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Ironton can’t look past Coal Grove

Getting emotionally up for big games is easy.

Tuesday, October 02, 2001

Getting emotionally up for big games is easy. Getting up the next week is the hard part.

That’s the challenge facing the Ironton Fighting Tigers as they put their unbeaten record on the line with backdoor rival Coal Grove Friday at Patterson Field.

Ironton, 6-0, is coming off an emotionally and physically draining 16-15 win over the previously unbeaten Portsmouth Trojans. Ironton coach Bob Lutz said his team must be prepared to play against the Hornets.

"You never take any team lightly. You always prepare the same each week," Lutz said. "Coal Grove is coming off a big win against Rock Hill and they’ll be up for us. When we used to scrimmage them they always played hard. I expect the same kind of effort this week and we need to match it."

After starting the season 0-2, Coal Grove is now 3-3 after beating Rock Hill 28-7 last week.

The resurgence by the Hornets can be partly linked to the personnel adjustments by Coal Grove coach Nick Miller. A healthy J. J. Hunt has settled in at quarterback allowing the Miller to move Matt Spears to halfback where he teams with running back Shaun Smith.

In the win last week, Smith rushed for 151 yards and Spears 130 yards as Coal Grove rushed for 316 yards.

"The Smith kid has pretty good speed and he runs hard. Spears gives them an added dimension in their offense," Lutz said. "Their backs aren’t very big unless (Bill) Holton is in there at fullback, but the offensive line has excellent size."

Smith, the team’s leading rusher, is 5-foot-8, 153 pounds. Spears is 6-1, 166, and Holton 6-1, 193.

The offensive line has 6-1, 251 Ricky Wynn at center, 5-11, 245 Josh Childers and 5-11, 196 Josh Spears at the guards, 6-1, 288 Dan Cordle and 5-11, 266 Jason Chapman at the tackles, and 6-2, 235 Jim Lemon and 6-1, 180 Brandon Mullens the guards.

Defense is a different story. The Hornets prefer to use a smaller, quicker lineup.

Adam Stapleton (5-6, 150) is the nose guard, Josh Spears and Travis Stormes (5-7, 131) the tackles, and Chad Burcham (6-0,162) and Danile Monnig (5-11, 151) the ends.

Lemon and Holton are the linebackers, Smith and Brandon Waller (5-9, 153) the corners, and Steve Bruce (5-11, 160) and Matt Spears are the safeties.