Ironton looks to bounce back against Red Devils
There’s only one medicine that will help cure what ails the Ironton Fighting Tigers.
After a lopsided, mistake-filled loss in the season opener to Wheelersburg, Ironton is in need of a win to cure the ailments from the loss.
But getting that medicine will take more than a doctor’s prescription as the Fighting Tigers host the Russell Red Devils Friday.
“We just need to put last week behind us and use it as a learning experience,” said Ironton coach Mark Vass.
“Everything we talked about that we couldn’t do before the game, we did. We turned it over four times and had a bad snap on a punt. They started four drives in our territory in the first half.”
Ironton is not only replacing virtually its entire starting lineup this season, but the Fighting Tigers have only two seniors among the starters.
Conversely, Russell has nine juniors and seniors among its starters.
“There’s a big advantage to playing juniors and seniors against a bunch of sophomores and a couple of freshmen,” said Vass.
Russell (1-0) is coming off a 14-8 win over Greenup County as wingback Nick Conley went 1-yard late to erase an 8-6 deficit.
Conley — a 6-foot, 180-pound freshman — ran 15 times for 70 yards in his high school debut. Junior Bronson Korzep (5-11, 190) added 66 yards for the Red Devils.
The fullback is senior Ethan Thompson (5-8, 145).
The only other underclassman in the Russell lineup is sophomore quarterback Jacob McKee (5-10, 165).
The Red Devils’ offensive line features 6-foot-6, 315-pound senior tackle Nathan Perry on the right side with senior Chris Massie (6-4, 230) on the other side. The center is senior Jake Conley (5-11, 195) while the guards are juniors Logan Suman (6-1, 225) and Landon Arnold (5-9, 215).
The tight ends are senior Pavin Downs (6-0, 185) and junior Bobby May (5-10, 170).
“Conley is pretty good. Their fullback isn’t big, but he’s pretty quick to the hole,” said Vass.
“They like to line up and run right at you. They’ve been doing the same thing for more than 40 years and they do it well.”
Defensively, the Red Devils have some size up front anchored by 6-foot, 350-pound sophomore nose guard Sammy Smith. The tackles are seniors Joseph Jenkins (5-11, 260) and J.T. Howell (6-0, 205)
The ends are seniors Jacob Pennington (6-0, 175) and Joe Van Deren (5-11, 190). The linebackers are junior Landon Arnold (5-9, 215) and senior Austin Potter (5-10, 180).
In the secondary are Conley and May at safety with Korzep and senior Jackson McKnight (6-0, 180) the corners.
“They’re solid defensively. They know what we do so they know how to prepare for us. We’ve got our work cut out for us,” said Vass.
The Red Devils have an excellent placekicker in Patrick Soucy.