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Roach, Otterbein right fit

When looking at a college to play football, the first thing Bruce Roach did was look at the school’s science lab.

It’s not that Roach thinks football is rocket science, but he wanted a school that would prepare him for a career in medicine since he wants to major in biochemistry.

With this in mind, the Ironton Fighting Tigers senior lineman signed a letter-of-intent to play football for the Otterbein College Cardinals.

Roach selected Otterbein over Wittenberg, Capital, West Virginia Tech and Morehead State.

“(Otterbein) had the academics. I’m going to school for the pre-med program,” said Roach.

Not only did Otterbein have a strong science department, but the school gave Roach a $19,000 academic scholarship.

“I feel it’s a good fit. They have the athletics, but they’re helping me pursue my goal in academics,” Roach said. “I’m excited about that.”

Roach was a three-year starter for the Fighting Tigers as a guard on offense and both linebacker and end on defense. He said Otterbein plans to use him at outside linebacker.

“Outside linebacker is like defensive end in high school,” said Roach. “It’ll take a lot of hard work and dedication, but those are the same things taught to me through the years.

“I love defensive end. It’s different than linebacker. It’s a nice change of scenery.”

Ironton coach Merril Triplett said Roach made a smooth transition from linebacker to defensive end midway through last season.

“He was a great defensive end. He got to the quarterback so fast. He pressured the quarterback better than anyone on the team,” Triplett said.

“A lot of schools loved how he could cover the flats, but the first thing (Bruce) did was check on the academics. He thought a lot of (Otterbein’s) science department.”

A Southeastern Ohio Athletic League honorable mention selection, Roach was also named to the Associated Press Division III All-Southeast District second team.

The Cardinals, an NCAA Division III school, were 4-6 last season under fourth-year head coach Joe Loth. The junior varsity was 6-3.

Bruce is the son of Vicki and Bruce Roach of Ironton.