Ironton, South Point look for improvement
Hopefully, week No. 2 will be better than last week.
Neither Ironton Fighting Tigers head coach Bob Lutz nor South Point Pointers coach Dan McDavid were pleased with their respective team's effort last week in their season openers.
Both coaches want better performances this week as the two teams meet Friday night at Tanks Memorial Stadium.
Ironton fell behind 10-0 at the half, then stormed back to beat the Wheelersburg Pirates 22-10. Although the defense played well, South Point struggled with its offense in a 12-7 loss at Vinton County.
"We played about as bad as we could play the first half last week. We did play better the second half once we made a few adjustments," Lutz said. "But we have to correct those mistakes this week. If we don't play better, we'll get beat."
South Point had just three first downs and its only touchdown was a 90-yard kickoff return by Justin Workman.
"We had some chances to score, but we made some mistakes that cost us," McDavid said. "Ironton has a good ball club. If you make mistakes against them, they take advantage of it."
Ironton won last year's meeting 54-8, but both teams have undergone a metamorphoses since that game.
The biggest change for Ironton is replacing several offensive linemen including All-Ohio tackle Tyler Whaley, now at Ohio State.
The Pointers have seven returning starters including their backfield, but the offense is a more wide-open, pro-style set instead of the double-wing, single setback run-oriented attack last year.
Lutz was particularly impressed with fullback Chris Chapman and tailback Caleb Copley.
"Last year, we were mainly concerned with the run. This year, they'll spread you out and throw the ball," Lutz said.
"They've got two good running backs and a two or three good athletes as receivers. And they like to get their backs into pass routes. Copley's a good athlete who can hurt you running and catching the football. Chapman is a hard runner. He got hurt against us last year, so we didn't get to see much of him."
Chapman broke his leg early last season in the loss to Ironton.
One of Ironton's losses from last year was All-Ohio fullback Matt White. But McDavid said White's replacement, sophomore Jared Murphy, hasn't missed a beat.
"It seems like every year they lose their fullback and replace him with another one. They do the same thing every year, but they do it well and you can't stop them," McDavid said.
"But they have more than just Murphy. (Derique) Bacon is a heck of a back, (Marland) Turner and (Marcus) Williams can run, and their quarterback (Josh Sands) is one of the best athletes in the the area."
Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.