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Fighting Tigers face explosive Gallipolis

There's a time bomb ticking and ready to explode. It's called the Gallipolis Blue Devils offense.

In two games this season, Gallipolis has racked up 65 points including 37 against Wheelersburg last week in a 37-30 win. The potent offense has Ironton Fighting Tigers head coach Bob Lutz scratching his head.

Both teams come into the game 2-0 and Lutz said the Blue Devils score points in rapid fashion.

"They're explosive," Lutz said. "You can have them bottled up for five or six plays and think you've got their number and then they hit a big play and are standing in the end zone. They've got a heck of a lot of speed."

The most explosive bomb in the offense is 6-foot-1, 195-pound all-purpose senior Jayme Haggerty.

Last week, Haggerty ran for 90 yards and caught four passes for 165 yards including an 85-yard touchdown on the third play of the game. He also ran for two scores as he led a second half comeback that saw the Blue Devils rally from a 22-6 halftime deficit.

"He's a heck of an athlete and he's got excellent speed. He's dangerous in the open field," Lutz said.

Last season, Haggerty began the season at quarterback before moving to wide receiver. He was second on the team in rushing and receiving as he had 1,606 all-purpose yards.

When Haggerty moved to wide receiver, he gave way to a freshman named Jeff Golden (6-0, 180). The sophomore threw for 693 yards in four games and last week he threw for 166 yards.

"He's pretty poised for a sophomore," Lutz said. "He has a good arm and he has some experience under his belt. He throws the ball pretty well."

But there's more to the Blue Devils offense than Haggerty and Golden.

Back in the backfield are running backs Dustin Winters (6-0, 225) and Justin Saunders (6-0, 175). Winters had 108 yards rushing and three touchdowns last week.

"Winters is a big back. If you get too focused on the passing game, he bolts right up the shoot on you and he's off to the races. They have a lot of weapons and a lot of speed," Lutz said.

Other receivers who have speed and are capable of big plays are Shaphen Robinson, Chris McCoy, Seth Haner and tight end Brad Caudill.

Up front are center Phil Bokovitz (6-1, 265), guards Jacob Duty (6-0,270) and Jared Burnett (5-10, 200), and tackles Brett Jones (5-11, 185) and Matt Hemphill (5-11, 220).

Robinson, Hemphill, Burnett, Jones, Golden, Winters and Haggerty are returning starters.

The Blue Devils utilize their speed on defense as well with a 4-4 alignment that swarms the football.

Bokovitz and Winters are the tackles with Brad Caudill and Tim Kyger the ends. Michael Shong, Jeff Howell, Seth Haner and Saunders - the team's leading tackler – are the linebackers.

In the secondary are Haggerty, Robinson, Luke Haislop and Nathan Jones.

"It's a pretty good defensive team. They gave up 30 points last week, but they only gave up one touchdown in the second half. We've had trouble moving the ball at times so we've got our work cut out for us," Lutz said.