Fighting Tigers faces more of the same against Lions

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 17, 2004

It might be a new week, but it's an old story.

For the fourth straight game, the Ironton Fighting Tigers defense must contend with an explosive, wide-open offensive attack as they host the Boyd County Lions Friday.

Even though Ironton won 42-7 last season and the Lions are 1-3 on the season, Fighting Tigers head coach Bob Lutz said Boyd County can be a dangerous team.

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"They have better overall speed than last year. Their skill players are better as a group. It gives them big play capabilities," Lutz said.

Boyd County uses a lot of shotgun and spread formations and mixes the run with the pass.

Brennan Sargent, a 6-foot, 205-pound junior tailback, leads the team in rushing with 245 yards on 41 carries. Derek Jackson (5-11, 185) has 188 yards on 20 carries and quarterback Austin Hunter (5-11, 155) had 256 yards on 27 attempts.

Hunter has completed 35 of 67 passes for 390 yards, a drastic contrast to the Ironton passing game which is 8 of 15 for 177 yards and two touchdowns.

Tight end Jeremy Mays (6-1, 185) tops the Lions with nine catches for 137 yards. Tyler Hardin had six grabs for 94 yards and Jackson has 68 yards on 10 receptions.

"They've got good balance which puts a lot of pressure on the defense," Lutz said.

So far, the Ironton defense has lived up to the challenge. The first team has not allowed a point as Ironton has outscored its opponents 108-6 in going 3-0.

Boyd County is 1-3 with a 42-0 win over Montgomery County in the season opener followed by three tough losses to Spring Valley, Lexington Lafayette and Russell.

"All three of those teams are pretty good," Lutz said. "Russell's the best team in that area and they didn't pull away until late."

While Ironton's defense will be tested, the offense must contend with a defensive front that moves all around.

The base defense is 5-3, but the Lions have switched to 4-4 and 5-3 in previous meetings against Ironton.

"They're very active and they move people around. It makes it hard to get a read on them," Lutz said.

Three players return from last year's team: nose guard Daniel Adams, tackle John Kazee (6-0, 22) end Logan Thornberry and linebacker Kaleb Meenach.

"They're an aggressive defense. We'll have to be ready to play."