Ironton, Midland to meet at Herd’s stadium

Published 9:03 pm Tuesday, May 2, 2023

By Jim Walker

This is one time the authorities won’t be worried about a flood of people crossing the border.

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When the Ironton Fighting Tigers play the Cabell Midland Knights this season, the game will be played in Huntington in what is being billed as The Battle at the Border.

The games matches two of the top area program and they will square off Saturday, Sept. 9, in the first high school game at Joan C. Edwards Stadium which is the home of the Marshall Thundering Herd.

Ironton head coach Trevon Pendleton said the idea grew from some skull sessions with his coaching staff.

“We knew it was going to be a big game regardless of what day or location we have it. Being an out-of-state opponent and an opponent we haven’t played a whole lot, we talked about how can we make this a bigger event,” said Pendleton.

“So, we spitballed some ideas around and bounced them back and forth between me and my staff and we landed on ‘why don’t we do a neutral site game at a big stadium and do it on a Saturday night when everyone else is playing on Friday night.’ We talked about Marshall and everyone said we’ve never really seen a high school game there and is it even possible?

“One thing led to another and we ended up giving Marshall an email and talking to Andrew Brown the associated athletic director there and he ran it up the chain (of command) and we realized it was not only possible but plausible very quickly. SO, we kind of put the wheels in motion and got the wheels in motion and one thing led to another and it’ll be the first high school game at The Joan (Joan C. Edwards Stadium).”

The two teams have met only twice with each winning at home. Ironton won 32-0 in 1996 and Midland won 35-28 the following season.

Pendleton said Marshall was in favor of the game happening and it was just about finding the right day and time so it wouldn’t interfere with the Thundering Herd’s schedule.

“They were very receptive of the idea and were willing to go above and beyond to work with us to make it work and cover all the scenarios,” said Pendleton.

Once Ironton had the idea, Pendleton suggested it to Midland coach Luke Salmons who was very receptive, especially since he was a Marshall alumnus.

“He was all on board from the very beginning,” Pendleton said of Salmons. “After that, the conversation had us working together with Marshall. It was a very effortless transition.”

Marshall will be providing all the workers for the game including game concessions.

“Our fans and their fans get to sit in the stands and take in the game.

This will mark the first time Ironton has played in Huntington against a non-Huntington opponent.

Ironton has not lost any game it has played in Huntington since 1952 when Huntington High won 44-6. Later that season, Ironton tied Huntington Douglas 19-19.

In 1953, Ironton won at Huntington Vinson 26-0 and beat Huntington High at home 6-0. In 1973, Ironton won at Huntington 35-20 in the season opener and then returned two weeks later to blank Huntington East 20-0.

Those series didn’t resume until 1988 when Ironton beat Huntington at home 32-19. Ironton won at Huntington 37-23 in 1989, at Huntington East 48-0 in 1990, at Huntington 48-6 and at Hungtington East 40-0 in 1991, and at Huntington East 62-7 in 1992.

Over the last five visits to Huntington, Ironton has won by the combined total of 236-36. All those games were played at then Marshall’s home field Fairfield Stadium.