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Ironton must defend Belfry’s wishbone

Back to the ‘Bone.

Tuesday, October 16, 2001

Back to the ‘Bone. The spread offense is gone and the wishbone is back for the Belfry Pirates as they prepare to host the unbeaten Ironton Fighting Tigers Friday at Vipperman Stadium.

Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.

Belfry (5-3) used to rely strictly on the wishbone offense until three years ago when the Pirates went to spread formations including the shotgun.

But with an array of running backs this season, the wishbone is back and posing another threat to Ironton’s hopes of an unbeaten regular season.

The triggerman is quarterback Daniel Wright (6-foot-1, 174 pounds). The fullback is freshman Doug Howard (5-9, 195) and the halfbacks are senior B. J. Wallace (6-0, 162) and junior Jonah Caudill (5-9, 160).

"The thing that makes Belfry dangerous is the fact all their backs can run," Ironton coach Bob Lutz said. "You can’t focus on one guy. In the film we saw, the quarterback and fullback had big games, and last week the two halfbacks hurt Whitesburg on the option by getting outside. It puts a lot of pressure on the defense."

Although Belfry has lost three games, Lutz isn’t going to overlook the Pirates.

"We went down there two years ago and jumped on them early, but they came back and beat us," Lutz said.

It is the only loss for Ironton in the series that the Fighting Tigers lead 7-1.

Belfry lost 41-21 early to Ashland, then 26-20 to Lawrence County. Ashland also lost to Lawrence County but by a 48-19 score.

The Pirates other loss was 40-14 at Prestonsburg, but in that game they fumbled nine times and lost six.

"Everyone has been in one of those games where you keep putting the ball on the ground. Any time you put the ball on the ground you’re asking for trouble. You fumble it nine times and lose six and you’re not going to win," Lutz said.

Caudill and Wright are two of seven returning starters on offense along with senior tight end Matt Hale (6-2, 185), junior guard Matt Jones (5-9, 250), junior center Joey Ramey (5-10, 194), junior guard Jonathon masters (5-10, 248), and senior tackle Adam Reed (6-2, 213).

The other starters are sophomore tackle Matt Marcum (6-2, 230), senior tight end Scotty Bell (6-0, 211), and sophomore Phillip Varney (5-8, 210) splits time at guard with Jones.

The defense also return seven starters with Reed and Hale at the ends, Jones at nose guard, Wright at safety, senior Jason Ray (6-4, 350) at tackle, and senior William Blackburn (5-11, 161) at cornerback.

The linebackers are Bell on one side with either Howard or senior Chad Varney (5-6, 198) his running mate.

Caudill is the other corner and Wallace the strong safety. Senior Josh Maynard (6-0, 253) is the right tackle.