Fighting Tigers must stop West runners

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 14, 2005

The pass is in the past.

After all the spread formations and passing offenses, the Ironton Fighting Tigers will get a running team with a new-look offensive alignment.

Ironton (5-1) will visit the Portsmouth West Senators Friday and face a double-wing, single running back offense. Passing will be a compliment to the offense, not the main focus.

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"It's something different than we've seen," Ironton coach Bob Lutz said. "They give you a lot of motion, they'll trap, they'll sweep, they'll run power and, when you focus on the run, the hit you with a pass. It's a tough offense to defend."

The main focus of the Ironton defense will be West leading rusher Jerrod Pendleton, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound senior.

Last season, Ironton routed West 42-7 but Pendleton rushed 11 times for 132 including a 69-yard touchdown run.

"He's a good back," Lutz said. "We saw what he could do last year and he looks stronger. He's got good size and speed. He's the best running back we've seen so far."

Besides Pendleton, the Senators will have Austin Seevers (6-0, 170) at quarterback. The wingback is Kyle Ruggles (5-10, 180) and the slotback is Sean Bower (6-0, 195).

"All their backs have good size and their quarterback is a good athlete. He can get out and run a lot like the kid from Lawrence County did last week," Lutz said.

The running backs operate behind a big offensive line.

Zach Lafontains (6-1, 245) is the center, Michael Whitman (6-2, 225) and Chaz Horsley (6-3, 200) are the guards, Brad Book (6-3, 280) and Matt Maker (6-6, 250) are the

tackles, and Drew Collier (6-2, 177) and Trevin Coleman (6-0, 220) split the tight end duties.

West utilizes a 4-4 on defense with Mike Winters (5-8, 168) and Horsley the tackles, Coleman and Whitman the ends, Drew Platt (6-2, 185) and Pendleton the outside linebackers with Alex Bloomfield (5-10,170) and Ruggles the inside linebackers.

Caleb Staggs (5-9,137) and Bower are the cornerbacks and Seevers the safety in the secondardy.

Lutz also warned about comparing scores.

West is 5-1 on the season including a 25-13 win over Waverly which beat Jackson 19-18. Ironton's only loss came at the hands of Jackson.

The Senators only loss was 42-0 to Ashland, Ky., a team Ironton beat 27-26. Lutz said there were some extenuating circumstances.

"They had five or six starters out sick when they played Ashland. I don't know any team that can play without that many starters and be effective," Lutz said.

The game will be televised on a tape delay by Ohio News Network (ONN) which is Channel 27 on Adelphia.