Ironton must avoid another stumble against Ashland

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Can lightning strike twice in the same place?

Last week, the Ironton Fighting Tigers were upset at Jackson, their first loss to the Ironmen since 1969. Ironton had not lost in the past 19 meetings (17-0-2) against Jackson.

This week another streak is on the line as Ironton travels to arch-rival Ashland (Ky.) riding a 14-game winning streak against the Tomcats.

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Ironton is 25-4 during the tenure of coach Bob Lutz. The teams did not play in the 1976 and '77 seasons. The Fighting Tigers lead the series 39-28-3.

"We didn't play well last week and Jackson made the plays it needed," Ironton coach Bob Lutz said. "It seems like we've always got some kind of a streak on the line, but that's the legacy the teams in the past have left this team to live up to."

Ashland (3-1) is coming off a 55-9 spanking of Prestonsburg (Ky.) Lutz said the Tomcats are a formidable foe.

"They've got excellent speed and quickness, good size up front and very good skilled personnel. This is a good Ashland team," Lutz said.

Senior Ian Holbrook (5-11, 187) is the key to the Ashland offense. The veteran quarterback is a threat as a runner and passer.

"Their quarterback is better than the kid from Jackson and we didn't do a very good job with him last week," Lutz said.

With six starters back, Ashland's spread offense is averaging almost 39 points a game.

Also back on the offensive side is fullback Tyler Reliford (6-0,185), tailback/slotback Matt Thomas (6-1, 180), tight end Drew McDavid (6-3, 190), split end Angel Gurule (5-10, 160) and center Michael Walters (6-2, 315).

"They've got a lot of speed and experience at the skilled positions," Lutz said.

The rest of the offensive line has Austin Brislin (6-0, 230) and Travis Gallaher (6-0, 215) at the guards while Lacey Snodgrass (6-5, 239) and Randy Riggs (6-1, 257) are the tackles.

On the defensive side, the Tomcats have allowed only 45 points with 21 coming in the 21-13 loss to Russell. One of Russell's touchdowns came off a blocked punt.

"(Ashland) really swarms to the football," Lutz said. "They're not real big, but they're quick and they're fast. They really disrupt your offense."

Brislin and Gallaher are the tackles with Aaron Cordial (6-2, 173) and Joe Smith (6-3, 205) the ends. The inside linebackers are Fields Davis (5-7,190) and Blake Runnels (5-8, 160) with Gurule and Adam Cannoy (6-0, 163) on the outside.

Reliford and McDavid are the cornerbacks with Luke Bonner (6-2, 170) the safety.