Fighting Tigers prepare for Westfall#039;s dual attack

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 14, 2005

Maybe they just look like they're going to pass.

The Westfall Mustangs spread offense may be somewhat deceptive to defenses. The Mustangs pass first, run second with formations that may have more balance than opponents think.

Well, maybe opponents other than the Ironton Fighting Tigers who will play Westfall (9-2) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the Division IV Region 15 semifinals at Jackson.

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Westfall quarterback Kevin Smith has completed 80 of 151 passes for 858 yards and five touchdowns this season, but he has also rushed 136 times for 575 yards and scored nine touchdowns.

The top running back is Skilar Gibson (5-10, 182) who has rushed 108 times for 426 yards and four scores.

Those numbers are in complete reversal of last year's meeting between the two teams in the first round of the playoffs.

Last year, Westfall quarterback Wade Bartholomew ran 15 times for 53 yards. The only other carry was by Nick Clark who gained one yard.

&#8220You have to prepare for their passing game, but they will run the ball more and that puts added pressure on your defense,” Ironton coach Bob Lutz said. &#8220Their quarterback is a strong runner with good speed and Gibson runs pretty well.”

Ironton (9-2) generally brings out a variety of run defenses in its opponents because of its run-oriented offense.

The Fighting Tigers are led by Darius Lewis with 1,209 yards on 153 carries for an average of 8 yards a carry. He has scored 19 touchdowns.

Fullback Jared Murphy has 675 yards on 133 rushes - a 5.1 average - and he has scored 12 touchdowns.

Ironton quarterback Chad Miller doesn't throw often, but he has been effective. Miller is 25 of 39 for 520 yards and four touchdowns. He has thrown just three interceptions.

Brandon Walker is the leading receiver with 13 catches for 390 yards and four scores.