PDT Sports Writer
THE PLAINS — The Johnstown-Monroe Johnnies must have watched last week’s Ironton’s game film extensively in preparations towards Friday’s Division IV, Region 15 Semifinal contest.
A week after going for 414 yards of team rushing spurred the No. 2 Fighting Tigers to a rematch with No. 3 Johnstown-Monroe, Ironton was held to 128 yards on the ground, sustained injuries to key starters and suffered a season-ending loss to the Johnnies for the second time in as many seasons. But this 42-7 result at Athens High School started to develop after a costly Fighting Tiger miscue on special teams that would open the floodgates.
“That was a big momentum (swing) for them,” Ironton coach Mark Vass said.
The only productive drive for the Fighting Tigers (7-4) came on the opening possession of the contest, where they marched 76 yards on 12 plays to take the early 7-0 lead. Quarterback Tanner Dutey punched the ball in from a yard out for the score.
“The opening drive looked good, we executed pretty well, we drove down the field, scored and got off to a good start,” Vass said.
In response, Tyler Thompson and company needed four plays to encompass 67 yards for the equalizer. He found Bailey Duncan for a 43-yard pass play in what would be the first of five touchdowns Thompson would be associated with on the night.
Johnstown-Monroe (10-2) seized momentum for good on the ensuing kickoff. Kicker Preston Hiles, who was born with a deformed arm, squibbed the ball towards the Ironton front line and it hit a Fighting Tiger, bounced around the Riggs Stadium turf and was eventually recovered by the Johnnies’ Daniel-Mark Allmendinger.
Five plays later, Thompson ran in for the first of his three scores on the ground to double up the lead with 4:31 left in the first. On the night, the senior signal caller had 32 yards on seven carries.
Thompson rushed in both second quarter scores, one of four yards with 4:31 left and the second being a 5-yard scamper with 31 seconds left until the half. After scoring their only points of the game, Ironton finished the half with a pair of three-and-outs and unable to break past the Johnstown-Monroe 39-yard-line.
The Fighting Tigers would have to also finish the game without the services of Aaron Stephens and Patrick Lewis, who both left with lower-body injuries.
“I think we were down to about 20 kids,” Vass said. “It’s no excuse. That was a good ball club. Even if you were healthy, you’re going to be in a dog fight without a doubt and hopefully it would’ve been a better game.”
Ironton’s last gasp of getting any type of momentum came from the opening kickoff of the second half. A Jalen Schweickart onside kick was recovered by Trevor White at the Johnnie 46. Unfortunately, the Fighting Tigers were unable to get a first down on four plays, turning it over with 40 yards between them and a second score.
After an Adam Carter 15-yard touchdown run was the only points of the third, Thompson aired the ball out to Hiles on a fly pattern in the fourth to close the scoring. Sophomore Cody Farley led Johnstown-Monroe in rushing with 117 yards on 22 carries.
A week after exploding for 310 yards rushing, Lewis closed his high school career with a modest 17 yards on seven carries. He along with 19 other seniors have made Vass’s first season at the helm memorable.
“I’m just proud of these kids, it’s been a great season,” Vass said. “Like I told them, I couldn’t have had a better group, especially that senior group. They had great leadership and they committed to me early on, me and the coaches, they did everything we asked, they played hard and I’m just proud of them even in this game.”
Cody Leist can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 294, or email@example.com.
Johnstown-Monroe 14 14 7 7 — 42
Ironton 7 0 0 0 — 7
I—Dutey 1 run (J. Schweickart kick) 6:17
JM-Duncan 43 pass from Thompson (Benton kick) 4:31
JM-Thompson 2 run (Benton kick) 2:57
JM-Thompson 4 run (Benton kick) 3:14
JM-Thompson 5 run (Benton kick) :31
JM-Carter 15 run (Benton kick) 4:22
JM-Hiles 26 pass from Thompson (Benton kick) 11:41
First Downs 20 13
Rush Att.-Yds. 44-238 45-128
Pass Att.-Comp.-Int. 7-4-0 8-3-1
Pass Yds. 106 29
Total Yds. 344 157
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 3-3
Turnovers 1 4
Penalties-Yds. 7-80 1-15
Punts-Avg. 3-29 5-32.8
RUSHING: Johnstown-Monroe—Farley 22-117, Carter 5-59, Thompson 7-32, Sadinsky 2-12, Branstool 3-6, Dowell 2-2, Wasierski 3-0; Ironton—White 14-62, Brown 7-23, Lewis 7-17, Price 2-12, Cox 5-9, Long 2-9, Thomas 1-2, Young 1-(-2), Dutey 6-(-4).
PASSING: Johnstown-Monroe—Thompson 7-4-0 106; Ironton—Dutey 8-3-1 29.
RECEIVING: Johnstown-Monroe—Duncan 2-64, Sadinsky 1-29, Grassman 1-3; Ironton—Lewis 3-29.
RECORDS: Johnstown-Monroe 10-2; Ironton 7-4.