Jackson latest tough team on Ironton’s schedule
By JIM WALKER
Tribune Sports Editor
The Ironton Fighting Tigers’ football schedule is like watching a downpour. You keep asking the question, “Is it ever going to let up?”
After road games at Ashland, Gallipolis and Jonathan Alder, Ironton gets to come home but they must face the unbeaten Jackson Ironmen who have allowed just 55 points while posting three shutouts.
“We’ve played some tough teams and you can add Jackson to that list,” said Ironton coach Bob Lutz. “They’ve got a very big, aggressive line and some good athletes at the skill positions.”
The offense is a three-headed monster featuring tailback Drew Ervin, fullback Morgan Landrum and quarterback Austin Osborne.
Ervin (6-0, 225) has 91 carries for 571 yards and nine touchdowns. Landrum (5-11, 210) has 71 carries for 446 yards and six scores while Osborne – who played at Wellston last year — has 65 rushes for 442 yards and four scores.
Osborne (5-11, 201) is also 34 of 46 passing for 551 yards and 13 touchdowns with three interceptions. He has returned a punt 83 yards for a touchdown and a kickoff 95 yards for a score this season.
“Their quarterback has a good arm and he’s a good athlete. He’s a threat to run in any situation,” said Lutz.
On the receiving end of Osborne’s throws is usually Ty McNelly (5-10, 176) with 21 catches for 364 yards and nine touchdowns.
“(McNelly) might be their best athlete. He’s a good receiver and he’s tough to bring down in the open field,” said Lutz.
The tight end is Reagan Williams (6-2, 215) who can block or catch a pass well despite being just a freshman.
The center is Tyler Jeffers (6-0, 256), Andrew Carter (5-10, 305) and Nick Dye (6-0, 315) are the guards while Brandon Gilliland (6-2, 278) and Ethan Quinn (6-6, 276) are the tackles.
The defense is led by veteran linebackers Morgan Landrum (5-11, 210) and Jeffers along with Ervin at defensive end.
The other end is Jacob Betschel (6-3, 215), the tackles Dustin Gould (6-0, 250) and Josh Cutright (5-7,171), and the nose guard is split between Michael Howard (5-7,153) and O.J. Barr (5-9,175).
The secondary has McNelly and Steven Kearns (6-0, 162) at the corners with Nathan Parks (5-6,154) and Osborne at the safeties.
“Defensively they are a lot like they are on offense. They’re aggressive and they come at you hard,” said Lutz.
Also back is placekicker Luke Eisnaugle who is 36 of 36 on extra points.
Jackson won last year’s meeting 26-19 in triple overtime and returns several starters.
Pre-game will feature homecoming ceremonies at 7 p.m.