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Ironton, Fairfield Union look forward to playoff opportunity

When the 2002 season began, the Ironton Fighting Tigers had only two returning starters and slim prospects of winning against a difficult schedule.

Nine games later Ironton had seven victories and its 21st postseason playoff berth. Ironton plays at Lancaster Fairfield Union at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the opening round of the Region 15 Division IV playoffs.

"We always set our goals at the beginning of the season and one of them is to make the playoffs," Ironton coach Bob Lutz said. "Now that we've made the playoffs, our next goal is to win our first playoff game. Right now our now is to take it one game at a time."

Ironton (7-2) can't afford to look ahead to a possible rematch against Portsmouth. The Trojans beat Ironton 25-7 earlier this season.

Portsmouth plays Waverly with the winner taking on the Ironton-Fairfield Union survivor.

And survivor it may very well be. Ironton and Fairfield Union have similar offensive and defensive statistics.

The Fighting Tigers are averaging nearly 31 points a game, and have given up 14.8 points a contest. Of the 134 points allowed this season, 49 have come the last two weeks along with 629 yards rushing.

Fairfield Union (9-1) has scored at a 26.8 clip while allowing 13.7 points a game.

The Falcons are making their second straight playoff appearance, the only two postseason berths in school history. It will also be the team's first playoff home game.

"As they say, it's the icing on the cake," Falcons coach Tom Bahen said. "Our goal was to host a game and we're

fortunate to get one. It's a lot nicer than a two-and-a-half to three-hour bus ride and it keeps us in a routine."

Fairfield Union star running back Josh Peters said the team is excited about hosting a playoff game.

"It would be awesome to host," Peters said. "Winning the league was the first step and now we want to see how high we can climb. We want to go to deep in the playoffs."

The game will mark the first meeting between the two schools.