State semifinal sites announced

Published 3:17 am Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Generally, when a team wins its regional championship the next questions are: who do we play and where?

The “who” will be decided Saturday night for Division IV teams, but the “where” is no secret.

For the first time, the Ohio High School Athletic Association has announced the state semifinal sites in advance.

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The Ironton-Coshocton winner will play the winner of the Kettering Alter and Clarksville Clinton-Massie game. An Ironton win puts the game at Jackson while a Coshocton win will send the game to Columbus Hamilton Township.

Jackson athletic director Bob Kight received a letter from the OHSAA on Monday outlining the state’s plans.

Ironton (10-2) plays Coshocton (10-2) in the Region 15 championship game at 7 p.m. Saturday at Nelsonville-York High School, the site of the Fighting Tigers 20-14 overtime win over Heath last week.

With Coshocton’s upset of top-seeded Amanda-Clearcreek, the Redskins take over as the top seed’s spot and will be the home team while Ironton is the visitor.

Defense Steps Up

Ironton’s defense was faced with one of the fastest teams all season last week against Heath and played well.

Heath did manage 348 total yards with 262 coming on the ground and 86 through the air. But the Bulldogs had only three solid drives in their nine possessions. Five drives were only three plays each.

Junior defensive tackle Brad Spoljaric led Ironton with nine tackles. Junior linebacker Brian Warner had eight stops and senior defensive end Jon Monnig had six tackles including two for losses.

Sophomore nose guard Tyler Hager had a fumble recovery and senior defensive back Ryan Sias had his second interception of the season, this one ending Heath’s possession in overtime.

Heath standout running back Charles Gresham was averaging 200 yards a game but finished with 123 on 21 carries. He had just four carries that went double figures with his longest being 33 yards for a touchdown.

Gresham — who played wide receiver last year — made a circus catch along the sidelines of a pass covering 34 yards late in regulation. There was some question whether he was in bounds or out.

The play set up a 27-yard field goal attempt by Nelson Scott that missed badly to the left.