Bellaire offense worries Ironton

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 5, 2003

There's a reason why they call it the shotgun offense. It can really kill a defense.

The Bellaire Big Reds wide-open shotgun offense should keep the Ironton Fighting Tigers defense hopping Saturday when the teams meet in the Division IV Region 15 semifinals at Zanesville High School.

Bellaire (9-2) is averaging nearly 32 points a game thanks to the shotgun offense that has 6-foot-2, 195-pound sophomore quarterback Nate Davis at the trigger.

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Davis was 10 of 15 passes for 226 yards and two touchdowns in last week's 27-6 win over Westfall.

Davis is now 102 of 239 this season for 1,967 yards. He has 21 TD passes and has been intercepted just five times.

The Bellaire quarterback is the younger brother of Jose Davis who led the Big Reds to a state runner-up in 1995 and went on to play at Kent State.

"(Davis has) got a heck of an arm and he has some touch on the ball. He reads the defense and takes what you give him," Ironton coach Bob Lutz said.

Davis throws to an array of receivers, but the big trio of Maurice Jeffreys, Ryan Padgett and Mike Fisher have combined for 71 receptions for 1,299 yards.

Jeffreys has 25 catches for 422 yards, Padgett 23 receptions for 460 yards, and Fisher 23 grabs for 417 yards. All three receivers have five touchdown catches each.

Running back Brock Redman had been playing with a torn ACL and had more than 500 yards rushing in four-plus games. But Redman went down again against Martins Ferry and is not expected to play Saturday.

Even without Redman, the running game won't be at a loss. Alan Kaplan has more than 500 yards rushing and Fisher, who moved to the backfield and ran 14 times for 130 yards in last week's playoff game.

"They're a passing team, but the running game is what makes them tough to defend. Even without Redman, they've still got two or three backs who can run and break the big play," Lutz said.

Kickoff is 7 p.m. The winner advances to the regional finals to play the survivor of the Martins Ferry and Coshocton game.