By Dave Hart

MUSKEGON – Just one win stands between the West Michigan Ironmen and a trip to the AIF Championship Bowl XI in their first season as a franchise.LSJ Logo incert

The Ironmen will host the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks on Saturday night at the L.C. Walker Arena in the league semifinals. Kickoff is slated for 8 p.m.ironmen_logoTransparency

West Michigan will either face the Columbus Lions on the road or host the Florida Tarpons in the championship if they get past the Steelhawks.

The Ironmen, who have won eight of their nine contests this season, opened the postseason last Saturday with a lopsided 78-37 victory over the Myrtle Beach Freedom.

The easy victory pleased Ironmen Coach Ty Lynk, particularly since his team had been idle for nearly a month before the playoff game.

“I was excited on how we executed throughout the game,” Lynk said. “It was an absolute surprise that the rust from the layoff did not linger during the contest.”

West Michigan spent nearly a month off with two consecutive weeks off followed by a forfeit by the Chicago Blitz during the regular season’s final week.

Coach Lynk believes that beating Lehigh Valley will be the toughest challenge the Ironmen have faced thus far, but knows what a win could mean to the community.

“The biggest challenge we are holding onto is to give Muskegon a possible championship game at home,” said Coach Lynk. “We will be hoping Florida wins and we get a chance to play them at ‘The Foundry.’

“This season has been a great journey so far and looking forward to seeing how far we could go.”

The Steelhawks advanced to the semifinals by beating the River City Raiders 54-52 in the first round of the playoffs.

The other semifinal will pit Columbus against Florida. The Columbus Lions defeated the New Mexico Stars 49-37 in the first round while the Florida Tarpons cruised past the Savannah Steam 71-20.