Preview: St. Francis DeSales Stands In The Way Of Jackson’s First 12-Win Season [Video]< < Back to
The Jackson Ironmen have a chance to do something that no football team in Ironmen history has accomplished–win 12 games in a season and win two playoff games. However, standing in their way is Columbus St. Francis DeSales, a team that is no stranger to the spotlight. The Stallions have appeared in the postseason 23 times, boasting an impressive 49-19 record along with three state championships.
The Stallions have played spoiler before, when they squared off with the Ironmen back in the 1996 season in the regional championship game. DeSales came out on top 21-7, ending the Ironmen’s playoff hopes and perfect season with an 11-1 finish.
But these are two completely different teams and DeSales offense schemes play right into the hands of the Ironmen defense. The Stallions run a ruthless triple-option attack that is not meant for the big play but rather, to wear a defense out. They average nearly 325 yards per game and are led by the Division III Central District Coach of the Year in Ryan Wiggins.
In the backfield for DeSales awaits senior quarterback Josh DeLozier who scampered for all four of the Stallions touchdowns last week in their first-round win over the No. 2 seed, Dover. The Ironmen are also going to have to find a way to stop DeSales two fullbacks in Austin Andrews and Jake Gilmore. The Stallions run everything through their double-wing triple-option offense including a variety of fake pitches, play action looks, and cut blocks at the line. DeSales has managed to post at least 31 points in eight of their nine wins.
The triple-option will be a major test for Jackson’s sturdy run defense. Not only is the triple-option confusing it can take a toll on teams for weeks due to the aggressive natured blocking schemes.
However, that isn’t the only match-up to be on the lookout for. Jackson’s offense has to be able to hang onto the ball this week if they want to have a shot at winning against DeSales. After fumbling six times last week against Logan Elm—and losing five of them—the Ironmen are poised for another battle out in the cold. Temperatures are expected to reach a low of 22 degrees Friday night, meaning that ball control will be a pressing issue. With the majority of Jackson’s offensive success coming on the ground as well, expect both hard-nosed teams to play smash-mouth football for four quarters.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Herrnstein Field in Chillicothe. The winner will get a shot at the No.1 seed Tri-Valley or the No. 4 seed Athens in the regional finals, with a chance to head to the Final Four in Ohio Stadium.
'Gridiron Glory' airs every Friday night at 11:30 p.m. on WOUB. You can follow the show on Twitter @gridironglory, like the Gridiron Glory page on Facebook, and follow along on Instagram @woubsports. You can also join the conversation throughout the season by using the hashtag #GridGlory!