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Dragons will go airborne against Fighting Tigers

Jim Walker



It looks like fans will be looking upward again.

For the second straight week the Ironton Fighting Tigers will host a team that looks to fill the air with footballs.

After playing Portsmouth and quarterback Cole Lowery last week, Ironton’s defense will have to brace itself this Friday for the Fairland Dragons’ and freshman quarterback Joel Lambiotte.

Lowery liked to throw to Austin Hollins while Lambiotte has a favorite target in sophomore Keedrick Cunningham, son of head coach and former Marshall star defensive back Melvin Cunningham.

“Lambiotte is a young kid, but he has shown a lot of poise. He sees the field well, he can move well in and out of the pocket, and he has a nice arm,” said Ironton coach Mark Vass.

“The Cunningham kid is young, but he’s their best athlete. They’re a couple of young kids but they’re a nice tandem.”

The Dragons are 0-5 coming into the game and 0-2 in the Ohio Valley Conference. Ironton (1-4) got its first win last week as well as its first OVC victory in its first-ever league game.

Vass said the Dragons have some youth and inexperience, but with five games under their belt they are starting to show a lot of improvement.

“They’re a young team and they have some ability, but they’ve hurt themselves with turnovers,” said Vass.

“Part of the reason for the turnovers is their inexperience, but part of it is their schedule. They’ve played some pretty good team.”

Fairland’s opponents this season have a combined 18-6 record including losses to unbeaten Johnson Central and Wheelersburg. Ironton opponents have a combined record of 20-5.

Joining Lambiotte (6-0, 185) in the backfield is fullback Sydney Tucker (5-8, 240) and slotback Collin Damron (5-11, 185).

Cunningham (5-10, 169) heads the receiving corps that includes Trey Nester (5-9, 165) and tight end Hayden Nester (5-9, 190).

The offensive line has junior Jonah Galloway (5-11, 205) at center, sophomores Mason Cox (5-8, 230) and Hunter Morrison (6-1, 250) are the guards, and junior Jacob McComas (5-10, 300) and sophomore Chase Fisher (5-10, 250) are the tackles.

“They give you a lot of different formations and they have a couple of good running backs. They mix it up and make it hard for you to prepare,” said Vass.

Defensively the Dragons are led by the linebacking corps of junior Drake Cox (6-6, 200) and Tucker inside and Galloway and Trey Nester on the outside.

“Their linebackers are aggressive and like to hit,” said Vass.

Up front the Dragons had Morrison at left end with junior Jordan Michael (6-1, 180) and Hayden Nester sharing the job on the right side.

Four players rotate at the tackle spots with senior Jonathan Wright (6-0, 220) and McComas on the right side and Mason Cox and junior Michael Tubbs (5-11, 275) on the left side.

Staten and Cunningham are the corners with senior Austin Christian (5-7, 160) the safety.

Damron handles the kicking duties.



Kickoff is 7 p.m.