Ironton vs. Jackson heavyweight bout

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 3, 2006

If you like heavyweight boxing, get ready for some kind of title fight.

It’ll be one heavy puncher against another in Ali-Frazier fashion as the Ironton Fighting Tigers host the Jackson Ironmen Friday as Southeastern Ohio Athletic League play begins.

Jackson (2-1) and Ironton (2-1) both have big interior linemen and prefer to pound away with their running game.

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“They’re not about speed. They’re about running over you,” Ironton coach Merril Triplett Jr. said.

“They dive hard for the extra yard. They’re a tough team. They have those two big linemen and they just line up behind them and run at you.”

The two big linemen for Jackson are Beau Riley, a 6-foot-3, 290-pound right tackle, and John Leonard, a 6-3, 275-pound left tackle.

But they aren’t the only big linemen for Jackson. Also up front are center Stephan Walters (6-1, 252), guards Evan Osborne (5-11, 265) and William Tomblin (5-11, 240), and tight end Greg James (6-3, 223).

The beneficiaries of the size are quarterback Zane Holzapfel, fullbacks Brandon Oliver and Colin Wayland, and tailback Bruce Smith.

Holzapfel, a transfer from Wellston, leads the team with 266 yards rushing on 51 carries and three touchdowns. He is 8 of 16 passing for 146 yards.

Smith (5-9, 178) had 208 yards on 34 attempts with two TDs. Oliver (5-9, 205) had 123 yards and three scores and Wayland (5-8, 165) 55 yards on 16 attempts.

The leading receiver is Tanner (5-8, 168) who has four receptions for 110 yards.

“Their quarterback is a nice runner. He follows his blocks well and he hurts you when he cuts back,” Triplett said. “Their backs aren’t as fast as last year, but they sure run hard. They run as hard as any backs we’ve faced.”

The Jackson defense has allowed 41 points this seasons. Ironton has given up 48 points.

Oliver and Brad Duhl (5-11, 280) are the tackles with Leonard and Robbie Marhoover (6-0, 200) the ends. The inside linebackers are James and Smith with Tanner and Grant Wickline (5-8,170) on the outside.

Tyler Boggs (6-0, 150) and either Potter or Holzapfel are the corners. Anthony Fowler (5-8,180) is the safety.

Jackson upset Ironton 17-7 last season, its first win over the Fighting Tigers in the last 19 meetings (18-0-1). Triplett said there’s more at stake than revenge.

“This is the first league game and it’ll be a tough ball game,” Triplett said.