IRONTON— It seems that in every playoff game, there is a difference maker for the winning team.
Friday night was no different as running back Patrick Lewis helped the No. 2 Ironton Fighting Tigers (7-3) advance into the Division IV, Region 15 semifinals in a 41-16 win over No. 7 Bloom-Carroll (5-6).
Lewis, who was the work horse all night long for Ironton, finished the evening with 267 rushing yards on 28 carries and four touchdowns, including three in the second half.
The Fighting Tigers got the opening round of the playoffs to a quick start, welcoming the Bulldogs to Tanks Memorial Stadium with an opening punch. Receiving the kickoff, Ironton wasted no time and struck first. Lewis busted right through the middle for 7 yards and for the game’s first score.
On the ensuing drive, Ironton forced Bloom-Carroll to go three-and-out and looked to extend its early lead. However, after Fighting Tiger quarterback Tanner Dutey faked a handoff and flipped the ball to Lewis, the ball went over his head and got away. The Bulldogs recovered on Ironton’s 46 yard line.
Bloom-Carroll responded off the Ironton turnover when quarterback Kelly Milliser connected for three passing plays for 38 yards. On a 3rd-and-7, Milliser connected with wide out Tyler Sorg for 14 yards, tying the game at 7-7 with 3:09 left in the first.
Sorg finished the game with six receptions for 99 and two touchdowns.
After both teams exchanged possessions, Ironton took over once again. This time the “three-headed monsters” of Lewis, Dion Brown and Trevor White took over.
The backfield accumulated for 34 yards on one drive. However, the Fighting Tigers fell short after a holding penalty in what seemed to be Lewis’s second rushing score of the night led to a turnover-on-downs.
The Bulldogs gave Ironton a gift when a snap to Milliser for a punt went over his head and landed on the Bloom-Carroll 4. Two plays later, Dutey took a quarterback keeper into the end zone for a 1-yard run, giving Ironton a 14-7 advantage with 4:26 left in the half.
Down a touchdown with less than two minutes remaining in the half, the Bulldogs needed something to help steal the momentum heading into the half. Milliser came out firing on all cylinders, connecting on four-straight passes as the last one was the biggest play of the half. On a 3rd-and-10 and only seven seconds remaining, Milliser dropped back and found the outstretched arms of Sorg for a 44-yard passing touchdown as time expired.
It was Sorg’s second receiving touchdown of the half, helping Bloom-Carroll cut the lead to 14-13.
With momentum on their side, the Bulldogs came out with victory on their minds. A 12-play drive help set up a Dominic Garris 27-yard field goal. The kick gave Bloom-Carroll a 16-14 lead and its first of the game.
However, the second half belonged to Lewis. On the ensuing drive, Lewis and the Fighting Tigers quickly responded from the third play from scrimmage. He broke outside and out ran any Bulldog in his rear view mirror for a 53-yard run, giving Ironton a 20-16 lead with 6:07 left in the third quarter.
After both teams exchanged possessions, Lewis again decided to show off his speed. With 9:29 remaining in the game, Lewis broke free once again, a 64-yard rushing touchdown gave the Fighting Tigers a 27-16 lead.
It marked Lewis’s third touchdown of the game and second in the half, helping extend Ironton’s lead to two scores.
After another defensive stop by the Fighting Tigers, Lewis was back at it again. In a quick five-play drive, Lewis was responsible for four of those plays as the biggest came on the last.
On a 2nd-and-7, Lewis wanted to play go fetch with the Bulldogs once more and out ran them for a 24-yard rushing touchdown, giving the Fighting Tigers a comfortable 34-16 lead with 7:04 remaining.
After Ironton had one more defensive stop, White scored the last touchdown of the evening with 41 seconds remaining in the game to help ensure the Fighting Tigers advance to semi-finals.
The Fighting Tigers will play No. 3 Johnstown-Monroe (9-2) in the semifinals of the Division IV Region 15 Playoff. The site will be announced this weekend and the game will start at 7:30 p.m.
Bloom-Carroll 7 6 3 0 16
Ironton 7 7 6 21 41
7:56 I- Lewis 7 run (Schweickart kick) 7-0
3:09 B- Sorg 14 pass from Milliser (Garris kick) 7-7
4:26 I- Dutey 1 run (Scweickart kick) 14-7
:00 B- Sorg 44 pass from Milliser (kick fail) 14-13
7:21 B- Garris 27-yard field goal 16-14
6:07 I- Lewis 53 run (Pass fail) 20-16
9:29 I- Lewis 64 run (Schweickart kick) 27-16
7:04 I- Lewis 24 run (Schweickart kick) 34-16
:41 I- White 1 run (Schweickart kick) 41-16
First Downs 16 15
Total Net Yards 430 293
Rushes-yards 54-362 33-149
Passing 68 144
Comp-Att-Int 2-5-0 10-31-0
Punts-yards 2-46.5 6-36.8
Fumbles-lost 1-1 1-0
Penelties-yards 5-40 4-40
PASSING: Ironton_ Dutey; 2-5-68; Bloom-Carroll_ Milliser, 10-31-144-2
RUSHING: Ironton_ Lewis; 28-267-2, Brown, 8-51. White, 15-39, Dutey, 3-5-1, Bloom-Carroll_ Jude; 23-89, Milliser, 8-33, #22, 1-22
RECEIVING: Ironton_ Stephens; 1-46, Lewis, 1-22; Bloom-Carroll_ Meadows, 3-33, Sorg, 6-99-2, #44, 2-22.