Wellston and Jackson players collide

Ironmen Run Over Wellston in Final Meeting Ever

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The tradition of the Jackson-Wellston rivalry goes back over 106 years, filled with close ballgames and high emotions. However, we only saw one of those two outcomes during Jackson’s 23-6 win over the Wellston Golden Rockets in their final meeting ever.

Emotions were high on both sides, with chippy play becoming a common theme in this last chapter of their rivalry. A total of 17 penalties between both sides were a result of this uptick in emotion.

The Jackson Ironmen (1-0) offense used their deadly rushing attack to tear up the Wellston defense for most of the night. Running backs Jayden Spires and Brice Graham controlled the ground all night, combining for 258 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the ground. While the running game was on full display, their senior quarterback Jared Icenhower had his fair share of struggles throughout the night. He did throw for a nice 19 yard touchdown to Tristan Prater in the first quarter, but nothing else went right for the signal caller the rest of the way. He threw two interceptions after that quick start, but both turnovers never lead to a score for the Golden Rockets.

On defense, the Ironmen’s defense was relentless in getting through the offensive line and attacking the ball carrier for several key sacks that helped them get off the field on third down. They also created three turnovers to help their offense, which had a bit of an up and down night, get good field position. The penalties proved to be costly to the Ironmen, as it halted drives that could have ended up being scoring opportunities for them.

RJ Kemp warms up during pregame
Jared Icenhower warms up
RJ Kemp surveys the field
Tristan Prater weaves through the defense

The Wellston Golden Rockets (0-1) main recipe for success is very similar to the way that Jackson will ballgames: a deadly rushing attack. Sadly for the Golden Rockets, they couldn’t find any room to run, gaining a total of -9 yards on the ground, with their stud running back Rylan Molihan only totaling 18 yards. The main problems was how quarterback RJ Kemp could not find any running room when he got the chance. He also had a tough night through the air, with 57 yards passing and three interceptions thrown.

The big plays were made by defensive lineman Josh Bodey, who came up huge with two sacks and one defensive touchdown, which would end up being Wellston’s only score of the night. On a bit of a tough night for the Golden Rockets, their defense as a whole did make stops and gave the team a chance to win the entire game, but Jackson was using the Golden Rockets own strengths against them by pounding the rock and running out the clock.

At the end of a game, an MVP award was given out to both sides, with Jackson’s Jayden Spires and Wellston’s Josh Bodey coming away with MVP honors.

After this ending to a long-time rivalry, the Wellston Golden Rockets will be on the road when they take on the Piketon Redstreaks next week. On the other side, the Jackson Ironmen will have a huge road test next week, when they travel to Athens to play the Athens Bulldogs, with big playoff indications at stake very early in the season.