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Talented DeSales next for Ironton

The Ironton Fighting Tigers had last week off. And by looking at their opponent this week, they needed it.

Ironton (6-1) returns to action Friday night at Tanks Memorial Stadium against the Division III power Columbus St. Francis DeSales Stallions.

The Fighting Tigers beat DeSales 20-10 last season and the Stallions finished the regular season 5-5. They still made the playoffs and went to the Div. III state championship game where they lost on the final play of the game.

Ironton coach Bob Lutz said his team can expect its toughest challenge of the season.

"DeSales is the best team we've seen so far this season," said Lutz. "They don't have great size, but they have good size and they are strong, quick, and athletic. They're a typical DeSales team."

After winning their first six games, DeSales has lost its last two games, 33-14 to arch-rival Columbus Bishop Watterson in rainy, muddy conditions, and 55-14 last week to Division I Cincinnati Moeller.

Earlier this season, DeSales beat Covington (Ky.) Catholic 34-6 and Cincinnati St. Xavier 21-0. Moeller beat Covington Catholic 14-10 and St. Xavier beat Moeller 35-21.

"DeSales has had a couple of bad games, but you can look at their track record all season and you can see they're very capable of beating some really good teams," said Lutz.

DeSales spread offense is triggered by senior Dino Razzano, a 6-foot-1, 200-pound quarterback. The single running back is senior Luther Henderson (5-10, 205) with the slotbacks senior Derek Shaw (5-11, 165) and junior Chris Brown (5-11, 185).

"All their backs run hard, but Razzano is the key. He's the guy who makes them go. You have to contain him to stop their offense. The teams who stopped him were able to beat DeSales."

The split ends are senior Galen Powell (6-2, 195) and junior Anthony Youngblood (5-11, 160).

Up front are senior David Shelby (6-4, 235) at center, senior Jim Holley (6-3, 280) and junior Joe Matovich (5-11, 195) at the guards, with senior Mike Rohrer (6-2, 205) at right tackle and seniors Michael Scalise (6-0, 230) and Aaron Slupski (5-10, 190) on the other side.

On the defensive side of the ball, DeSales returns junior tackle Kevin Randolph (6-1, 235), linebacker Austin Addington (6-1, 215), and safety Travis Dickson (5-8,1 180).

The ends are senior Ryan Knapp (5-11, 180) and junior David Black (5-10, 195), the nose guard senior Wayne Hiles (5-11, 195), and the other tackle senior Brian Rotella (6-2, 195).

The other linebacker is senior Bubba Bleakmore (5-11, 175), the cornerbacks senior Marc Greco (5-8, 160) and Youngblood, and junior Joe Solinger (5-8, 175) is the other safety.

Ironton was able to move the ball on the ground last season against the Stallions, but Lutz said it might be more difficult to utilize its power game this time around.

"Randolph is a heck of a lineman. He moves from side to side and he's strong and aggressive. They have good linebackers and their defense flies to the ball," said Lutz.