• 48°

Tigers prowl for second round win

Two weeks past Halloween and they are still dressing up and painting faces at Ironton High School.

Friday, November 12, 1999

Two weeks past Halloween and they are still dressing up and painting faces at Ironton High School.

It is not a holiday the students are celebrating, but rather the Fighting Tigers run through the Ohio High School Athletic Association football playoffs. Ironton defeated Cincinnati Wyoming last Saturday to advance to the regional semifinals against Cincinnati Indian Hill at 7 p.m. Saturday in Portsmouth.

"People are painting their faces and their bodies and we’re making signs for the field and some of the football players are shaving their heads," junior Jessica Ensor said. "We are going to win. It should be a lot of fun."

Tiger pride is citywide according to Miss Ensor.

"The whole town is crazy," she said. "This sport is the one that this town supports the most. The whole city is into it and the school is football mad."

Even though the Tigers playoff success in the past is well-documented, this is the first time any member of this year’s team has won a playoff game. Ironton has not won a first-round game since 1995.

"The playoffs have been great," said Tigers junior lineman Jay Colegrove. "This is the first playoff run for this group of students. It has been a great feeling."

Colegrove said the hallways at Ironton High are alive with the sound of football.

"Everyone is excited, parents students, players," he said. "Not just high school students. All the Ironton schools are into it. The elementary students are making signs to put around the field."

Sophomore Charli Hatfield is partly responsible for making sure the mood is set once the game begins. Miss Hatfield is the Tiger mascot on the sidelines at the games and she says Tiger mania is not limited to Ironton High School.

"Everyone at school is into the football team," she said. "They are talking about it before, during and after class. People from other counties and other schools are following Ironton, too. They ask how the Tigers are going to do this weekend."

Tigers quarterback Jimmy Peyton is enjoying the hoopla but he is ready to get down to business.

I wish the game would get here. I can’t wait," Peyton said. "Everyone is excited. I had a friend of mine, Joe Fletcher, call me and played me a tape of his state championship run in 1979. He called me up early Saturday and played the tape. Everyone is trying to get us fired up for the game."