Ironton must stop Trojan QB

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 3, 2006

The record doesn’t speak for itself.

The Portsmouth Trojans enter Friday’s Southeastern Ohio Athletic League game against the Ironton Fighting Tigers with a 2-5 record.

While the record doesn’t sound good, don’t let it fool you. Portsmouth is 14 points away from being 6-1. The only lopsided loss was 35-6 to Zanesville.

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The other losses were 19-14 to Wheelersburg, 27-20 to Gallipolis, 21-20 to Portsmouth West and 29-28 last week to Chillicothe.

Portsmouth’s two wins were 21-19 over Jackson and 71-44 over Chesapeake to open the season.

“We’re not fooled by their record,” Ironton coach Merril Triplett Jr. said.

“They’re getting better and they have a good quarterback. It seems like every week we see another good quarterback.”

Triggering the Portsmouth offense is junior quarterback Shane Porter who is in his third year as a starter.

Porter is 87 of 179 on the season for 1,183 yards and nine touchdowns. He has been intercepted eight times.

Besides his passing, Porter is second on the team in rushing with 359yards on 81 carries and five scores.

“They like to run their quarterback and he’s a good ball runner. He throws a real nice ball and he has a nice touch. We have to stop him,” Triplett said.

Portsmouth bolstered its running game

this season by shifting junior tight end Wes Jordan (6-2, 205) to fullback. Jordan leads the team with 427 yards on 99 carries and six TDs.

“They have a big, strong fullback. He’s improved all season. Players bounced off him when he runs,” Triplett said.

The offensive balance will be a test for the Ironton defense, according to Triplett.

“They mix it up well. They have a nice offense,” he said. “Their style of offense reminds me of Jackson. The like that two-back set and run the option and throw.”

Also in the backfield is Chaze Southern (5-10, 195) who has 63 carries for 277 yards and four scores.

On the receiving end of Porter’s passes are three key players led by senior John Walker (5-8, 161) with 37 receptions for 471 yards and five touchdowns.

Malik White (5-10, 160) is second on the list with 18 catches for 264 yards and freshman Forrest Johnson (5-10, 135) has 16 grabs for 217 yards.

Up front the Trojans have Howard Harcha (6-4, 215) at center, Josh Nelson (5-9, 230) and Ray Caldwell (6-3, 235) the guards, Tler Staker (6-1, 300)

and Cody Farney (6-2, 270) the tackles and Matt Chandler (6-5, 185) is the tight end.

Defensively, Portsmouth uses a 3-4 front with Jarrod Craft (5-9, 195) the nose guard with Caldwell and Nate Cadogan (6-6, 235) the ends.

The linebacking corps is comprised of Wes Workman (5-10, 185), Southern, Chase Scott (6-0, 205) and Adam Tatum (5-10, 190).

The cornerbacks are Mike Bartlett (5-10, 165) and Walker and the safeties London Malone (5-8, 145) and John Harcha (-11, 175).

The game is not only a league game and a rivalry, its will be pivotal toward Ironton’s postseason playoff chances. Ironton (4-3, 2-2) is seventh this week in Region 15 of Division IV of the computer ratings.

“They’re all going down to the wire. But the kids have a good attitude. They’re working super hard. This has been our best week of practice,” Triplett said.