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Ironton looking to keep win streak going against Russell

Ironton Fighting Tigers’ quarterback Gage Salyers (7) shoves Wheelersburg’s Tanner Wilson (32) out of his path as he runs for yardage during last Friday’s game. Ironton visits Russell, Ky., on Friday. (Photo Courtesy of Tim Gearhart)

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

Things got back to normal last season for Ironton in their series with Russell and the Fighting Tigers see no reason for it to change this year.
Ironton leads the series 27-5-1. The Red Devils snapped a 17-game losing streak with back-to-back wins in 2015 (18-14) and 2016 (13-6) before Ironton got back on the winning track with a 35-7 romp last season.
Ironton finished 4-6 last year after a flood of injuries toward the end of the season. The Fighting Tigers have plenty of talent, experience and depth to try and add to their lead in the series.
Russell is coming off a 5-6 season, the first losing season with the Red Devils for fifth-year head coach T.J. Maynard who is in charge of the program where he once played.
In the season opener last Saturday, Russell lost at heavily-favored Greenup County 41-21.
Russell took a 7-0 lead and then had a drive stall at the 3-yard line. The Musketeers came back to tie the game and took a 14-7 lead just before halftime.
Leading 21-14, Greenup faked a punt and ran 56 yards for a touchdown. With the score 34-21, Russell was forced to gamble and Greenup broke free on a 66-yard touchdown run to set the final score.
The Red Devils do not have great size but rely on speed and quickness at all positions. There isn’t much depth as most players go both ways.
While Russell has some experience, there are only five seniors starting on offense and three on defense.
Offensively, the Red Devils will go with junior Blake Stump (6-2, 258) at center, junior Will Gunning (6-2, 260) and senior Jackson Doak (5-9, 239) at the guards, and sophomore Landon Taylor (6-0, 180) and senior Casey Clark (6-1, 198) at the tackles.
The smaller front wall gives the Red Devils more quickness for pulling and trapping in their offensive scheme.
The quarterback is sophomore Charlie Jackimczuk (5-9, 147) and his receiving corps is comprised of junior Josh Griffith (5-11, 175), seniors Reed Galloway (6-0, 155) and Jacob Thompson (5-6, 145) and junior tight end Ethan Sanders (6-3, 200).
The top running backs are sophomore Nathan Conley (5-8, 160), junior Malakai Anderson (6-1, 209), senior Landen Duvall (5-7, 175) and sophomore Ethan Sharp (5-7, 155).
The Red Devils utilize the 3-4 defensive alignment but will adjust to their opponents.
Up front is junior Felix Reyes (6-4, 300) at nose tackle and flanked at the ends by Clark and senior John Giles (5-11, 261).
The inside linebackers are Conley and Sanders with Anderson and Griffith on the outside.
The secondary has Sharp and senior John Miller (6-1, 170) at the corners while Thompson and Jackimczuk are the safeties.
The placekicker is junior Gabe Floyd (6-0, 197).