Ironton must contain Bulldogs’ team speed
These Bulldogs run more like greyhounds.
Speed is the operative word when Ironton coach Bob Lutz studies the Heath Bulldogs, the Fighting Tigers’ opponent in Saturday’s Division IV Region 15 semifinal game at Nelsonville-York Dave Boston Stadium.
“They’ve got a lot of players who can run. They remind me a lot of Wheelersburg. They aren’t real big, but they have a lot of speed and quickness,” said Lutz.
The swiftest of the pack is senior running back Charles Gresham who played wide receiver last season but has made the transition to running back this year as though he was born to play the position.
The 5-foot-10, 167-pound senior speedster has rushed 190 times for 1,875 yards and 30 touchdowns — both single-season school records. He had 146 yards and five touchdowns last week in a 48-9 playoff win over Zane Trace.
The amazing thing about Gresham’s numbers is the fact he threw up the lofty numbers despite missing the last two games of the regular season with a sprained ankle.
Gresham is the Bulldogs’ most productive player, but he’s not the only weapon.
Fullback Nelson Scott has carried 128 times for 1,167 yards including 130 yards on 12 attempts against Zane Trace.
Quarterback Cole Benner is 50 of 93 passing for 782 yards and nine touchdowns. He has four interceptions.
“Their tailback (Gresham) and quarterback (Benner) can both run. This is as much speed as we’ve seen all season,” said Lutz.
Tim Patterson and Zach Wolfe have been the team’s leading receivers. Patterson has 12 catches for 197 yards and four scores while Wolfe has 16 receptions for 188 yards and a touchdown.
Heath (9-2) is relatively undersized up front on the defensive side, but the offensive line has tackled Dylan Wethey at 6-2, 270, center Zach Satterfield at 6-0, 267, right guard Zack Campbell at 5-10, 222 and right tackle Travis Dunn at 6-4, 209.
Tight end Tim Patterson is 5-10, 178 and left guard Devin Boucher 5-10, 198.
“They’re on that big, but the get on you quick and wall you off,” said Lutz.
Drumm leads the defense as an outside linebacker where he has been all-district the past two seasons. Defensive lineman Aaron Wolfe has double-digit sacks.
Drumm and Scott at safety are the only players who got both ways.
Mason Robinson (5-9, 170) is the nose guard with Nate Hunt (5-10, 170) and Aaron Wolfe (6-0, 184) the ends in the 3-4 alignment.
Derek Yahn (5-11, 161) is the middle linebacker with Blake Libby (6-2, 189) and Chris Beck (6-0, 210) on the outside along with Drumm.
Justyn Eckard (5-10, 135) and Jordan Crabill (5-5,135) are the corner while Kyle Willey (5-7, 140) is the other safety along with Scott.
“They’re not big, but they have good quickness and speed and really fly to the ball. This is one of the quickest defenses we’ve seen,” said Lutz.
Ironton Fighting Tigers
Ironton 24 Wheelersburg 8
Ironton 45 Russell, Ky. 0
Ironton 39 Gallipolis 6
Ironton 12 Ashland, Ky. 26
Ironton 7 Logan 21
Ironton 56 Chillicothe 17
Ironton 28 Jackson 7
Ironton 50 Portsmouth 28
Ironton 32 Nelsonville-York 12
Ironton 41 Warren 12
Division IV Playoffs
Ironton 36 Sparta Highland 0
Points Scored: 370
Points allowed: 137
Coach: Bob Lutz
Heath 41 Madison 14
Heath 50 Johnstown 20
Heath 41 Utica 27
Heath 19 Licking Valley 21
Heath 28 Newark Catholic 27
Heath 68 Whitehall 0
Heath 47 Col. Academy 27
Heath 7 Granville 34
Heath 39 Bexley 6
Heath 62 Lakewood 6
Division IV Playoffs
Heath 48 Zane Trace 9
Points Scored: 450
Points allowed: 191
Coach: Mark Collier