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Volunteers help with preseason work

In the world of sports forecasting, it looks like there’s a storm of high school football approaching and the early indicators say it will be here for three or four months.

At Ironton, the first indicator is preseason conditioning. The second indicator is when coach Bob Lutz passes out paint brushes to a loyal group of Tiger Clan members to paint the stadium locker room.

Regulars Rusty White and Joe Holtzapfel were among the quartet this year. Joining them were Roy Evans and newcomer Charlie Webb.

White has been part of the Tiger Clan for more than 25 years

“We’re just here to do whatever we can. Whatever coach Lutz asks, we’re ready to help out,” said White.

The group began painting the walls and lockers on Wednesday and started painting the floor on Saturday.

“If Bob needs something he asks and we do it. Bob has earned a lot of respect from us. He didn’t ask for respect, he earned it,” said Holtzapfel

“Last year we helped him mark the game field. I never thought he’d let us do that. Even I wasn’t sure he could trust us doing that.”

Evans has been watching Ironton football for 35 years, usually attending every practice along the fence on the Ohio University Southern parking lot. White and Holtzapfel are regulars as well.

“I had a brother who played for Bob Bruney and I’ve just been hooked on it ever since,” said Evans. “They asked for some help last year so I showed up and they got me back here this year. I don’t mind.”

White was glad to have Webb’s help, especially when it came time to move the soda machine.

“We tried to move it and it wouldn’t budge. Biggon came over and threw it around like a wet towel,” said White.

The 6-foot-5 Webb just shrugged.

“I love doing this. I love football season,” said Webb who has three sons. “I’ll take my vacation just to go watch them play ball. I can’t think of a better way to spend my vacation time.”

The next painting project is the goalposts on the game and practice field. Fortunately, the Tiger Clan members use a bucket truck instead of ladders.

“Steve (Elswick) takes care of that for us. We get up in the bucket truck and it doesn’t take any time.”

White said he will be doing most of the painting at the top of the goalposts this year.

“Yeah, I guess I won the lottery,” said White in a sarcastic tone.

Although White and Holtzapfel seem to be part of more than paint just crews offering assistance, don’t get the idea this is an exclusive group.

“We can use all the help we can get. We’d love to have more guys get involved,” said Holtzapfel.

“We love to talk sports. We just have fun.”