Hype. It’s an inevitable part of the sporting world. Last weekend in
college football we heard about the “Collision at the Coliseum,” later
in the season we’ll hear about “The World’s Largest Outdoor Party” when
Florida plays Georgia. For the Logan Chieftains and
Ironton Fighting Tigers, Friday might be the most hyped game they
play all regular season.
Hype. It’s an inevitable part of the sporting world. Last weekend in college football we heard about the “Collision at the Coliseum,” later in the season we’ll hear about “The World’s Largest Outdoor Party” when Florida plays Georgia in Jacksonville. For the Logan Chieftains and Ironton Fighting Tigers, Friday night might be the most hyped game they play all regular season.
The Fighting Tigers, Southeastern Ohio’s most successful football program, comes to down with a 3-1 (1-0) record and looking to rebound from last season’s 5-5 season that included a 53-14 loss at Logan in the final regular season game at Bill Sauer Field. The orange and black have rebounded from a season opening loss to Wheelersburg (23-22) to reel off three straight wins by an average score of 38-6.
On the other hand, Logan is entering Friday night’s game 4-0 and riding a 23-game Southeastern Ohio Athletic League winning streak. The Chieftains, who last lost in league play back in 2004, will enter their SEOAL opener on a high note following season opening wins over a pair of Division I teams Lancaster (35-10) and Pickerington North (35-14).
Offensively, Ironton is averaging 34 points, 218 rushing yards and 110 passing yards per game and will operate out of the power-T formation led by junior fullback Keith Wetzel (5-7, 200) and senior halfback Chance Freeman (5-11, 180). Wetzel leads the Tigers in carries and touchdowns (46 carries, 229 yards, 7 touchdowns), while Freeman leads with 254 yards on 35 carries for 6 touchdowns. The second halfback is senior Major Brice (5-9, 180) who has carried 17 times for 153 yards and 2 scores.
Senior Jon Schweickart (6-0, 195) is one of the top quarterbacks in southeastern Ohio and was an invite to the “Top Gun” quarterback camp held in Dublin earlier this summer. Schweickart has completed 23 of 42 passes for 400 yards with four touchdowns against only one interception.
Schweickart’s top target is senior Michael Lamb (6-3, 205), a Fairland transfer, who has 14 catches for 282 yards and a score. Senior split end Lukas Morris (6-2, 150) has 6 catches for 134 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Up front, Ironton will present the toughest challenged faced yet by the purple and white. The Tigers average 242 punds per man from tackle to tackle and can increase that average to 256 pounds per man in short yardage situations.
Junior Taylor Barker (6-0, 285) is the center, with classmate Chris Warner (5-11, 200) and sophomore Robbie Webb (6-3, 240) beside him at the guard positions. Senior Tony Murphy (5-11, 270) will take Warner’s guard spot in short yardage situations. Juniors Sam Cramblitt (6-0, 280) and Howie Lucas (6-0, 205) are the tackles.
Murphy, a fullback last season, is yet to carry the football this season but could see his first action in the backfield against the Chieftains.
For the Logan defense, the challenge will be shutting down the Ironton running game despite an undersized defensive line in the Chieftains 5-3 base defense. The Chieftains have allowed only 186 yards and just under 8 points per game defensivlely.
The purple and white defensive line, allowing just 125 yards per game on the ground, is led by seniors Jon Neff (6-3, 225), Cary MacLaughlin (5-10, 200), Stephen Miller (6-0, 220), and Seth Sigler (5-11, 170). MacLaughlin, Miller, and Sigler will be the three in the middle with Sigler playing noseguard. Neff and junior Ralph Robinson (6-0, 200) will be the ends.
Logan’s linebacking corps is the strength of the defense and is led by senior Zach Adams (6-3, 205). Adams has intercepted two passes and is second on the team in tackles. Junior Michael Snider (6-0, 200) leads the team in tackles from his middle linebacker spot, and senior Clay Morgan (5-10, 180) completes the trio.
In the secondary Logan allows just 60 yards and have intercepted 7 passes in 4 games. Junior Pat Angle (6-1, 195) is the free safety with senior Jaush Huntsberger (5-10, 140) and junior Mason Mays (5-11, 175) the cornerbacks. Sigler and junior Jordan Rutter (5-11, 165) could also see time at defensive back.
Offensively, the purple and white average 383 yards per game and have shown balance with 177 yards per game on the ground and 206 per game through the air. Angle, the junior quarterback, is the catalyst for the Logan offense with 165 yards and 4 touchdowns rushing and 775 yards and 9 touchdowns through the air. Angle is completing 62% of his passes (53-85) with just one interception so far in 2008.
Logan’s receiving corps. is led by junior Mason Mays’ 22 catches for 405 yards and 5 touchdowns. Mays averages over 15 yards per play each time he touches the football when you factor in his 12 rushes for 113 yards.
Seniors Zach Adams (12 catches, 175 yards, 3 TDs) and Jaush Huntsberger (7 catches, 122 yards) are reliable receivers in addition to Mays.
In the backfield, Logan will be without junior Zach McDaniel (149 yards and a TD on 22 carries) due to a broken collarbone, but the Chieftains expect to have senior tailback Clay Morgan back after missing the last two weeks to injury. Morgan has run for 81 yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries.
Up front, Logan also welcomes back a pair of senior tackles who have made their first appearances the last two weeks. David Schneider (6-1, 270) and Weston Andy (6-2, 260) each missed the first two games due to injury, but Schneider made his debut in the second half against Hamilton Township in week 3 while Andy returned last week against Gallia Academy. The other Chieftain offensive linemen are tackles Derek Shirey (5-11, 235, SR) and Tim King (6-1, 215, Soph), guards MacLaughlin and Jeff Murphy (5-11, 210), and center Bobby Russell (6-2, 250, JR). When Andy and Schneider are on the field look for Shirey to move back to his natural position replacing MacLaughlin at guard.
Defensively, Ironton is allowing 10.25 points per game and only 182 yards per game. The orange and black who normally play a 5-2 base defense, may drop to a 4-3 base to combat the Chieftains’ offensive spread attack.
Murphy will be the noseguard and anchors a defensive line allowing only 122 yards per game on the ground. Lamb will be at end where he is one of the area’s top pass rushers.
Other defensive linemen are tackles Geoff White (6-2, 270, SR) and Brad Spaljaric (6-3, 255, Soph) along with junior end Jon Monning (6-0, 170).
Junior Erin Edens (6-0, 195) along with Chris Warner and sophomore Brian Warner (6-0, 200) have all seen time at linebacker, along with junior Paris Birchfield (6-1, 205).
The Ironton secondary has allowed a measly 60 yards per game through the air and is led by safeties Freeman and junior Ethan Preston (5-10, 155). Morris and Brice will be the cornerbacks.
One thing Friday night won’t lack is hype, with almost everyone in southeast Ohio awaiting to the outcome of this football game. Few games live up to the hype as Ohio State fans witnessed on Saturday night. Only time will tell if this match-up can live up to the hype generated by fans throughout the area.