Ironton faces athletic Gallia
He has seen it all before.
Forget the record. Forget the injuries. Just remember who it is.
Despite being 2-4 on the season and 0-3 in the SEOAL, Ironton coach Bob Lutz said the Fighting Tigers cannot take the Gallipolis Blue Devils lightly.
“They still have speed, they still spread you out and throw the ball, they still have a lot of good players, and defensively they still get after you,” said Lutz.
“They have had a tough schedule and they’ve had some injury problems. They lost to Logan but they didn’t have their quarterback and they should have beaten Chillicothe. They’re still a dangerous team.”
The Blue Devils have been hit hard by the injury bug starting before the season when 1,000-yard passer Jeff Golden, a starter since his freshman season, suffered a season-ending knee injury.
Two-way end Cole Jones (6-4, 210) was injured last week against Portsmouth and his status is uncertain. Linebacker Tyler Grimm did not play, either.
Ironton is not without its injuries.
Senior tackle Jeremy Moore, considered the team’s best lineman, was injured in game two and is doubtful to play the rest of the season. Several other players are playing despite nagging injuries.
Even without Golden, Gallipolis returns 10 starters from last season when they beat Ironton 14-7 at Tanks Stadium. It was the Blue Devils’ first win over Ironton since 1984 and the first at Tanks Stadium since 1965.
“When you haven’t beaten someone for a long time and then you do, you get some confidence and feel like you have a chance to win again,” said Lutz.
“On top of that, we have to go to their place and teams usually play better on their home field.”
Ironton returns only guard and linebacker Wes Runyon and defensive back Marc Carter as full-time starters. Carter also played some on offense.
Others who lettered and/or started on a few occasions were Bub Johnson, Tony Murphy, and Felipe Beach.
Ironton comes into the game 4-2 and tied for first place in the Southeastern Ohio Athletic League at 3-0.
“We’re starting to get better, but we still have a long way to go and we’ve got four tough games ahead. We’re getting into the thick of our league schedule,” said Lutz.