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Ironton looks to get better for Belmont

Traditionally a slow starting team, Ironton has a history of getting better each week, especially around the fourth week of the season.

Tuesday, September 14, 1999

Traditionally a slow starting team, Ironton has a history of getting better each week, especially around the fourth week of the season.

Ironton, 2-1, played better the second half against previously unbeaten Gallipolis last Friday when it turned a 10-6 halftime lead into a 44-6 romp.

The offensive line was spearheaded by the blocking of guard Matt Kelly.

"We did a better job coming off the ball the second half," Ironton coach Bob Lutz said. "We’re getting a little better as a team, but we’re no where near where we need to be. Hopefully we’ll continue to improve. We’ll have to with the schedule in front of us."

The schedule in front of Ironton this week features the Dayton Belmont Bisons, a Division II with a rugged schedule of its own.

Belmont, 1-2, opened with losses to Div. I teams Xenia and powerhouse Huber Heights Wayne. The Bisons bounced back with a strong offensive performance as they routed Dayton Jefferson 60-0 last week.

In the future are Indian Creek and Div. I Middletown plus the Dayton City League opponents Dunbar, Colonel White, Meadowdale, and Patterson.

Belmont has traditionally been a contender for the City League title behind yearly favorite Dunbar.

The offense evolves around quarterback Darius Whatley, a 6-foot, 180-pound senior. Whatley threw seven touchdown passes last season.

"Whatley’s their best player. He can run or throw the ball. He tries to make things happen," said Lutz.

Whatley has some big targets, especially senior tight end Charles Averette who stands 6-5, 260.

Senior Justin McCombs (6-1, 215) anchors the offensive line that has three returning starters. Also returning this season are Menelek Alexander (6-1, 270) and sophomore Armon Holt (6-1, 220).

"They have some experience up front, but they’re not very big except for one or two players. We just need to come off the ball and get after them," said Lutz.

The defense is inexperienced. The lone returning starter is senior LaQuentin Boyd (6-0, 200).

The Bisons have a big sophomore in 6-1, 300-pound Tim Walls. The linebackers are seniors Clinton Roberts (510, 180) and James Scott (5-9,1 65).

Roberts and Scott do double duty as running backs on offense.