Fighting Tigers prepare for improved Dragons

Published 2:41 am Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Jim Walker


Ironton Fighting Tigers’ coach Mark Vass knows the record, but he just skims past it.

The Fairland Dragons were 0-10 last year and are 0-2 on this season but they have played well, losing 26-20 to Portsmouth West thanks to a blocked punt by the Senators and a 38-7 loss to Wheelersburg last week despite trailing just 21-7 at the half and 28-7 after three quarters.

“They’re better. They have two really nice players who can make big plays on offense and they have some good players around them,” said Vass whose team is also 0-2 on the season including a 49-6 loss at Wheelersburg,

The “nice players” Vass was mentioning are junior running back Keedrick Cunningham (6-1, 185) and sophomore quarterback Joel Lambiotte (6-2, 160).

“The quarterback has a nice arm. He can throw the deep ball well and he does a nice job in their offense. But if he needs to run, he is a good athlete and he can do some nice things,” said Vass.

“The Cunningham kid is just a good athlete. He can run, he has speed and he can catch the ball.”

The fullback is junior Chase Fisher (5-10, 230) who can run but Vass said “he blocks well.”

Now a two-year starter, Lambiotte is better finding his receivers and he has an array of players to pinpoint. The group includes freshman Reilly Sowards (6-2, 150), senior Seth Clay (6-0, 190), and sophomores Matt Mondlack (6-3, 1550 and Zeke Ramey (5-10, 150).

Up front the Dragons will have senior Jonah Galloway (6-1, 210) at center, juniors Jacob Sheppard (6-1, 185) and Mason Cox (5-10, 220) at the guards and senior Jacob McComas (5-10, 275) and sophomore Jacob Rankin (5-10, 250) at the tackles.

Defensively the Dragons have shown improvement as well.

“They’re aggressive and they move to the ball well. They have some length and athleticism,” said Vass. “They secondary is athletic and play the ball well.”

The tackles are senior Michael Tubbs (6-1, 275) on one side with McComas and Rankin sharing the other side. Galloway is one end while lanky senior Drake Cox (6-6, 190) is the other end.

One outside linebacker is Fisher who is the leader of the defense along with Galloway. The other outside linebacker is senior Jordan Michael (6-2, 180) and the middle linebacker is junior Nathan Lemon (5-9 180).

The secondary has Cunningham and Mondlak at the corners while Lambiotte and Clay are the safeties.

Lambiotte is the punter and Galloway handles the placements.

Friday’s kickoff is 7 p.m.