Minford’s Pendleton picks AB


MINFORD — Hunter Pendleton put ballcarriers onto the ground in the form of rewriting the Minford record-book.

Most recently, though, Pendleton put pen to paper —and officially announced his college football future intentions.

That’s because Pendleton will play for the Alderson Broaddus Battlers, an NCAA Division II program with the university located in Philippi, W. Va.

Alderson Broaddus is a member of the Mountain East Conference, a West Virginia-centric school league which also includes Pennsylvania-based institutions.

At his signing ceremony at Minford High School, he was flanked by a large contingent of family members and friends —most notably his parents Todd and April Pendleton, and his three sophomore-year sisters of Jackie Pendleton, Lexi Pendleton and Marlee Pendleton.

The Minford Falcon football team and coaching staff, led by head coach Jesse Ruby, was there as well.

“I’ve always wanted to play football in college. It really didn’t matter what it came to, I was going to do my best and work for it and try to play, no matter what division,” said Pendleton. “Really excited about it.”

Pendleton, with officially 356 total tackles for his Falcon four-year career, set the new Minford High School record — for career tackles made.

Those include assists and solos, as the six-foot and four-inch and 230-pound Pendleton — a two-time first-team all-Southeast District Division V linebacker — also amounted nine tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and five sacks.

He was selected as an all-Ohio third-teamer as a junior, before moving up to the second-team level as a senior —with 121 total tackles in 2021, before 153 more last season.

“It’s something I’m very proud of. I never expected to do this (set school career tackles record) throughout high school. I knew I wanted to be good and try my hardest, but breaking that record, it’s something heart-stopping,” said Pendleton. “I love it, I love the community for pushing me towards it and for God pushing me towards it. Making a tackle is just helping the team, man. You make the hit, you make the tackle, you just realize the team has your back. We are all striving for one goal. Stop the ballcarrier, win the game. It’s all the love of the sport.”

Pendleton discussed his decision to choose the Battlers —two weeks after an official visit to fellow Division II Walsh University.

“I took a visit to Walsh first, and they were offering me, and I really liked it up there. I enjoyed their coaching staff and everything. Then two weeks later, I had a visit to Alderson Broaddus. As soon as I arrived on campus, I just knew it was the one,” he recalled. “The coaching staff was just really welcoming. Everyone there, I really like the environment.”

Pendleton added that he knew former Piketon star and current AB quarterback Levi Gullion, as Piketon played at Minford during Pendleton’s sophomore (2020 Division V playoffs) and junior (2021 regular-season opener) campaigns.

Pendleton also opened up about preferring the “rural countryside” which AB and Philippi have to offer.

In fact, he said it mirrors Minford many ways over —as the Falcons’ Nest “will always have a special place in my heart.”

“I really just love the area. It’s more rural instead of in the city. It’s something I’m used to being from Minford my entire life,” he said. “I just really enjoyed it up there once I got up there and knew it was the one.”

Pendleton will be playing for fourth-year AB head coach Travis Everhart, actually a native of Frankfort just outside of Chillicothe —and home to Adena High School.

Everhart and his staff have recruited Pendleton as an inside linebacker in a “run-stopping” role, as the Battlers’ defensive scheme is a usual 4-3.

“From what we’ve talked and from what they’ve evaluated my film, they are using me as run-stopper,” said Pendleton.

Pendleton played against some run-oriented units as a Falcon —as Rock Hill, Oak Hill, Chesapeake, Wheelersburg and West come to immediate mind for the past three years.

But as more spread-the-field and pass-heavy offenses increase, and evolve, he said he has worked on improving his pass coverage.

“My junior year, I felt my pass coverage needed more work. So going into my summer senior season, I worked on my speed and spent countless hours of training. I got my speed up, realized what I was doing wrong, and learned more into the pass coverage practice,” said Pendleton, a three-year starter at Minford.

Ruby raved about Pendleton’s prowess, and what he has meant to the Falcons for four years.

“Hunter has always been a consistent hard worker and trying to improve, own his position and play it to the best of his ability. He had some growing pains as a sophomore, but I think that sophomore season taught him a lot of things, and he came in as a junior playing like what a senior would be. To see him grow and take it to the next step as a senior…be out there and be the general of the defense and know where everyone is supposed to go and what everybody’s responsibilities were. He had a nose for the football. He is just a hard-nosed football player who can find the ball on a lot of plays. He played with 100-percent effort all the time and that’s why he had so many tackles,” said the coach. “He’s been a great leader and teammate for us, and that’s why his teammates and we as coaches love him so much. He was a big part of our football team the last two seasons, and we’re really going to miss him starting next year.”

Pendleton plans to major in Environmental Science, and said he plans to make the most of his time as a Battler —just like he did as a Falcon.

“My goals are to play, continue my football career and ultimately get a degree,” he said. “I’m really excited about the opportunity to play football and have my school paid for. Minford has been the best four years of my life so far. I’ve loved every second. The coaching staff, the community, the fan base, it’s all to die for. I want Alderson Broaddus being the same way.”

Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @paulboggssports © 2023 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved

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