This shouldn’t take too long.
The Ironton Fighting Tigers like to run the football and they run it well. The Nelsonville-York Buckeyes like to run the football and they run it well. With all that running and little passing, look for a game that shouldn’t take that long to play.
And look for a game that should have a lot of good old fashion hitting.
“They’re a tough ball club,” said Ironton coach Bob Lutz. “They’re a lot like us. They line up and come right at you and they’ve got a heck of a back. He’s probably the best back we’ll see all year.”
Lutz was referring to the Buckeyes’ 5-foot-9, 200-pound senior tailback Derek Arnold. In last week’s 14-13 win over previously unbeaten Athens, Arnold ran for 102 yards and scored two touchdowns as he logged 31 carries.
N-Y’s win over Athens virtually secured the Buckeyes a spot in the Division V playoffs and eliminated Athens from the Division III postseason. Nelsonville-York (7-1) and Ironton (6-2) need a win to lock up a first-round home game in the playoffs.
Ironton won last year’s meeting 43-28 although Arnold ran 29 times for 165 yards, caught five passes for 33 yards and returned a kickoff 68 yards to set up the second N-Y score.
“He’s strong, fast and durable. You don’t bring him down with arm tackles. We’ll have to gang tackle. If he gets in the open field, he’s capable of big plays,” said Lutz.
Arnold has a solid running mate and blocker in fullback Justin Cunningham (6-0, 195) who is also a returning starter.
“He’s better than he was last season,” said Lutz.
The quarterback is strong-armed Nathan Dean (5-9, 170) and his favorite target is end Jared Dexter (6-3, 180). The other ends are Jay Stump (5-8, 140) and Daniel Kline (6-4,180) while Isaiah Andrews (5-9,170) is the slot back.
Up front the Buckeyes had two returning starters in center Todd Dennis (5-11, 175) and left guard Nick Hunter (5-9, 220). The rest of the offensive line has Logan Milliron (5-10,225) at guard and Kyle Moore (6-3, 190) and Isaiah Mello (6-1,190) at the tackles.
“They don’t’ have great size, but they’re quick off the ball and get into their blocks. They’re a lot better than they were at the beginning of the season,” said Lutz.
On the defensive side, Lutz said the Buckeyes “are very athletic across the board.”
The nose guard is Dennis with a strong linebacking corps of Bobby Leitwein (5-7, 150), Cunningham and Andrews.
“They can all run and they’re all athletic,” said Lutz.
Left tackle is shared by Milliron and Arnold and the right tackle job is split between Hunter and Jacob Coon (5-9, 215). The ends are Dexter and Mello.
Zach Hook (6-0, 165) and Albert Fox (5-7, 145) are the corners with Mychal Mitchell (6-1, 170) the safety.
An Ironton win will not only give them a home game in the playoffs, but will give Lutz his 361st career win and place him first on the Ohio high school football all-time victory list.
Lutz currently shares first place with Terry Malone.
Nelsonville-York 7 at Trimble 6
Nelsonville-York 21 Piketon 7
Nelsonville-York 21 Berne Union 20
Nelsonville-York 35 Wellston 6
Nelsonville-York 28 at Meigs 20
Nelsonville-York 49 Belpre 6
Nelsonville-York 0 at Alexander 21
Nelsonville-York 14 at Athens 13
Nelsonville-York xx at Ironton xx
Nelsonville-York xx Vinton Co. xx
Coach: Dave Boston Jr.
Ironton 24 Wheelersburg 8
Ironton 45 Russell, Ky. 0
Ironton 39 at Gallipolis 6
Ironton 12 at Ashland,Ky. 26
Ironton 7 Logan 21
Ironton 56 Chillicothe 17
Ironton 28 at Jackson 7
Ironton 50 Portsmouth 0
Ironton xx Nelsonville-York xx
Ironton xx at Warren xx
Coach: Bob Lutz