Pirates fall to Ironton in season opener


Fighting Tigers end eight game losing streak to Pirates

By Jacob Smith - jsmith@aimmediamidwest.com



Wheelersburg senior Makya Matthews with a carry in the early stages of the Pirates season opening loss to Ironton Friday night.

Wheelersburg senior Makya Matthews with a carry in the early stages of the Pirates season opening loss to Ironton Friday night.


Photo courtesy of Terry Stevenson

IRONTON – The beginning of the road for Wheelersburg wasn’t easy, and it doesn’t get any easier from here to start their 2019 season.

In their season opening game against the Ironton Fighting Tigers, the Pirates were on the bad end of a 30-6 result, snapping the Fighting Tigers eight game losing streak to Wheelersburg which began in 2013.

“I thought we battled really hard in the first half,” said Pirates head coach Rob Woodward following the loss. “I thought our defense made some outstanding stops for us in the first half. You’ve got to have some breaks in a battle like that, had some things go our way and some that didn’t. Our kids didn’t quit fighting tonight.”

From the clear blue skies in pregame, it wasn’t exactly evident that the game would ultimately be a downpour for most of the second and third quarters, until it was. The impending rain which began in the late stages of the first quarter impeded both teams abilities to move the ball for large portions of the first half.

The first half’s only score came from a Avery Book’s 27 yard field goal with 5:15 left in the first quarter to put Ironton up 3-0.

The Fighting Tigers would get the ball to start the second half and score off a six yard rushing touchdown from Reid Carrico at the 10:12 mark of the third quarter to give Ironton the 10-0 lead. A storm delay at the 9:22 mark of the third quarter held play from continuing for nearly an hour.

When both teams rejoined the field of play and after a quarterback change from Makya Matthews to Aaron Masters, Matthews cut up the Ironton sideline for a 72 yard touchdown run which brought Wheelersburg to within one score at 10-6 with 6:44 left in the 3Q after a blocked PAT. From there, it was the Ironton show.

On the impending possession, Carrico capped off a long sustained drive from Ironton with a four yard rushing touchdown, his second of the night to put his team up 16-6 late in the third after a failed two point try.

Carrico’s third and final touchdown run came from 15 yards out toward the Wheelersburg sideline to put the Fighting Tigers up 23-6 with 5:01 left in the game, a score that ultimately sealed the Pirates fate.

On their ensuing drive, Masters threw an interception to Ironton’s Colin Freeman which allowed senior quarterback Gage Salyers to cut toward the pylon nearest the Ironton sideline for a 10 yard rushing touchdown to put the Fighting Tigers up 30-6 with 4:25 left in the game.

Wheelersburg falls to 0-1 and will host Columbus Bishop Hartley while Ironton improves to 1-0 and will host Russell (Ky.) in their week two matchup.

“We had a couple of guys take some injuries, we’ve got to go back and assess that. We had some younger guys step up and make big plays tonight. We have to step up and build off that for the rest of the season.”

BOX SCORE

Team Wheelersburg Ironton
Total Yards 239 272
Passing Yards 59 11
Rushing Yards 180 261
Time of Possession 19:46 28:14
1st Downs 13 14
Penalties 6 for 35 yards 3 for 35 yards

Wheelersburg senior Makya Matthews with a carry in the early stages of the Pirates season opening loss to Ironton Friday night.
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2019/08/web1_MakyaMatthews_Ironton1.jpgWheelersburg senior Makya Matthews with a carry in the early stages of the Pirates season opening loss to Ironton Friday night. Photo courtesy of Terry Stevenson
Fighting Tigers end eight game losing streak to Pirates

By Jacob Smith

jsmith@aimmediamidwest.com

Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at jsmith@aimmediamidwest.com, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT

Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at jsmith@aimmediamidwest.com, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT