Gallipolis bringing explosive offense

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 7, 2004

If offense sells tickets, the lines should be plenty long Friday night.

Two high-scoring offenses collide as Ironton hosts the Gallipolis Blue Devils at Tanks Memorial Stadium in the Fighting Tigers home opener.

Gallipolis (1-1) has racked up 738 yards of total offense this season with a balanced attack. The Blue Devils had nearly 400 yards rushing and more than 300 passing.

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Ironton (2-0) has 728 yards of total offense, but the Fighting Tigers have 607 on the ground and just 121 through the air. Quarterback Josh Adkins is 5 of 10 with 102 yards coming in last week's 57-6 rout of South Point.

"Gallipolis lost a lot of players from last season, but their offense hasn't lost a beat. They're still rolling up the yardage," Ironton coach Bob Lutz said.

Last week, the Blue Devils amassed 406 total yards but lost 35-12 at Wheelersburg. The Blue Devils downfall came in the turnover department where they suffered three interceptions and lost three of seven fumbles.

"(Gallipolis) moved the ball up and down the field almost at will, they just kept shooting themselves in the foot," Lutz said. "If they don't turn it over, they might have scored four or five more times. That changes the whole complexion of the game."

Quarterback Jaymes Haggerty, a 6-foot-1, 180-pound sophomore, has completed 19 of 42 passes for 307 yards in two games but thrown six interceptions. He has also ran 30 times for 142 yards including 94 last week.

"The quarterback is a young kid but he has a lot of ability. He has a good arm and he has good speed and can run," Lutz said.

Junior running back Dustin Winters (6-0, 215) is an all-around threat. After gaining 100 yards on 10 carries against Wheelersburg and catching five passes for 62 yards, he now has 143 yards rushing on 14 attempts and six receptions for 92 yards.

Todd Saunders has 125 yards rushing on 15 tries and two catches for 23 yards.

Eight different players have caught passes including Haggerty. Junior Shaphen Robinson (6-1, 175) leads the team with 113 yards on four receptions. Senior Kyle Burnett (6-0, 170) had three grabs for 33 yards while Jeff Payton and Austin King had two catches each.

"They spread the ball around so much it's hard to focus on one player and that puts a lot of pressure on the defense," Lutz said.

The offensive line is led by seniors Zach Shawver (6-4, 230), Coe Haggerty (5-11, 195) and Tommy Saunders (6-0, 185).