IRONTON - If tire flipping ever becomes an Olympic sport, bet on the Ironton Fighting Tigers.
With 7-on-7 passing clinics focusing mostly on quarterbacks, receivers, running backs, linebackers and defensive backs, some organizers have added events for linemen. Such was the case Saturday at Ironton's Tanks Memorial Stadium, where the Tigers' big men won the tire flipping competition, an event during which players flipped large truck/tractor tires the length of Tiger Alley between the high school and the stadium. Ironton's linemen went the length and back in 46 seconds.
The big guys also competed in tug of war, a spirited contest that drew whoops and hollers from players, coaches and spectators.
The 7-on-7 clinic allowed coaches to learn more about their own teams and, in some cases, opponents. Fairland plays two of the participating schools - Ironton and Oak Hill - during the regular season. While the Tigers and Dragons know one another well, both were careful enough not to show everything in the playbook. Oak Hill might have benefited most, as the Oaks received a look at the Dragons' passing abilities. Oak Hill, though, doesn't throw.
"We're more of a power team," Oaks coach Paul Carver said. "We still enjoy this. It gives us a chance to get better."
Fairland learned more about its young quarterbacks, a trio of whom are vying to replace four-year starter Joel Lambiotte, who signed with Marshall University.
Huntington High veteran quarterback Tajhan Blackwell used Saturday as an opportunity to improve his mechanics.
"I'm doing pretty well, but I need to work on my mechanics and footwork," Blackwell said. "I'm working on keeping my feet under me and not throwing off my back foot."
Blackwell also spent time getting reacquainted with junior wide receiver Devin Johnson, who missed most of last season after breaking a leg in the season-opening game.
"Devin's going to be a big help to us," Blackwell said.
Every snap is a learning experience for Ironton fullback Beau Brownstead, who is getting to know his teammates after transferring from Raceland.
"The workouts here are so much harder," said Brownstead, whose dad Heath starred at Ironton and Furman University. "It's a different world. Raceland has great football and so does Ironton."