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Ironton’s ground game meets SP’s potent air attack

The ground game of the Ironton Fighting Tigers must try to match the passing attack of the South Point Pointers when the two teams collide Friday at Tanks Memorial Stadium.

Tuesday, August 31, 1999

The ground game of the Ironton Fighting Tigers must try to match the passing attack of the South Point Pointers when the two teams collide Friday at Tanks Memorial Stadium.

Ironton will unleash fullback Michael Henry and halfbacks Jason Harmon and Jon Sites against the passing game South Point quarterback Jarrod Smith and his array of receivers that include Shawn Terry, Shane Holsinger, and Coleman Gorby.

"Their quarterback is pretty good and they have plenty of receivers who can catch the ball," said Ironton coach Bob Lutz. "They give you a bunch of different formations and they have a lot of different routes. They make it hard to prepare and you can’t focus on just one receiver."

Harmon had 123 yards on 13 carries in Ironton’s 10-7 loss to Wheelersburg. Henry added 36 yards on 12 tries.

Ironton’s running game concerns Pointers coach Chris Watts who saw his team lose a free-scoring 45-26 decision at Vinton County in its season opener.

"The biggest thing is we have to play defense. We have to make them drive the field, too. If we don’t play defense, it won’t matter. And Ironton is more physical than other teams we play. They come right at you. They have power and speed. They’re going to whip you more than finesse you," said Watts.

"They’re a pretty good football team. They come off the ball hard. They don’t do anything different, they just do it well."

South Point’s passing game saw Terry catch five passes for 93 yards and a touchdown, Holsinger had four receptions for 98 yards and two touchdowns. Gorby, a tight end, had a 72-yard touchdown catch.

While South Point piled up a bunch of points and passing yards, the defense was yielding more than 400 yards of offense.

The Pointers trailed just 26-20 at the half, but penalties kept them from keeping pace with Vinton County the second half. Watts admitted that not only will the offense have to score some points, the defense will have to get better.

"When we did what we were supposed to do, we played good defense. But most of the time we forgot what we had been taught. It was simple stuff. It was just a case of us not doing our job. Fatigue had a lot to do with it. When you get tired, you make mistakes," said Watts.

"Hopefully, we learned to play better defense. We better have learned something if we’re going to stop Ironton. I’d like to slow it down. If we can’t match Vinton County score for score, I don’t want to match scores with Ironton. I’d like to move the ball down the field and keep the defense off the field. We’d like to keep it close the second half and be in a position to win."

Lutz said the Pointers passing game could be the equalizer, especially after last week when Wheelersburg ran 51 plays to only 39 for Ironton.

"If you don’t have the ball, it’s hard to score. And when you only have the ball a limited number of plays, it leaves less margin for error," said Lutz. "South Point can use its passing game to control the clock. We can’t let that happen. We have to get some heat on the quarterback, shut down their running game, and generate some quick scores on offense. But that’s easier said than done."

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.