Portsmouth-Ironton set to collide in big conference tilt

Cody Leightenheimer

PDT Sports Contributor

The Portsmouth Trojans (2-2) aren’t taking the Ironton Fighting Tigers (0-4) lightly going into Friday’s game in Ironton. The Trojans are preparing for a battle to the finish.

“Ironton is a very misleading 0-4 team,” Portsmouth head coach Aaron Duncan said. “Where we have played a tough, three game, non-conference schedule, Ironton has had a tough, four game, non-conference schedule.”

Ironton, so far, has played Wheelersburg (4-0), Russell (3-1), Beechwood (4-1) and Ashland Paul G. Blazer (4-0).

“Their schedule hasn’t exactly been kind. They are definitely a better team than their schedule has allowed,” Duncan said. “Ironton is going to be a tall order for us.”

The Trojans losses came from their tough games against Wheelersburg and Valley, both undefeated going into week five. Portsmouth gained their first conference win last week against Fairland. This week coach Duncan and his Trojans are looking for number two.

“Our boys are excited to be in the Ohio Valley Conference and we’re hoping to win it,” Duncan said.

Twenty nine miles away in the den of the Fighting Tigers, Ironton head coach Mark Vass is most concerned with getting back to the basics to bring a win home.

“Our keys are going to be blocking, tackling, and taking care of the football,” Vass said. “Our boys are sticking with us. They are still out there putting work in.”

Ironton’s offense uses the T-formation. In this formation, three tail backs line up in a row about five yards behind the quarterback, it has variations involving tight ends or receivers, but the goal of the T is to give the defense multiple targets to focus on and to give the running staff options as to where they want to take ball.

“Ironton likes to pound the opponent’s line into submission,” Duncan said. “Our defense is filled with hard workers. We plan on giving them a challenge.”

Coach Duncan wants to utilize his senior running backs, Darray Richardson and Austin Hollins, as well as sophomore quarterback Cole Lowery to push the ball and set the momentum. The Trojans also are going to want to use that strong defensive line to take on the Fighting Tigers run staff.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Cody Leightenheimer is a stringer for the Portsmouth Daily Times. Reach him @leightenheimer