IRONTON Ironton and Russell locked up in a bruising battle Friday night, particularly in the trenches.

A couple of long passes from quarterback Gage Salyers provided the difference in the Fighting Tigers’ 10-0 victory at Tanks Memorial Stadium.

Russell defenders clamped down on star tailback Reid Carrico, limiting him to 37 yards on 16 carries. However, the heavily recruited senior lined up wide and hauled in a 40-yard scoring pass with 2:58 remaining for the only touchdown of a physical contest.

Salyers, a Youngstown State commit, hit Carrico in stride at the 5-yard line and he crossed the goal line as a defender dislodged the ball. Avery Book added the extra point to make it 10-0.

Ironton coach Trevon Pendleton called the play during a timeout.

“He said for Reid to run a post (pattern),” Salyers said. “Me and Reid looked at each other. We’ve been doing that since he was a freshman and I was a sophomore. He’s my go to guy in passing. Reid’s a great athlete and showed it there.”

Salyers threw for 152 yards and also paced his team in rushing with 70.

Russell’s best scoring opportunity came in the second quarter of a scoreless game. The Red Devils had first down at Ironton’s 6-yard line but couldn’t punch it. On fourth down from the 1, Fighting Tigers linebacker Dalton Crabtree shot through the line and dropped Nathan Conley for a 4-yard loss.

“We didn’t get a backside block and Ironton made a great play,” Russell coach T.J. Maynard said.

Ironton took advantage by moving the ball all the way to the Red Devils’ 5, thanks to a Salyers-to-Collin Freeman connection for 51 yards. After two tackles for losses followed by an incompletion, Ironton turned to Book and the senior transfer made a 25-yard field goal — his second in as many games.

In addition, Book played a key role with punts of 51 and 52 yards against Russell.

“He’s definitely a weapon,” Pendleton said. “A guy like that allows you to win the hidden yardage.”

Ironton also led 3-0 at halftime last week, before pulling away to beat Wheelersburg and snap an eight-game losing streak in their rivalry.         

Russell (2-1) dropped a couple of potential interceptions Friday and couldn’t get back into the red zone in the second half.

Ironton defensive end Junior Jones picked off a screen pass in the third quarter for his second interception in two games.

“Obviously, Junior’s a high-motor guy,” Pendleton said of the former Ashland Tomcat standout. “He’s also a technician and very hard to block. He was a little out of shape when he first got here, but such a talented kid. He can make a play to turn the tide, like he’s done the last two weeks.”

Kyle Howell added a late interception for the Fighting Tigers.

Conley paced Russell’s offense with 135 yards on 20 carries, but Maynard said the Red Devils were not consistent enough offensively.

“We got behind the chains and couldn’t convert,” he said.    

Defensively, senior linebacker Ethan Sanders led a Russell unit that yielded only 154 yards on the ground, including a dozen stops at or behind the line of scrimmage.

“I think we have four of the better linebackers in the area,” Maynard said of a group that also includes Malakai Anderson, Nathan Conley and Isaac Jenkins.“

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RUSSELL    0    0    0    0    —    0

IRONTON    0    3    0    7    —    10


I — Avery Book 25 field goal, 3:18


I — Reid Carrico 40 pass from Gage Salyers (Book kick), 2:58

    R    I

First Downs    12    12

Rushes-Yards    43-203    39-154

Comp.-Att.-Int.    6-12-2    9-16-0

Passing Yards    38    152

Fumbles-Lost    0-0    1-1

Punts-Ave.    5-34.4    3-42.7

Penalties-Yds.    6-30    12-66


Russell rushing: Conley 20-135, Sharp 7-37, Anderson 6-22, Jachimczuk 10-9.

Ironton rushing: Salyers 14-70, Carrico 16-37, Fosson 4-29, Deere 3-22, Howell 1-1, Book 1-minus 5.

Russell passing: Jachimczuk 6 of 12 for 38 yards (2 int.).

Ironton passing: Salyers 9 of 16 for 152 yards.

Russell receiving: Raybourn 1-16, Benge 2-13, Griffith 1-9, Anderson 2-0.

Ironton receiving: Carrico 4-53, Freeman 1-51, Grizzle 2-34, Howell 2-14.

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