Fighting Tigers, Panthers may be facing elimination

Published 12:32 am Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Jim Walker

Game six could be an elimination game.
The Ironton Fighting Tigers and Chesapeake Panthers could be facing double elimination as they meet in an Ohio Valley Conference game on Friday.
Ironton (2-3, 1-1) and Chesapeake (3-2, 0-2) can’t afford a loss if they want to stay in the OVC title chase. Both teams also need a win to try and earn a spot in the postseason playoffs.
“All games are big games but this one is the biggest because this is the next game we’re playing,” said Ironton coach Mark Vass. “Chesapeake is in a similar position as we are, maybe even more because they already have two league losses.”
The game will match Ironton’s defense against the Panthers’ offense led by junior quarterback Austin Browning (6-foot, 175 pounds).
“They had a really good quarterback last year and you’re glad he’s gone, but their quarterback this year doesn’t make the job any easier. He’s bigger and stronger and he’s a good athlete with really good speed. He’s the key to their offense,” said Vass.
Losing speed burner Cecil Fletcher with an injury has put some limits on the Panthers’ offense that relies on a group of runners to fill the void.
The fullback is junior Tyler Eddy (5-8, 165) with the wingbacks senior Kelton Jones (5-8, 150) and sophomore Kamren Harless (6-0, 155). The receivers are tight end Zach Wright (6-4, 220) and wide receiver Evan Burcham (5-11, 165).
The Panthers have most of the offensive line returning. The center is junior Max Allen (5-10, 225), guards seniors Chad McComas (6-3, 230) and Austin Bridges (5-10, 195), and tackles seniors Brevin Webb (6-2, 270 and Josh Rose (5-11, 250).
“They have a lot of experience up front and we’re really young. That’s a concern for us,” said Vass.
The Panthers’ defense has some veterans up front with McComas and Wright the ends and Rose and newcomer sophomore Dakota Spence (6-1, 310) the tackles.
“Their defensive front is pretty good. It’s the heart of their defense,” said Vass.
Browning at free safety is the only other returning starter.
The inside linebackers are Eddy and senior Jordan Carter (5-7, 190), the outside linebackers sophomores Logan Walsh (5-7, 155) and Trey Wascavage (5-9, 150) while the corners are Burcham and senior Jake Stevens (5-11, 175).
Dalton Nida is solid as the placekicker and Cole Mills is the punter.
Kickoff is 7 p.m.

Email newsletter signup