Pendleton makes Ironton coaching debut on Friday at Wheelersburg
This isn’t the way a first-year head coach should begin his career.
After two years as an assistant at Portsmouth West, Trevon Pendleton makes his head coaching debut on Friday when the Ironton Fighting Tigers visit the defending Division V state champion Wheelersburg Pirates.
Ironically, Pendleton’s predecessor Mark Vass made his Ironton and head coaching debut at Wheelersburg six years ago.
Ironton won that game 32-27, his only win in eight meetings against Wheelersburg.
Although the setup seems the same, Pendleton is facing a team still loaded with talent from a state title season.
The Pirates will be led by quarterback Trent Salyers and his prime target Tanner Holden.
Last season as a junior, Holden was a first team All-Ohio selection in Division V as was the Southeast District Offensive Player of the Year.
Holden (6-6, 180) caught 78 passes for 1,535 years and 21 touchdowns in the 15-0 season.
Salyers — also a senior — won the starting job from the incumbent quarterback Mack Dyer and helped lead the Pirates to the Division V state championship.
Salyers (6-2, 180) threw for 2,872 yards and 30 touchdowns with just seven interceptions during the regular season.
Another top returning player is junior running back Makya Matthews (5-9, 175) who has excellent speed.
The Pirates did lose some key players from last season including linebacker Xander Carmichael, cornerback Bryson Keeney, defensive lineman Nic Parsley, wide receiver Cole Lowery and linemen Jeremy Cooper, Alex George and C.J. Hall.
Looking to help fill the void at linebacker for Carmichael is senior Tanner Wilson (6-2, 215).
Wheelersburg beat Ironton 48-3 in last season’s opening game for both teams.
Kickoff is 7 p.m.