Fighting Tigers facing balanced Oaks’ offense
Ironton coach Mark Vass is looking for the Oak Hill Oaks’ Achilles heel. So far, he’s still looking.
Vass said his team will have to be prepared for all phases of the game as they host the balanced Oaks Friday on senior night at Tanks Memorial Stadium.
“They like to run the ball and they’ll keep running it until you stop it,” said Vass. “But they can throw the ball and they will slip the pass in their on you if you try to stack the line of scrimmage. They’re pretty balanced.”
Although it is a non-league game for the Oaks, the game has plenty of playoff implications for both teams.
Ironton (2-6) needs to win its final two games to make the postseason. The Oaks are sixth in Region 21 of Division VI and can enhance its position with a win.
After beating Portsmouth Notre Dame and Symmes Valley the past two weeks, the Oaks (7-1, 3-0) are in line to win their fourth league title in five years.
Leading the Oaks’ offense are running back Willy Harris (5-9, 155) and quarterback Garrin Stiltner (5-9, 185) who moved into the position due to a preseason ACL injury to projected starter Clayton Christensen.
Stiltner — a junior — last played quarterback in junior high.
“It’s not surprising to me he’s been a good quarterback. Just watching him you can tell he’s a good athlete,” said Vass.
Harris has carried 79 times for 457 yards and scored 4 touchdowns. Stiltner has 79 carries for 260 yards and seven touchdowns. He has also completed 53 of 117 passes for 841 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Chris Coy (5-8, 185) has 387 yards on 54 carries — a 7.2 yards per carry average — and he has scored a pair of touchdowns.
“Their backs are real big, but they all run hard,” said Vass.
The leading receiver is Jordon Fisher ((5-9, 150) with 17 receptions for 352 yards and seven TDs. Chase Burdine (5-9, 175) has 18 grabs for 209 yards and a pair of scores.
Tight end Cody Swan (5-11, 185)) has six catches for 104 yards and four touchdowns and Elijah Starr (6-0, 225) four receptions for 116 yards and a score.
Up front the Oaks have Nick Metzler (5-7, 230) at center, Kory Criner (5-8, 220) and Travis Boyd (5-9, 235) at the guards, and Griffen Jenkins (5-8, 280) and Brandon Adkins (5-9, 295) at the tackles.
Mason Waugh (5-8, 195) plays fullback.
The Oaks’ first team defense has allowed just five touchdowns in its wins this season.
Senior Justin Dickens (6-5, 195) was the SOC I Lineman of the Year last season and anchors the defense at defensive end and outside linebacker.
Waugh at inside linebacker and cornerback Jonathon Harrison (5-8, 130) were also all-conference.
“Their linebackers are good players and they have some pretty good athletes in the secondary,” said Vass. “Their defense is pretty active.”
The nose guard is Jenkins with Coy and Josh Williams (5-5, 145) the tackles. Zach Maynard (5-11, 190) joins Dickens at end.
Starr is the other linebacker. Fisher is the other corner with Stiltner and Harris the safeties.