GOODY, Ky. – The Pike County Central Hawks put up a valiant effort against Belfry (11-1) in their regular season contest.
But in the end the Pirates regrouped in the second half to come from behind to win 56-34.
However, the Hawks (7-5) actually led the Pirates 26-14 at the half.
With rivalry games – many times you can throw out the records.
Pike County Central coach John Chapman hopes his team can play an entire game like it did in the first half against the Belfry Pirates in Friday night’s Class 3A regional championship game.
It that first contest, the Hawk’s junior quarterback Mac Justice threw two early touchdown passes as his team took an early 12-0 lead in the first quarter.
Belfry actually had negative yards on the ground in the first half, something the powerful Pirate rushing attack is just not used to. Justice was 12-18 in the first half and threw for four touchdowns, two to Brad Elkins and two to Chris Wesley.
Belfry fumbled the pigskin three times in the first half, losing two of those in the opening half. Pirate’s coaches said it was the worst half a Pirate football team had played in many years.
There is one big difference. That game was played at Pike County Central. This contest will be played at the friendly confines of CAM Stadium.
Belfry hopes to avoid the turnovers this time and to get their strong rushing attack started early.
Seniors Trenity Carr and Justin Johnson continue to lead the team in rushing. Carr, a fullback, has rushed for 20 touchdowns this season and for 786 yards on 139 carries. Johnson leads the team with 901 yards and has made it into the end zone 11 times.
Senior Davontae Dari has been a nice surprise for the Pirates. He has taken advantage of extra playing time due to injuries to rush for 465 yards and seven TDs. Senior quarterback Sani Warren has rushed for eight TDs and has also thrown for 862 yards and 10 TDs. He only has three interceptions in 12 games.
Junior Austin Hatfield, who had rushed for 515 yards, missed several games due to an ankle injury. He returned last week, but only played defense. He will likely do the same this week. Freshman Andrew Fletcher has rushed for 414 yards and four TDs and could see action. Sophomore Xondre Willis was getting carries early in the season, but he went down with a season-ending knee injury.
As for the receiving corps, junior Keaton Taylor has caught seven TD passes for 580 yards to lead the way. Belfry does not throw the football that much. Carr has 15 catches out of the backfield, while Cody Bostic and Cameron Johnson each have six receptions this year. Bostic has one touchdown. Justin Johnson has one TD and seven catches from his halfback position. Fletcher also has seven receptions and one TD out of the backfield.
Junior center Macky Francis leads the strong offensive line. Others that see action on the front line are tackles Austin Gibbs, Richard Nelson and guards Zach Lester and Drew Mullins. Jeremy Harrison and Zack Thompson could also see action up front. The tight ends are freshmen Cole Bentley and Raquan Horton.
The Pirate defense is led by seniors Hayden Hatfield and Joey Duty.
Belfry hopes to make it back to the Class AAA state championship game again this year. For three consecutive seasons BHS has met Central of Louisville in the title game.
Before that though, the Pirates will have to beat the Hawks this Friday and then play the winner of the Mason County-Bourbon County .
The game can be heard on WDHR 93.1 FM with Bobby Norman calling the play by play and Steve Mickey on color commentary. Kickoff time is slated for 7:30 p.m. The weather is expected to be cloudy with a chance of showers and temperatures in the upper 30s.