Time Warner to feature Ironton-Portsmouth rivalry

Published 11:44 pm Saturday, July 2, 2011


Tribune Sports Editor

It’s one of the biggest rivalries in the state of Ohio and now it is going state-wide.

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DHProductions was in Ironton and Portsmouth on Wednesday to film segments for a Time Warner Cable high school football show entitled, “Rivalries.”

The half-hour show will be aired by Time Warner on Demand this fall. The exact days and times have not been released, but they will also be featured during halftime of select high school games to be televised statewide by Time Warner.

The production company has three different groups working on rivalries throughout Ohio. The Ironton-Portsmouth rivalry is part of the southern group that includes Piqua-Troy and the Blanchester vs. Clinton-Massie series.

Each rivalry will be a seven-minute segment and include footage from each school’s stadium as well as interviews with head coaches and other individuals associated with the rivalries.

Ironton coach Bob Lutz described the rivalry as very competitive but noted the teams have great respect for each other.

“We know each other better than other teams, but it’s not like the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry,” said Lutz.

“On any given year both teams are capable of making a run at the state. What makes a rivalry is either team can win. (The rivalry) goes into other sports.”

The rivalry between Ironton and Portsmouth is the second-longest series in the state of Ohio behind Piqua and Troy. While the series is second, the two teams have met more times than any two teams in state history because they often played twice in the same season.

The rivalry grew out of the battles between the Ironton Tanks and Portsmouth Spartans semi-pro teams. Portsmouth won the first game in the series 15-5. In 1903 Ironton won 10-0 and the teams later tied 5-5.

Ironton has won the last three meetings including 45-25 last year to even the series at 54-54-8.

Fighting Tigers’ head coach Bob Lutz won his 200th career game at Portsmouth in 1990 with a 20-12 victory and he picked up his 200th career win at Ironton with a 20-14 overtime win in 1992.

Lutz — Ohio’s all-time high school football career leader with 374 victories — tied the all-time record with a 50-28 win at home in 2009. He is 30-10 overall in his coaching career against Portsmouth.

Trojans’ coach Curt Clifford got his 100th career win as Portsmouth topped Ironton 35-20 in the playoffs at Ohio University in 2002.