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Fighting Tigers wins 4th AP poll crown

Ironton football is recognized as one of the top programs in the state of Ohio.

Wednesday, October 31, 2001

Ironton football is recognized as one of the top programs in the state of Ohio. The final Associated Press high school poll confirms it.

For the fourth time in school history, all during the Bob Lutz coaching era, the Ironton Fighting Tigers are poll champions.

Ironton finished 10-0 against a schedule that featured seven playoff teams and a combined 63-36 record. For their effort, they were voted the number one position among the Division IV teams by a panel of sports writers and broadcasters throughout Ohio.

"It’s a nice accomplishment for our players and is shows you have the respect of others," Ironton coach Bob Lutz said.

"Naturally, our goal is to win a championship on the field. But it’s not easy to go unbeaten and it’s nice to be recognized as the best team when you consider how many good teams there are in the state."

Ironton also captured poll championships in 1986 in Class AA, and 1988 and in 1993 in Division III. The unbeaten season was Ironton’s 14th overall and 13th under Lutz.

Teams qualifying for the playoffs on the Fighting Tigers schedule were Wheelersburg (6-4), Gallipolis (9-1), Ashland, Ky. (7-3), Montgomery County, Ky. (7-3), Portsmouth (9-1), Belfry, Ky. (6-4), and Columbus DeSales (5-5).

Finishing second was Licking Valley (10-0) which also finished second to Ironton in the Region 15 Division IV computer ratings. Ironton had 23 first place votes and 311 points – tied with Div. II Avon Lake for the most points – while Licking Valley had three first place votes and 262 points.

Kenton (10-0) was third and Portsmouth (9-1) moved up to fourth. Fifth was Canton Catholic followed by Germantown Valley View, New Lexington, Perry, Coldwater, and Chagrin Falls.

Ironton, Licking Valley, Portsmouth, and New Lexington are all in Region 15 and qualified for the playoffs.