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Fighting Tigers to face another tough opponent in St. Charles

Ironton Fighting Tigers’ quarterback Tristan Cox (8) sheds a tackler as he gains yardage in a recent win over Portsmouth. Ironton hosts Columbus St. Charles on Friday. (Photo Courtesy of Tim Gearhart of Tim’s News & Novelties in Ironton)

Ironton Fighting Tigers’ quarterback Tristan Cox (8) sheds a tackler as he gains yardage in a recent win over Portsmouth. Ironton hosts Columbus St. Charles on Friday. (Photo Courtesy of Tim Gearhart of Tim’s News & Novelties in Ironton)

Jim Walker

jim.walker@irontontribune.com

 

When looking at the Columbus St. Charles Cardinals, Ironton head coach Mark Vass just skims over their record.

The Cardinals are 2-4 — a win over the Columbus Crusaders does not count in the OHSAA computer ratings — but Vass said those numbers don’t tell the whole story.

“They’ve played a really tough schedule,” said Vass. “Except for the DeSales game, they’ve played pretty well even in the games they’ve lost.”

St. Charles’ opponents have a combined 25-11 record including 6-0 Dublin Coffman and Columbus Eastmoor, 5-1 DeSales and 4-2 Bishop Hartley.

In the 24-21 loss to Hartley, the game was tied after the first quarter but the Cardinals lost two fumbles and ran only four plays in the second quarter.

St. Charles won last year’s meeting 38-14 with the aid of a couple of fourth quarter scores and went on to post wins over Columbus Watterson and St. Francis DeSales for the first time in more than 30 years.

The Cardinals finished 8-3 and advanced to the Division II regional semifinals before losing to unbeaten Zanesville.

The Cardinals lost 25 seniors from last season but Vass said St. Charles is still a good team.

“They’ve still got plenty of good players back. They’re a Division II school,” said Vass.

The top offensive weapons are wide receiver and slot back NiQuille Bell (5-9, 165), running back Jacob Nowell (5-8, 185) and quarterback Jacob Moehrman (6-1, 235).

All three are seniors and returning starters.

“Bell has good speed and he can run. He hurt us last year,” said Vass. “Their quarterback can run or throw and he’s a big kid. Nowell is a hard runner. You can’t just arm tackle him. They’ve got a lot of good skilled players besides them, too.”

In the 34-27 overtime win over Big Walnut, Moehrman was 15 of 16 for 218 yards and a touchdown and ran 15 times for 81 yards and three scores.

The offensive line is anchored by senior center Kit MacDonald (5-9, 215).

The guards are senior Cole Delaney (5-10, 190) and sophomore Will Schiermann (6-0, 225) with senior Patrick Gray (5-10, 225) and junior Chris Silber (6-2, 235) the tackles.

Senior Jack Bilmann (6-1, 180) is the tight end and the wide receivers are junior Otis Smith (5-8, 175) on one side while senior Matt Martin (5-11, 155) and Ian Lennon (6-1, 160) sharing the job on the other side.

Defensively the Cardinals will used sophomore Grant Griffith (6-1, 200) at nose guard, juniors Taylor Hill (6-0, 225) and Patrick McPherson (6-1, 320) at the tackles and seniors Eddie Glace (5-10, 175) and Bilmann at the ends.

The linebackers are Delaney and sophomore Kevin Leary (6-2, 165) with Nowell a possible candidate in a 5-3 alignment.

The secondary is led by senior Jimmy Holtz (5-8, 145) who is the son of Ironton St. Joseph graduate Billy Holtz.

Joining Holtz at safety is sophomore Davionn Johnson (5-10, 155) with junior Willie Wiseman (5-8, 155) and Smith at the corners.

Junior Will Groeber (5-10, 165) handles all the kicking duties.