By: Frank Lewis
November 1, 2012
PDT Sports Report
Which Ironton team will take the field in Friday’s Division IV, Region 15 quarterfinal game against Bloom-Carroll after a bye last week?
Will it be a Fighting Tigers squad that has been decimated with injuries and at one point lost three-straight games or will it be a team that rebounded two weeks ago to shut out Oak Hill. That’s the question when No. 2 Ironton (6-3) hosts a No. 7 Bulldog team (5-5) that is making just its second postseason appearance in school history.
The Fighting Tigers will get back closer to full strength Friday night with the return of senior quarterback Tanner Dutey according to a source close to the situation. Sophomore Tristan Cox had been the signalcaller since Dutey went down with an injury earlier in the year.
Bloom-Carroll is one of four teams from the Mid-State League’s Buckeye Division to be in this year’s playoffs. The Bulldogs will be led on the ground by Zack Jude, who has accumulated 424 of his 559 rushing yards in the past three games.
Another rusher Ironton may have to look out for will be Lancaster Fairfield Christian Academy transfer Sam Fraturo. In four contests, he has 426 yards on 69 carries.
“Jude runs really hard and he has good speed,” Fighting Tigers coach Mark Vass said in an interview this week with the Ironton Tribune. “We haven’t seen (Fraturro) in any of the films we have, so we’re not sure what he can do.
“We’ll just have to be ready. But they have more than just a running game.”
At quarterback, Levi Fetherolf and Kelly Milliser have been trading snaps at various points during the season. Fetherolf and Tyler Sorg are Bloom-Carroll’s best threats to catch the ball.
“Regardless of who plays quarterback, they are both good athletes,” Vass said. “We saw (Fetholf) at slotback and he’s pretty good and Milliser impressed us at quarterback.”
For first-year coach Phil Mauro, he told the Lancaster Eagle-Gazette making this step shows how far they’ve come from starting the season 2-5 and in the midst of a four-game losing streak before snapping off three wins to sneak in.
“Obviously, it wasn’t the high point of the season,” he said. “It was a test of our mettle and a test of our perseverance.
“We were going to hold everything together and work through injuries and work on getting better and that’s what they’ve done.”
Division VI, Region 23 Quarterfinal — Friday
No. 5 Symmes Valley (8-2) vs. No. 4 Zanesville Bishop Rosecrans (7-3)
(at Zanesville Maysville High School)
The senior class at Symmes Valley has been down this road before.
The Vikings are in the playoffs for the fourth year in a row and 10th time in school history. But it’s the previous three seasons that have this group with a target on its back.
In the past three seasons, last year was the only occasion in which Symmes Valley made it to the regional semifinals. The Vikings will try to advance further when they play Zanesville Bishop Rosecrans.
“They’re a little like Oak Hill, maybe not as much size but more speed,” Symmes Valley coach Rusty Webb said in an interview earlier this week with the Ironton Tribune. “They are diverse like Buffalo (WV) and they are athletic like Notre Dame.”
The Bishops are led by Luke Lloyd, who has chewed up 1,111 yards on the ground in eight games but an ankle injury has his availability into question. The health of lineman Chase Lanning is up in the air with a hamstring injury. He has a team-high 57.5 tackles on the year.
The game was originally slated to be played at Zanesville High School where Rosecrans usually plays its home contests. But with the Blue Devils in the Division II playoffs the same night hosting Canal Winchester, the game was moved to nearby Maysville High School.
Division V, Region 19 Quarterfinal — Saturday
No. 7 Jeromesville Hillsdale (7-3) at No. 2 Oak Hill (8-2)
When Oak Hill makes the playoffs, a home game has always accompanied the Oaks.
It’s the case this season as Oak Hill, back from a one-year playoff hiatus and in their third playoff in four years, hosts Jeromesville Hillsdale. For the Falcons, it’s also their third postseason appearance in four years and they will be on the road for the third time.
For the Oaks and first-year coach Nathan Dugan, he said in his weekly interview with the Jackson-County Times Journal his senior class has been through the ups and downs.
“Our kids felt like we had to get that fifth game here (at Davis Stadium),” Dugan said. “We are extremely happy to make the playoffs and get this home game, but now it’s all back to work and focusing on Hillsdale.”
Although Hillsdale has been in the same division as Oak Hill, the Falcons were 3-2 when playing in Region 18. They came within a few points of making into last year’s playoffs but a loss in the final minutes of the regular season finale to eventual Division IV state champion Creston Norwayne dropped them out of the playoffs despite a 9-1 record.
In a decade at the helm, Tom Williams has become Hillsdale’s all-time winningest coach with a mark of 64-41.