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Ironton looks to end skid

Each time the Ironton Fighting Tigers have played DeSales, it has ended in DeFeat.

Tuesday, October 24, 2000

Each time the Ironton Fighting Tigers have played DeSales, it has ended in DeFeat.

Will Friday night be different?

That question remains to be answered because both Ironton and the Columbus St. Francis DeSales Stallions come into Friday night’s 7:30 game at Tanks Memorial Stadium with solid teams.

Ironton, 7-1, is going against DeSales which is 6-2. The Fighting Tigers only loss was to Division III No. 1-ranked Portsmouth while DeSales has lost to a couple of Division I teams, 35-28 to Cincinnati Moeller and 31-22 to Painesville Riverside.

Moeller and Riverside are both 8-1.

DeSales won last year’s game 27-13. Four key offensive starters return including senior wide receiver Kevin Hazel, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound Division I college prospect, and senior quarterback Tony Borghese (6-0, 170).

In last year’s meeting, Borghese ran 20 times for 105 yards and completed 16-of-21 passes for 306 yards and three touchdowns, one a 43-yarder to Hazel.

Despite the past history between the two teams and the offensive firepower Borghese and Hazel present, Ironton coach Bob Lutz is looking forward to the game.

"This is big game and it should be a fun game. As a player or a coach, you like to be in a big game against a good team," Lutz said.

"What’s happened in the past doesn’t have any bearing on now. Every game we’ve played has been close, we just haven’t been able to get a win. Hopefully we can change that this time."

Ironton was within 20-13 last year when Drew Mains intercepted a pass in DeSales territory. But Ironton fumbled inside the 10-yard line and the Stallions added a 91-yard scoring pass to Freddie Darling that put the game away.

DeSales won the first meeting 7-0 in Lutz’s first game as the Ironton head coach. Two of the most memorable games were 28-27 in overtime in the 1991 Regional finals, and 23-19 in the 1985 state semifinals.

The Stallions will try to keep their streak in tact against Ironton with a spread offensive set. Senior Jeff Acree (5-11, 190) is the fullback, Chris Boehm (6-0, 175) and Mike Love (5-9 175) are the slots, and Hazel the split end.

Boehm caught a 48-yard scoring pass last year.

Senior Nic Jacoby (6-0, 195) is the center and son of the head coach Bob Jacoby. The guards are Andrew Vitullo (6-2, 200) on the left side and either Eric Hills (5-9,185) or Bryan Dixon 95-7, 230) on the right side.

Senior Kevin Wagner (6-1, 270) is the right tackle and junior Andy Willis (6-3, 205) is on the lift side. Senior Kyle Mason (6-2, 210) is the tight end.

On the defensive side of the ball, DeSales ballhawking play features seniors Ryan Miller and Anthony Bennett (5-9, 195) at nose guard.

Junior Ryan O’Reilley (5-10, 205) is the right tackle and sophomore Ishmael Zghoul (6-1, 235) is on the left side.

Seniors Nick Moore (6-3, 210) and Andrew Gonzalez (5-9,180) are the ends. The linebackers are seniors Drew Wenzell (5-11, 195) and Sean Stapleton (6-0, 200).

The secondary has Matt Berndt (5-8, 170) and Andrew Addington (6-00, 185) at the corners while returning senior stater Jason Barnett (5-6, 160) is the strong safety and senior Jason Tieglemann is the free safety.

"Their defensive line is very active, their linebackers really get to the ball, and their secondary likes to come up and hit," Lutz said.