It didn't take long to prove him right in Ironton’s 24-8 win over Wheelersburg Friday.
On the Fighting Tigers second play from scrimmage, running back Brian Warner broke through the Pirate defense for a 64-yard touchdown run. Two possessions later Ironton's Keith Wetzel ran four yards for a score. J.P. Taylor gave the Fighting Tigers their final score on a 5-yard run. The other score for Ironton came on a pass from Ethan Preston to Jon Monnig wide open in the endzone.
"That was a good win for us," said Ironton coach Bob Lutz. "We wanted to control the line of scrimmage and for the most part we did that."
Wetzel finished with 85 yards rushing, Warner had 86 and Taylor ran for 89 yards as the offense was in sync all evening.
The opposite was true for the Pirates. Wheelersburg's first five possessions included four punts and an interception.
"Ironton got off to a really good start and we obviously didn't," Wheelersburg coach Rob Woodward said. "We weren't able to establish any kind of rhythm offensively at all. They were able to... We had a lot of missed tackles and that was the ball game."
Wheelersburg was able to move the ball late in the contest on quarterback keepers by Brandon Schankweiler and Tyler Lang.
On the Pirates' lone scoring drive, Lang ran eight yards to get Wheelersburg started. Tyler Craigmiles then broke a 23-yard run for a first down.
Two runs by Schankweiler and another dash by Craigmiles put the Pirates in Ironton territory and set up a big play.
On first-and-10 from the Ironton 34, Schankweiler dropped back to pass and hit a diving Andy Stegman deep over the middle for a 27-yard gain. Two plays later Lang rushed into the endzone for the score.
"We were just in a rush for time," Woodward said. "Time was winding down. (The quarterback runs) were something that we we planned on going to and utilizing at some point in time. You can't go right to it..."
Though the Pirates scored, Lutz suggested they had a little help.
"I looked out there and we were missing a tackle," Lutz said. "He came over to the sidelines and didn't tell anyone. They ran two plays and we only had 10 men on the field."
For the Pirates, Schankweiler was the top rusher with 43 yards and the team managed just 174 yards in the game.
Still, Woodward said the game can serve as a learning experience for the Pirates.
"There's a lot we can take from this game," Woodward said. "We have to come together better as a team and work to improve next week."
JOHN STEGEMAN can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wheelersburg 0 0 0 8 — 8
Ironton 6 12 6 0 — 24
I — Warner 64 run (Kick blocked) 9:19
I — Wetzel 4 run (Run failed) 7:51
I — Monnig 13 pass from from Preston (run failed) :39
I — Taylor 5 run (Kick failed) 7:25
WB — Lang 5 run (Lang run) 7:47
RUSHING — Wheelersburg: Craigmiles 3-29, Walker 5-15, Schankweiler 12-43, Lang 10-34, Adkins 2-5; Ironton: Taylor 14-89, Warner 7-86, Wetzel 25-85, Preston 7-34.
PASSING — Wheelersburg; Lang 2-6-1 18, Schankweiler 2-2-0 30; Ironton: Preston 4-5-0 42.
RECEIVING — Wheelersburg: Craigmiles 3-21, Stegman 1-27; Ironton Monnig 2-28, Warner 2-14.
Record — Wheelersburg 0-1; Ironton 1-0