Perkins and Carpenter shine to send Ironton to the Regional Final

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PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WOUB) — Ty Perkins had a night to remember to elevate the Ironton Fighting Tigers (13-0) to the Regional Final bringing in five catches for 135 yards and three touchdowns in the Tigers’ rout of the Portsmouth West Senators (9-4), 35-7. Perkins made it clear that was a result of extensive practice, and building his connection with quarterback Tayden Carpenter, saying, “We stay after practice to throw, he’s like a brother to me.”

It was a stalemate coming out of the first quarter as both teams were scoreless. Ironton struck first with a one yard rush by Amari Felder to cap off an impressive 72 yard drive, and the Tigers would not look back for the rest of the night. 

Tayden Carpenter and the Ironton air game began to prove an insurmountable hurdle for the Senators to overcome. On the first play out of the huddle, Carpenter found Aiden Young for 64 yards and a touchdown to get Ironton out in front 14-0, and this was just the beginning of the aerial attack that propelled the Tigers’ offense. 

Credit to the Portsmouth West defense, as it kept Ty Perkins largely contained for almost the entirety of the first half, but they wouldn’t be able to make it to the half unscathed. After an Ironton sack to force a turnover on downs, Carpenter connected with Ty Perkins for a 37 yard touchdown to send the Tigers to the locker room with a commanding 21-0 lead. 

The Senators’ showed signs of life entering the second half. Ryan Sissel intercepted Carpenter, returning the ball inside the Ironton 20. Just two plays later, he gave Portsmouth West a glimmer of hope as he rushed into the endzone to make it 21-7 early in the third. Both teams remained deadlocked at this score until the fourth quarter. 

Looking to seal the game, Carpenter hit Perkins on a screen, and after impressive evasive maneuvering, he was home free for a touchdown to bolster the Tigers’ lead to 28-7.  From there, the Tigers defense continued to stymie Portsmouth West’s attempts to correct course on offense as  Ironton defenders swarmed the Senators’ quarterback Mitchell Irwin all night long. 

The Tigers would tally one more score, Ty Perkins’ third touchdown, on a 35 yard pitch and catch from Carpenter to Perkins to cement the Ironton victory. This victory for the Ironton Tigers sends them onto the Regional finals to face the other undefeated juggernaut of Region 19, the Harvest Prep Warriors who are coming off of a narrow victory over the Wheelersburg Pirates. 

Despite this loss and playoff elimination, the Senators’ have much to be proud of this season as their record improved significantly from last year’s mark of 5-6 to 11-2. Building upon that, the Senators’ made a considerably deeper playoff run in contrast to last year’s first round exit after a defeat at the hands of the Wheelersburg. Most exciting of all for Portsmouth West, it is just the second year at the helm for head coach Todd Gilliland, and thus far, he has put together a 16-8 record.