Fighting Tigers must defend field

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 18, 1999

A football field is 53 yards wide.

Thursday, November 18, 1999

A football field is 53 yards wide. The Germantown Valley View Spartans like to use every inch of it.

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And use it they do, rolling up lopsided victories week-after-week including two playoff wins of 44-16 over Portsmouth and 36-12 against Wheelersburg.

"They spread you out and make you cover the entire field. Their line even takes big splits. They give you a lot to prepare for and it’s awful difficult on your defense," Ironton coach Bob Lutz said.

Ironton, 8-3, discovered that last year when Valley View used a big fourth quarter to blow open a tight game and roll to a 50-20 win in the first round of the playoffs.

The Spartans led just 22-20 at the end of the third quarter.

"They do so many things that they force you into mistakes. You make one little mistake and they can go the distance, and that’s what happened to us last year," Lutz said.

The offense has generated 551 points in 12 games. Overlooked is the defense which has permitted just 105 points with four shutouts. Of the 105 points, 28 have come in the playoffs and 33 came in a 33-15 loss to Bellbrook the third game of the season.

Bellbrook finished 10-0 and qualified for the postseason playoffs.

"They’ve got a lot of size on the defensive side of the ball. Their two down men are hard to move and (Jared) Fore is an awful good linebacker, and the (Kris) Hogg kid has great size and he’s a pretty good player, too. They’ve got a lot of good athletes on both sides of the ball," said Lutz.

Hogg tips the scales at 6-5, 230 while Fore, a returning starter, is 6-foot, 210.

The defensive tackles are 6-03, 275 Josh Gierek and 6-3, 250 Chris Flannery, the nose guard 6-4, 215 Marcus Cox, and the other end 6-1, 190 Eric Cornett.

Fore’s running mate at linebacker is 5-10, 180 David Slamer and the secondary consists of Brandon Storer (5-11, 165), Chris Collins (5-10, 160), Drew Smith (6-0, 170), and Doug Cox (6-0, 200).

The offensive side of the ball may present even more problems than the defensive side.

Junior quarterback Dustin Strayer (6-foot-2, 190-pounds) was the Southwest district’s Offensive Player of the Year. Strayer completed 97 of 147 passes for 66 percent and was intercepted just three times. He racked up 1,682 yards and 16 touchdowns.

The spread formation was led in the running game by fullback Chris Dill (5-8, 205) with 405 yards on 67 carries and he scored seven touchdowns.

All-district wide receiver Michael Wafzig (6-4, 200) not only has good size but leads the team in receiving with 31 catches for 475 yards and six TDs. Ben Buehner had 29 receptions for 622 yards and six scores, and Ryan Boyer caught 22 passes for 437 yards and four touchdowns.

Wafzig also punts and averages 39.2 yards a kick.

"Their quarterback is pretty good. He’s the guy that makes them go," said Lutz. "What makes their offense so hard to defend is the fact he has four or five people he throws to, not just one. And if you concentrate on the passing game, their fullback or wingback will break one on you."

The offensive line has Dean Stumpf (5-10, 185) at center, Matt Morneault (6-0, 245) and Michael Aiken (6-0, 195) at the guards, and Mike Engle (5-11, 205) and David O’Diam (6-0, 200) at the tackles.

Buehner (6-0, 180) and Ryan Boyer (6-0, 185) are the slot backs with Wafzig and Brian Ritze (6-0,175) the split ends.

Gierek, Aiken, and Fore were first team all-district along with Strayer and Wafzig while Boyer, Buehner, Hogg, Morneault, Slamer, and Smith special mention.