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Ironton looks to rebound against explosive Gallipolis

Ironton Fighting Tigers’ defensive lineman Trent Klaiber (64) uses one hand to stop Coal Grove Hornets’ running back Kyle Sites during last week’s Ohio Valley Conference game. (Photo Courtesy of Howie McCormick)

Jim Walker

They may have to make sure all the bulbs are burning in the Gallipolis scoreboard.
Offense could be in abundance on Friday as the Ironton Fighting Tigers visit the Gallipolis Blue Devils in an Ohio Valley Conference game.
The Blue Devils are averaging 23 points a game including 35.2 per OVC contest. Ironton averages 23.4 points a game and 30 points in each OVC game.
“They have a very explosive offense,” Ironton coach Mark Vass said of Gallipolis. “Their quarterback is one of the best we’ve seen all season and he can run or throw. He threw for over 400 yards last week.”
Gallipolis (3-5, 2-3) lost at Rock Hill 56-54 last week. The Blue Devils had 620 total yards with junior quarterback Justin McClelland (6-1, 195) running for 88 yards on 13 carries and he was 24-of-38 passing for 472 yards and five touchdowns.
Ironton (4-4, 3-2) needs a win to keep its flickering playoff hopes alive. The Fighting Tigers are 10th in the Division V Region 19 playoff ratings this week.
“We have an outside shot at the playoffs, but this game is more about pride,” said Vass whose team has been racked by injuries all season.
“We’ll have to play well defensively and on offense we need to move the ball and cash in on all our scoring chances.”
McClelland has plenty of targets at his disposal that include junior Cory Call (6-1, 160), seniors Garrett Burns (5-10, 160) and John Stout (6-1, 185), junior tight end Caleb Henry (6-0, 195) and speedy freshman James Armstrong (5-10, 160).
“They have a lot of players who can catch the ball,” said Vass.
Up front the Blue Devils has junior Colton Russell (5-11, 265), sophomore Mason Angel (6-1, 250) and senior Nathan Mitchell (6-0, 225) at the guards with freshman Riley Starnes (6-4, 285) and senior Jonas McCreedy (6-0, 240) the tackles.
Senior Boo Pullins (5-11, 175) is the running back.
Jacob Campbell (6-0, 195) has missed the past two games with an injury. He has been the team’s leading rusher and best defensive player at linebacker.
The Blue Devils have struggled on defense this season, especially after the loss of Campbell.
Leading the defense are inside linebacker Matt Moreaux (5-11, 185) and Pullins at outside linebacker.
The tackles are Mietchell and junior Trentin Waller (5-11, 165) with Starnes and McCreedy the ends.
The other inside linebacker is sophomore Cade Roberts (5-11, 200 and on the outside is junior Carter Campbell (6-1, 195).
The secondary has Burns and senior Tanner Allen (5-10, 145) the corners with Stout the free safety.
Kickoff is 7 p.m.