Ironton, RH match ground attacks
Ground game vs. ground game.
When the Ironton Fighting Tigers visit the Rock Hill Redmen in an Ohio Valley Conference game on Friday, each team will try to impose its running game on the other.
Ironton (4-2, 3-0) needs to win in order to keep pace with Gallipolis for the lead in the OVC and improve on its position in the Division V Region 19 computer playoff ratings.
The Redmen (2-4, 1-2) have three losses by seven points or less.
Rock Hill has a three-headed beast of fullback T.J. McGinnis and halfbacks Logan Hankins and Zak Adkins. All three are juniors.
McGinnis leads the trio with 620 yards on 86 carries for a 7.2 average. Hankins is next with 533 yards on 82 attempts for a 6.5 yards per carry while Adkins has carried 81 times for 492 yards and a 6.1 average.
Sophomore Brayden Friend (5-8, 165) is the quarterbacks. A good athlete with good speed, Friend was injured in the Portsmouth game and did not play in a 42-35 loss to Fairland.
The Fighting Tigers not only have a potent running game but the edge in the passing game.
Ironton is led by sophomore running back Reid Carrico with 777 yards on 107 carries for a 7.3 yards per carry average. He leads the team with nine touchdowns.
Junior fullback Seth Fosson had 276 yards on just 35 attempts for a 7.9 average — best on the team — and he has four touchdowns.
The deciding factor though between the two ground-oriented teams could be junior quarterback Gage Salyers who has rushed 61 times for 305 yards and seven touchdowns and is 31-of-71 passing for 440 yards and six TDs. He has been intercepted just three times.
Rock Hill has the size up front.
Junior Ethan McClaskey (6-0, 210) is the center for Rock Hill, the guards are junior Tristan Delong (5-10, 290) and senior Tyler Fields (5-11, 230), the tackles junior Tucker Carpenter (6-4, 265) and junior Kris Dong (6-2, 272), and the ends are seniors Jake Blevins (5-10, 180) and Quinn Depriest (5-10, 150).
On the defensive side, senior David Grant (5-10, 205) is on the defensive line along with Delong at tackle while McGinnis and Bevins are the ends.
McClaskey, Hankins and sophomore Hayden Harper (5-11, 200) are the linebackers, Adkins and freshman Brayden Malone (6-2, 185) the cornerbacks while Depriest and Friend are the safeties.
Ironton’s offensive line has seniors Brady Rowe (6-2, 230) and Hunter Humphreys (6-1, 240) at the tackles, sophomore Rocky White (5-11, 235) is the center while junior Caden McFann (5-10, 250) and freshman Riley Boggs (6-0, 230) are the guards.
Senior Ethan Duncan (5-10, 215) is the tight end with juniors Jordan Grizzle (5-9, 190) and Trent Hacker (6-2, 185) the wide receivers.
Duncan at linebacker is the key force on defense. He is joined at linebacker by Carrico on the inside with Grizzle and sophomore Cameron Deere (5-10, 170) on the outside.
Junior Bryce Munion (5-9, 150) and freshman Ashton Duncan (-55, 165) may also see time at linebacker.
Fosson anchors the line at end with sophomore Gunner Crawford 5-10,1 215) on the other side. The tackle spots rotate between Rowe, Humphreys and freshman Nate Cochran (6-1, 240).
The secondary is led by the hard-hitting Salyers at safety along with seniors Brycen Thomas (5-10, 160), Ayden Barnes (6-1, 160) and Justin McSorley (5-10,1 60) as well as junior Colin Freeman (6-0, 170).
Ironton leads the series 6-0. The first three games were meetings in the playoffs while the past three games have been leagues wins of 28-13, 33-14 and 34-7.
Kickoff is 7 p.m. Rock Hill will honor its first Hall of Fame class prior to the game.