Ironton faces balanced Portsmouth West

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 14, 2004

Double tight. Double split. Double trouble.

Switching from its power style wishbone offense to a more balanced formation, the Portsmouth West Senators will pose a double threat to the Ironton Fighting Tigers defense when the two teams collide Friday night at Tanks Memorial Stadium.

With seven starters returning on offense, the Senators have rolled up some impressive offensive numbers this season and has averaged 30 points per game.

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"Their running back is a nice back. He ran well against us last year. Their quarterback has a pretty good arm and he spreads the ball around. This is as balanced and explosive of an offense as we've seen all year," Ironton coach Bob Lutz said.

Jerod Pendleton, a 6-foot-1, 195-pound junior, is the team's leading rusher and scorer despite missing last week and part of the Waverly game due to an injury. He is expected to play against Ironton.

Quarterback Levi Morgan (6-2, 205) joins Pendleton as returning starters along with tight ends Johnny Rawlins (5-8, 180) and Scott Summers (6-3, 225), center Aaron Frump (6-2, 250), guard Michael Whitman (6-2, 235) and tackle John Charlton (6-2, 235).

The right guard is Jared Compton (6-1, 245) and the right tackle Dennis Winters (5-6, 165). The flankers are Brandon Bradshaw (6-0,170) and either Austin Seevers (5-11, 155) or Caleb Staggs (5-10, 140).

"They've got a lot of size up front. They may be the biggest team we've seen so far," Lutz said.

Despite the strong offense, West is only 3-3 due mainly to some defensive problems early in the season. Lutz warned not to take the Senators defense lightly.

"They're aggressive and they have some size. They had some injuries early and they're starting to get healthy. We'll have our hands full," Lutz said.

The defense uses a 5-3 look and has five returning starters if Pendleton plays both ways.

Returning on the defensive side are nose guard is Luke Bricker (5-11, 195), Rawlins and Summers at the ends, Whitman at middle linebacker and Pendleton at linebacker.

The tackles are Chaz Horsley (6-2, 200) and Eric McCormick (6-0, 270), the outside linebackers Kyle Ruggles (5-10, 185) and Colton Adkins (5-9, 160), cornerbacks Seevers and Staggs with Alex Bloomfield (5-9, 160) at safety.

Ironton, 6-0, won last year's meeting 41-10 after trailing 10-0 at the half.

"West has always been an aggressive team. They'll battle you tooth and nail. We have to be ready to play," Lutz said.