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Ironton at Coal Grove features running games

Jim Walker

jim.walker@irontontribune.com

 

Football was invented as a running game. The Ironton Fighting Tigers and Coal Grove Hornets are proof.

Both teams will bring run-oriented offenses into Friday’s Ohio Valley Conference showdown at Coal Grove’s Lemaster Stadium.

Coal Grove (3-3, 2-0) starters have rushed 296 times this season for 1,763 yards and a 5.9 average yards per carry. The Ironton (2-4, 2-0) starting backfield had 1,300 yards on 246 carries for a 5.3 yards per carry.

“Their backs run hard,” said Ironton coach Mark Vass. “They give you different formations and even run some T-formation like us. Our offenses are very similar in a lot of ways.”

The Hornets have two runners with more than 500 yards led by Tanner Henry with 596 yards on 109 carries and six touchdowns. Close behind is Jacob Clark with 508 yards on 53 attempts and six touchdowns.

Quarterback Daniel “Rudy” Rutherford has carried 65 times for 361 yards and fullback Kimo Baldwin has 298 yards on 69 attempts.

Rutherford is 16-of-32 passing for 239 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Injuries have forced Ironton to shuffle starters in and out.

Desmond Young has 506 yards on 77 attempts and nine touchdowns to lead Ironton.

Andrew Barker has rushed 58 times for 220 yards and quarterback Jake Isaac has 150 yards on 44 tries with a touchdown.

Garrett Carrico has 235 yards on 25 carries in two games while injured D’Angelo Palladino has 189 yards on 42 carries.

Palladino has not played in three games and only sparingly in two others.

Isaac is 23-of-56 passing for 298 yards with two touchdowns and five picks.

A big reason for Coal Grove’s ability to run the ball has been an offensive line comprised of virtually all-new starters that does not include a senior.

The center is sophomore Trey Hicks (6-0, 260), sophomore Darin Bloomfield is the left guard (5-10, 220) and the right guard junior James Baker (6-0, 250). The left tackle is junior Brad Roach (6-0, 240) while junior Chase Johnson (6-3, 225) and sophomore Josh Waulk (5-11, 350) sharing the right tackle job.

The ends are sophomores Jeb Jones (6-2, 200) and Sam Angelo (6-3, 195). Also getting playing time is junior Chase McKnight (5-11, 155).

Also playing in the backfield are seniors Tanner Dolan (6-2, 195) and Ranze Large (5-9, 145).

On the defensive side, the Hornets are led by linebackers Baldwin, Dolan and freshman Isaac Howard (6-0, 185).

Up front are ends Henry and freshman Damien Wilson (6-3, 245), Waulk at nose guard and junior Nathan Harrison (5-11, 175) and Johnson at the tackles.

Clark and McKnight are the corners and Rutherford the safety.