RH running duo key versus Ironton

Published 2:45 am Thursday, October 15, 2015

Jim Walker



If you saw Ironton’s game last week, get ready for the instant replay.

The Ironton and Coal Grove game pitted two teams who ran the ball 90 percent of the time.

That won’t change this week as the Rock Hill Redmen visit the Fighting Tigers in a game for first place in the Ohio Valley Conference game.

The Redmen — who were idle last week — have a one-two running punch in Danny Long and Chance Blankenship.

Blankenship has 84 carries for 546 yards and Long 88 attempts for 543 yards.

Besides the two senior running backs, junior Brady Knipp has 44 rushes for 156 yards. Quarterback Mason Darby is 11-of-22 for 203 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

“They’re going to line up and run right at you just like Coal Grove,” said Ironton coach Mark Vass.

“They lost to Coal Grove but they had a couple of drives break down with penalties and missed assignments much like we did last week. Those two backs are strong and run hard. They’ll be tough a challenge for our defense.”

Up front the Redmen have Tim Boggs at center, Brian French and Matt Murphy at the guards, Cameron Barnette and Cameron Haas at the tackles and Heath Carpenter is the tight end who will be joined by Nate Malone is double tight formations.

The wideouts are Tim Adkins and Trystan Matney.

Rock Hill’s defense has been overshadowed by the offense.

Chesapeake routed Oak Hill 56-6 and the Redmen beat the Oaks 17-14 and then stunned Chesapeake 27-20 in overtime.

Tanner Delong is the nose guard, Haas and Murphy the tackles, and Carpenter and Blankenship the ends.

Long and Barnette are the linebackers, Matney and Adkins the corners with Knipp the free safety.

“They’re a pretty physical group overall,” said Vass of the Rock Hill defense. “They’re not real big, but they run to the football well.”

The game has two implications.

First of all, Ironton is 3-4 overall and leads the league at 3-0. Rock Hill is 4-2 and 2-1 in the OVC. The Redmen need a win to force a tie in the league title chase.

Secondly, Ironton must win out to reach the postseason playoffs. Rock Hill — currently fifth in Region 17 of Division V — should qualify for the postseason by winning two of its final three games.

Kickoff is 7 p.m.