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Ironton faces improved ‘Cats

Last year it was 64-6.

Tuesday, September 19, 2000

Last year it was 64-6. It was the worse loss by the Ashland Tomcats ever in the Ironton-Ashland series.

Don’t expect that this year.

Ironton coach Bob Lutz is very much aware that this Ashland team isn’t anything like last year.

"Last year, Ashland was young and beat up. They had a bunch of starters on the sidelines and the whole thing just snowballed on them," Lutz said. "This year, those younger kids are a year older and they’ve got some pretty good skilled kids."

Leading the Tomcats is Arliss Beach, a 6-foot, 175-pound junior running back. The fullback is senior Brad Timberlake (5-8,1 68).

Junior James Ellison (5-8, 156) gives Ashland plenty of speed at the split end slot along with junior Josh Dulley (5-8, 147).

"They’ve got some guys who can run," Lutz said. "Beach is a good back. He can cut up the field and he runs well in the open field."

Ashland is 2-2 after losing 35-20 last week to Boyd County. However, Ashland lost starting quarterback Ryne Salyer with an injury in the game and later lost backup Travis Roark.

Beach filled in at quarterback after the injuries and could be the starter this week.

It was quite a turnaround from the previous week when the Tomcats crushed Lawrence County 60-12. Lawrence County reached the Division III state semifinals last season and had whipped the Tomcats handily.

"Ashland’s a lot better than last year and they’re still a young team," Lutz said.

The Tomcats start five juniors. When healthy, Salyer is the lone sophomore in the lineup.

Tyler Gilbert (6-2, 236) is the center with Taylor Vaughn (6-1, 186) and Sean Joiner (6-1, 235) the guards. Daniel Ramey (6-4, 240) and Anthony Ferguson (6-1, 232) are the tackles with John Mautz (6-1, 206) the tight end.

Senior slot back Josh Nichols (5-7, 150) adds more speed to the lineup.