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Ironton/Portsmouth rivalry one for the ages

ATHENS -- They've been here before.

It's not the first time the Ironton Fighting Tigers (8-2) have met a regular season opponent in the playoffs. In fact, it's the fourth time.

When Ironton plays the Portsmouth Trojans in the Division IV Region 15 semifinals at 7:30 p.m. today at Ohio University's Peden Stadium, it'll be the second straight year the two teams have met in the regular season and then tasted a rematch in the playoffs.

Last season, Ironton won 16-15 in the regular season only to see Portsmouth (10-1) take the rematch in the second round of the playoffs 35-27.

This year, Portsmouth won in week No. 4 25-7.

The first time Ironton played an opponent twice was 1990. After a season-opening loss of 14-0 to Portsmouth West, the two teams met in the first round of the playoffs and Ironton rolled to a 41-7 win.

Ironton and Wheelersburg met twice in the 1995 season. Ironton won the regular season game 36-12, then took the first round playoff game 41-8.

During the storied rivalry between Ironton and Portsmouth, the two teams met twice in the regular season in 1906, '07, '09, '11, '14-'17, and '19. They didn't play twice again until 1997 with Portsmouth winning at Ironton 30-16, and then Ironton won at Portsmouth 6-3.

In the Division V playoffs, Chesapeake plays Woodsfield Monroe on Saturday at Circleville Logan Elm. The Panthers advanced to the second round with a 35-26 win over Steubenville Catholic.

For more details on the Panthers' game, see Page 8 today.