Ironton looking to restore the roar, Tigers loaded with 15 starters back

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Ironton Tigers

After and uncharacteristic .500 season in his first season back as head
coach at Ironton, Ohio’s all-time active leader in coaching wins Bob
Lutz should see a return to form in 2008. With 15 returning starters
the entire starting offensive backfield, the orange and black should be
a top contender in not only the Southeastern Ohio Athletic League, but
also in Division IV, Region 15.


PLAYERS TO WATCH

QB Jon Schweickart (6-2, 200, SR), FB/NG Tony Murphy (5-10, 275, SR), HB/DB Major Brice (5-9, 185, SR), HB/DB Chance Freeman (6-0, 180, SR), C/DT Geoff White (6-2, 265, SR), E/DE Jon Monning (6-0, 160, JR), E/DE Casey Jones (6-3, 205, JR), OT/DT Sam Cramblitt (6-0, 280, JR), FB/LB Keith Wetzel (5-9, 195, JR), OG/LB Howie Lucas (6-1, 210, JR), LB Erin Edens (6-1, 190, JR)

SEASON OUTLOOK

2007 Record: 5-5

After and uncharacteristic .500 season in his first season back as head coach at Ironton, Ohio’s all-time active leader in coaching wins Bob Lutz should see a return to form in 2008. With 15 returning starters the entire starting offensive backfield, the orange and black should be a top contender in not only the Southeastern Ohio Athletic League, but also in Division IV, Region 15.

Leading the Fighting Tigers will be senior quarterback Jon Schweickart (6-2, 200). Last season, Schweickart passed for over 1000 yards and was named to the All-SEOAL team as a junior. Schweickart was selected to take part in the Top Gun Quarterback Challenge at Dublin Scioto High School in July.

Despite Schweickart’s strong arm, Ironton will still be a power football team out of their power-T offense. Senior Tony Murphy (5-10, 275) and junior Keith Wetzl (5-9, 195) will share the fullbacking duties for a second straight season. Murphy led the Tigers with over 650 yards rushing and 14 touchdowns last fall. Seniors Major Brice (5-9, 185) and Chance Freeman (6-0, 180) are also returning starters at halfback where Freeman averaged over 6.5 yards per carry.

The Tigers will be hard-pressed to replace Marc Carter at split-end, but senior Lukas Morris (6-1, 160) should be a reliable deep field threat. Juniors Jon Monning (6-0, 160) and Casey Jones (6-3, 205) are returners at end.

From tackle to tackle, IHS won’t be hurting for size and return 3 starters. Juniors Sam Cramblitt (6-0, 280) and Howie Lucas (6-1, 210) return at Tackle and Guard respectively with senior Geoff White (6-2, 265) also returning. Junior Chris Warner (6-0, 200) and sophomore Robbie Webb (6-4, 220) round out the potential Tiger forward wall.

Defensively, Ironton will need to improve if they expect to contend in the SEOAL or Region 15. In the Tigers 5 wins, only on team scored more than 20 points and 3 opponents were held to 14 points or less. However, in the teams 5 losses, Ironton allowed 40 or more points in 5 of those games including 59 to Olentangy Liberty and 53 to Logan.

Up front, Murphy will be a disruptive force from his noseguard spot after earning All-SEOAL accolades a year ago. White and Cramblitt both return at the tackle spots.

Jones and Monning are returning starters at end, where the duo wreaked havoc on opposing quarterbacks. Junior Erin Edens (6-1, 190) will anchor the secondary and is a returning starter at linebacker and will be likely joined in 2008 by classmate Warner. Wetzel adds depth at linebacker.

In the backfield, Morris and Corey Dyer (5-10, 170; Senior) form a dynamic duo at safety while Brice and Freeman will likely be the cornerbacks. Schweickart and junior Ethan Preston (5-11, 150; Junior) add depth to the backfield.

The Tigers face a brutal stretch during the middle of SEOAL play that could decide their fate in the league championship racing. Starting September 19, Ironton will travel to defending champion Logan and Chillicothe in back to back weeks, the return home for a date with Jackson, before traveling to archrival Portsmouth during week 7.

Ironton will look to avenge a 39-6 loss to Wheelersburg in their season opener.

SCHEDULE

Aug. 22 – @ Wheelersburg
Aug. 29 – Our Lady of the Way (Canada)
Sept. 5 – Gallipolis Gallia Academy *
Sept. 12 – Ashland (KY)
Sept. 19 – @ Logan *
Sept. 26 – @ Chillicothe *
Oct. 3 – Jackson *
Oct. 10 – @ Portsmouth *
Oct. 17 – @ Nelsonville-York
Oct. 24 – Warren *
* = SEOAL Game

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