Ironton Gridiron Classic set for Saturday at Tanks Stadium

Published 10:31 pm Sunday, September 4, 2022

By Jim Walker


Some people say “Why?” and Ironton Fighting Tigers’ head coach Trevon Pendleton said, “Why not?”

Years ago, a two-day high school extravaganza was held at Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium called the Kirk Herbstreit National Kickoff Classic. Teams from all over the country were matched up against teams from the Cincinnati area.

The classic ended after 2011 but Pendleton thought it would be a good idea to bring back some type of classic matching some top teams from different areas of the country.

And the Gridiron Classic will fill some of that void on Saturday at Tanks Memorial Stadium.

“There were a bunch of high school coaches talking last year and they talked about the Kirk Herbstreit Classic. They hated it because it went away. I said, ‘Why does it have to?’ And they were like ‘Well, Herbstreit was the only one who would do it.’ I said ‘Why don’t we do it?’” asked Pendleton.

The response was it would take a lot of time and effort. Pendleton’s reply was “we dd it for basketball and there’s no reason we can’t do it for football. So, we tried to put it together and reached out to people and really it was a lot easier than I thought it would be getting teams on board.”

The day will kickoff at 2 p.m. as Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller faces Good Counsel of Maryland. Cleveland Benedictine will play DeMatha of Maryland at 5 p.m. capped by Ironton and Johnson Central, Ky., at 8 p.m.

The games will be played at legendary Tanks Memorial Stadium and Pendleton said the covered facility was a selling point.

“Having the stadium and the history we have, people wanted to come and see it and come play at it. Honestly, it came together pretty easy. I’m excited for it,” said Pendleton.

Moeller finished ranked No. 78 in the nation last year with an 11-4 record. Good Counsel was one spot behind them in the rankings.

DeMatha was No. 84 while Benedictine advanced to the Division 2 regional semifinals last season and finished 8-3. DeMatha was 75 but its losses were only by a total of 14 points and three losses were against top 100 teams.Johnson Central was the Class 4A state runner-up last season with a 12-2 record.

Special tickets are available at the high school. Fans can purchase a $10 ticket for one game or $20 that is good for all three games.