, we were a bit between those. We were able to do some good things but not fast enough or not long enough to give some guys the kick they need. They fought, they fought and they won.
Senior quarterback Tayden Carpenter led the fast-hitting offense, which threw for 2 touchdowns and ran for 2 more. He was 11 of 16 for 234 yards and also ran 11 times for 35 yards.
“He played well. He did everything we asked of him. We have to refine a bit here and there. Ultimately a great leader and a great player,” Pendleton said.
Ironton – now 4-0 this season – found it harder to head the ball against the Eagles’ big and strong defensive line.
The Fighting Tigers rushed 33 times for 117 yards as Amari Fielder had 43 yards on 11 carries and Jaquez Keyes had 37 yards on 10 carries to go with Carpenter’s 35 yards. Ironton had 351 total yards.
The Eagles (2-2) were their usual offense as they ran the ball 58 times for 317 yards while throwing the ball only 3 times, twice in their last 2 games of the game.
Fullback Chase Price rushed 16 times for 155 yards and 2 touchdowns, Zack McCoart rushed for 87 yards on 19 tries and Mason Lawson added 50 yards on 15 attempts. Quarterback Jacob Grimm was 1 of 3 passing for 17 yards to Caiden Yates.
Ironton’s first score came after the Eagles dropped the snap trying to clear and Ironton recovered the ball at the 8-yard line. Felder ran for a then 7 yards to give the Fighting Tigers a 7-0 lead after Evan Williams’ kick at 5:39 of the first quarter.
Johnson Central had an 82-yard, 16-play drive in the second quarter with Price gong the final yard for the touchdown. Sawyer Crum’s conversion kick tied the game with 3:25 on the clock.
But Ironton was able to respond quickly with a 62-yard 9-play drive capped by Carpenter’s 1-yard run with just 17 seconds left in the half. The conversion kick was blocked and it was 13-7.
Carpenter had 3 assists in practice, including a big 37-yard pass to Ty Perkins that carried the ball to the Eagles 25-yard line.
Perkins had 3 catches for 104 yards in the ninth.
“If you ever want to see what your team is made of, put their backs to the wall. You will see fight or flight. You have a room full of guys who have a lot of fight in them, so I’m happy,” Pendleton said.
Ironton kicked off in the second and needed just 6 plays to go for 71 yards. Along with a 19-yard pass to Perkins, Carpenter hit Felder with a 24-yard touchdown strike and it was 20-7 with 9:59 into the third quarter.
“You’re going to get man cover against them. They will load the box. We have to do the job a little better on the edge. But in the end, we were able to find discrepancies that we liked and exploit them.
Johnson Central decided to copy Ironton’s fast hitting score by going for 74 yards in 3 plays. A 60-yard run from Price got the ball to the 10-yard line and McCoart scored on the next play and the Eagles were down 20-14 with 8:58 on the clock.
The Eagles went with another kickoff in play and recovered at their own 47. But the drive stalled at the Ironton 32 and the Fighting Tigers went into fast forward mode using just 7 plays to score when Carpenter hit Bailey Thacker with a 7-yard pass. in the end zone.
A holding penalty on the conversion sent the ball back 10 yards and the second conversion kick attempt failed and it was 26-14 at 3:47.
The Eagles came right back with a drive that started in the third quarter and ended 3 plays into the fourth quarter with Price going 4 yards for the score. Crum’s kick cut the deficit to 26-21 with 10:59 remaining.
But Ironton ran for 64 yards in 10 plays as Carpenter ran the final 3 yards for the game-clinching touchdowns. Williams made it 32-21 with 6:21 left.
Carpenter had a key 25-yard run on third down to keep the drive alive and moved the ball to the Eagles ’38. He also hit Felder with a 17-yard pass at the 8-yard line to set up the touchdown.
“They’re serious,” Pendleton said of his team. “They find a way to win. We’re just going to try to get better and better.
Ironton will host South Point on Friday.
In other Gridiron Classic games, Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller defeated Good Counsel, Md., 38-31 and DeMatha, Md. shut out Cleveland Benedictine 38-0.
Johnson Cent. 0 7 7 7 = 21
Ironton 7 6 13 6 = 32
Irn – Amari Fielder 7 run (Evan Williams kick) 5:39
JC – Chase Price 1 run (Sawyer Crum kick) 3:25
Irn — Tayden Carpenter 1 point (blocked kick) 0:17
Irn – Amari Fielder 24 Tayden Carpenter pass (Evan Williams kick) 9:59
JC – Zack McCoart 10 run (Sawyer Crum kick) 8:58
Irn – Bailey Thacker 7 pass from Tayden Carpenter (missed kick) 3:47
JC – Chase Price 4 run (Sawyer Crum kick) 10:59
Irn – Tayden Carpenter 3 run (missed kick) 6:21
J. C. Irn
First attempts 18 17
Rush yards 58-317 33-117
Passing yards 17,234
Total yards 334,351
Cmp-Att-Int 1-3-0 11-16-0
Fumbles-lost 2-0 2-1
Penalties-yards 3-20 6-35
Punts-average 2-27.5 1-41.0
RUSHING–Johnson Central: Chase Price 16-155 2TD, Zack McCoart 19-87 TD, Mason Lawson 15-50, Logan Music 5-26, Jacob Grimm 2-2, Seth Davis 1-under 3; Ironton: Jaquez Keyes 10-37, Landen Wilson 2-2, Amari Felder 11-43. Carpenter Tayden 11-35 2TD.
PASS–Johnson Central: Jacob Grimm 1-3-0 17; Ironton: Tayden Charpentier 11-16-0 234 2TD.
RECEPTION — Johnson Central: Caiden Yates 1-17; Ironton: Ty Perkins 3-104, Amari Felder 3-65 TD, Shaun Terry 1-29, Aiden Young 1-9, Bailey Thacker 1-7 TD.
MISSED GROUND GOALS – None.