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Ironton defense must stop Russell power game

You know what’s coming, but they run it anyway and challenge you to stop it.

It sounds like Ironton’s T-formation offense and power running game, but the Fighting Tigers meet their counterparts in offensive philosophy as they travel to play the Russell Red Devils Friday.

Russell (1-1) runs a trapping Wing-T offense and has for the past 35 years under veteran head coach Ivan McGlone who is just 10 wins shy of 300 for his career.

The Red Devils lost leading rusher and all-area running back Travis Jones, but they will use several different backs to make up for his loss.

One key returning player who gives the Red Devils’ a two-way threat as a runner and passer is 6-foot-3, 170-pound senior quarterback Patrick Cooper. Behind him in the backfield are juniors Paul Spradlin (5-8, 185) and Zach Thompson (5-8, 140).

“Their quarterback runs the ball really well,” said Ironton coach Bob Lutz. “The other two backs aren’t that big, but they run hard and they have some speed. With all that pulling and trapping, it’s hard to find them behind those linemen.”

Size is an asset for the Red Devils up front such as veteran Zach Bailey (6-4, 240) at right tackle. Also back is senior Joel Korzep (5-10, 185) who can play on the line or in the backfield.

The other tackle is senior Trenton Fyffe (6-0, 280) with junior Jace Kibby (5-11, 230) at left guard and sophomore Preston Herring (6-4, 240) at center. The right guard is junior Cody Minnehan (5-10, 165).

Big Justin Davidson (6-5, 240) is the tight end with Luke Bailey (6-3, 195) and Josh Hurn (6-0, 160) adding additional blocking.

The wingback is junior Logan Dehoff (6-1,190).

“They’ve got pretty good size across the board,” said Lutz.

On the defensive side, Russell will play a 5-2 and 5-3 alignment to try and shut down the Ironton running game.

Davidson and Spradlin are the linebackers who lead an attacking defense.

“They’re very aggressive. They like to come after you and make it tough to block them,” said Lutz.

Korzep is the nose guard with Herring and junior T.J. Pickett (6-0, 215) the tackles. Dehoff and Bailey are the ends.

In the secondary are Troy Huffine (5-8, 160) and Jon Kennedy (5-10, 175) the corners with Thompson and Miles Mussetter (6-0, 160) the safeties.

Cooper — who had five interceptions last year — can also play in the secondary.