• 48°

Redskins coach expecting same ol’ Ironton style

COSHOCTON – Some things never change.

Wednesday, November 08, 2000

COSHOCTON – Some things never change.

At least that’s the thinking of Coshocton Redskins head football coach Wade Lucas as he watches film of the Ironton Fighting Tigers.

Coshocton faces Ironton at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the Division IV Region 15 semifinals at Groveport, so the 12-year veteran head coach of the Redskins decided to check out film from two previous games between the schools back in 1986 and 1987, both won by Ironton.

"It seems like nothing ever changes," said Lucas. "They’re very impressive. They’re big and physical. It seems like we’ve been there before. I watched film from ’86 and ’87 and they look the same and do the same thing."

Doing the same thing is just what Lucas expects from both teams when they meet in the playoff game.

"Once you get to this point in the playoffs, people are going to do what got them to the dance. (Ironton) Coach (Bob) Lutz isn’t going to go away from what he believes in and that is power football," said Lucas.

"We believe in the wing-T and misdirection on offense, and on defense lining up and sending people at you. There’s nothing in terms of trickery. We know what they do and they know what we do."

Coshocton, 11-0 and ranked second in the final Associated Press poll, has reached the playoffs three of the past four seasons. Last year the Redskins lost 27-8 in the regional finals to Youngstown Mooney.

The sixth-ranked Fighting Tigers are in the playoffs for the third straight year and 19th overall. Ironton, 9-1, was the state runner-up last year and beat Mooney 34-24 in the state semifinals.

"A couple of years ago we were 9-1 and that was one of our better teams," said Lucas.

"As far as myself being a head coach, this is one of our better teams. We have some skilled people and some size. This senior class has won all the way through. Sometimes classes don’t pan out, and this group had some big tags on them and they’ve had the pressure on but they’ve been able to fulfill the expectations. I’m sure they feel good at what they’ve accomplished."

The Redskins may be feeling a little better after receiving some good news concerning wide receiver Ryan McGraw. Injured in the ninth game, McGraw has missed the past two contests but practiced Tuesday. He leads the team with 29 receptions for 552 yards and seven touchdowns.

"At first we thought it was real bad, but now we’re not sure. He practiced today. He says he’s going to play, but that won’t be determined until Friday," said Lucas. "We’ve got some kids who can step in if he can’t go. But for a senior, you’d like to see him play."

Even without McGraw, the receiving corps is stocked. Stoney Nelson has 13 catches for 165 yards and five TDs, Ryan Forbes 11 grabs for 113 yards and a score, and Ricky Ciccone nine receptions for 165 yards and a touchdown.

Ciccone is the team’s leading rusher with 168 attempts for 1,491 yards for an 8.9 average. He has scored 22 touchdowns.

His running mate is Bryan Davis who has 132 carries for 1,307 yards for a 9.9 average and 20 touchdowns.

"We knew we were blessed with some skilled people and some speed. Ryan has some quickness and works hard and does it for us on both sides of the football. Ciccone is not that big, but he’s a scat back type who runs hard and hangs in there. They compliment each other well," said Lucas.

Quarterback Kyle Myers has a 59 percent completion rate. Myers is 73-of-123 for 1,122 yards and 16 touchdowns. He has just three interceptions.

"Myers has been a pleasant surprise. We had a real nice quarterback ahead of him last year, and he stepped in this year and did a great job. He’s thrown 16 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. He’s the guy who’s got us going this year. He’s got a good head on his shoulders. He’s like the rest of the kids in this senior class. They’re good players and they’re good people. They do the right things."

Lucas said the senior class, as well as the rest of the team, is looking forward to measuring up against Ironton, a perennial power in the state.

"Anyone who has a clue about high school football knows about Ironton. We told our kids to be ready to roll, but we look forward to the opportunity," said Lucas. "We’ve talked about wanting to be in the same category as Ironton and now we’re there, so it’s time to put up or shut up."

The Redskins will have to "put up" against an Ironton team that has more size overall. Lucas is impressed with the size and strength of the Fighting Tigers linemen.

"We haven’t seen that type of size. We’ve gone against some big kids, but overall not that kind of size. We know about (Redgie) Arden, but (Roman Fry) is huge and he’s just a junior. I look at (Mark Gleichauf) and (Kyle Hankins) and they’re just solid. But they’re always solid," said Lucas.

But Lucas doesn’t plan to make size an issue.

"You can’t get caught up in what the other team does. We stress what we do. We can’t control their size or the kid going to Ohio State. What we can control is how well we run to the football defensively, how well we carry out our assignments, how well we execute, and how well we take care of the football. We’ve got a plan and we have to go out and execute," said Lucas.

"It’s going to be a great football game and very well played. It’s going to be interesting."