GOODY, Ky. — An offensive explosion from the Belfry Pirates sent the Prestonsburg Blackcats home in shreds.
The Pirates pounded the Blackcats all game long, culminating in a very one-sided affair when the final buzzer sounded, 53-6.
Electing to defer after winning the opening coin toss, the Pirates defense was put to the test early with Blackcats QB Jarredd Jarrell opening with a pair of quarterback rushes for big gains. It looked even worse when he completed a pass to a wide open Blackcasts receiver, but the play was called back due to a holding penalty on the Cats.
The penalty threw off Jarrell, as he threw an interception right to Sani Warren, giving the Pirates control of the ball with 10:30 left in the first at the 40 yard line.
Despite a few big runs and some broken tackles, the drive ended with a Pirate turnover on downs as the Blackcats defense held true, stopping a Warren run.
The Blackcats offense, as it would play out for the entire game, could never get into gear. Their drive ended in a punt to the 50, returned to the 39.
On the Pirates next offensive drive, RB Justin Johnson received a hand off and ran into the end zone for the first score of the game, drawing first blood. The PAT was good from Trinity Carr, giving Belfry a 7-0 lead with 7:03 left in the first.
A booming kickoff followed afterwards, a one-hopper into the arms of the Blackcats return man.
Yet Prestonsburg couldn’t get its offensive spark lit. While they were having some success with QB sneaks, the series fell flat after an incomplete pass on 3rd down and 3. Punting it away, the Pirates called for a fair catch in their own territory.
After a run from RB Josh Robinson took the Pirates into Blackcat territory, but a false start sent the pirates back. Johnson, however, didn’t care and blew up, juking virtually ever Blackcat for a big run to the Prestonsburg 29 yard line.
On the next play, Warren threw a big pass into the end zone with a diving catch from Keaton Taylor with an eruption from the crowd, but the play was called back for holding on the Pirates. The offensive drive from Belfry eventually resulted in a turnover on downs, giving Prestonsburg the ball at the 31 yard line with 1:44 left in the first.
After an incomplete pass to begin the drive and some intense pressure from the Pirates defense in the form of Hayden Hatfield, the Cats were forced to give the ball away again. The quarter would end with no more damage dealt to Prestonsburg.
However, Carr carried the ball into the end zone from 14 yards out shortly after play resumed in the 2nd quarter, giving Belfry a 14-0 lead with 10:58 to go.
The kickoff from Carr was returned by Seth Marcum for the Blackcats to the 32, with Hatfield on the stop. The Blackcats, on their next offensive drive, would finally have some offensive magic being made.
On the first play from scrimmage, Jarrell, from the shotgun, was able to scramble big to escape pressure from the Pirates to his left and sling ball to a wide open Blackcat receiver who had burned two Pirate defenders on his route. The Blackcats went for some trickery on their PAT attempt, but the fake was stopped dead by the Pirates before any more damage was dealt, leaving the score at 14-6.
The Blackcats went for a very shallow kick during the kickoff, fielded by Cody Bostic at the Pirates 33. On the Pirates first play, RB Austin Hatfield carried nearly the entire Blackcat team for a six yard gain. That rush opened up the opportunity for the Johnson to bolt down the field on the next play for a 61 yard touchdown run. The PAT was no good, leaving the score at 20-6 with 8:58 left in the half.
The kickoff would see the Blackcats return the football from deep within their own 10 yard line all the way to the Pirates 49 before Taylor finally stopped Grant Anderson in his tracks. The first play afterwards, however, Hatfield came in for the Pirates with a huge sack on Jarrell. After a screen pass completion, the Blackcats managed to get down to the Pirates end zone, but Hatfield stopped the Cats for a five yard loss and forcing a fumble, which was recovered by the Cats.
On 4th and 12 though, the Cats looked like they had nearly struck again for a score, but in a dive over a Pirates player into the end zone, they fumbled the ball out of bounds, resulting in a touch back with 4:50 left.
After a couple of runs, Warren committed the Pirates’ only turnover for the night, an interception which was returned to their 40 yard line. The next play though, Tony Messer crushed the Blackcats’ Anderson in a vicious hit that caused a fumble that the Pirates recovered at their own 46.
After the recovery, the Prestonsburg coach, John Derossett, began arguing with officials, apparently unhappy with the call. That led to an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Before the next play could even be set up, the officials hit the Blackcats with another unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, this time on a player. However, the Cats would hold and the Pirates would as well, bringing an end to the first half with Belfry still leading 20-6.
At the end of the half, the Pirates had earned 273 yards to the Blackcats 113.
In the second half, the Pirates blew up for 33 points, beginning in the third quarter, by far their most productive one.
Taylor returned the Blackcats kickoff to open the third quarter, taking his team to their own 49. after a couple of rushes to open up the big one, Johnson broke free again in a big open run for a 40-yard touchdown. After the PAT, the game had finally spiraled out of control for Prestonsburg, with the Pirates leading 27-6.
The Blackcats showed promise in their next offensive drive, but a Prestonsburg receiver fumbled after catching a wide open pass from Jarrell. Belfry recovered the ball. Despite having a myriad of false start penalties all game long, the Pirates didn’t back down from the extra yardage they had to make up. Warren pitched the ball out to Johnson on 1st and 15 for a 50-yard touchdown run with 9:21 left in the 3rd. The PAT was no good and the score was 33-6.
The game would continue in the same fashion, with Prestonsburg trying their hardest to get their offense going, but to no avail. The frustration continued after the Pirates scored again with 7:42 left in the 3rd on a 28-yard pass to Taylor from Warren, putting the score 40-6 after the PAT.
If it wasn’t an incomplete pass from the Blackcats offense, it was a stop for little to no yardage from the Pirates defense, a sack, or one of their five turnovers.
With 3:40 left in the third quarter, Warren threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to Carr. The PAT was no good and the score was 46-6, Belfry.
Eventually, the frustration grew too much for the Blackcats. After one play, the Blackcats’ Kinsey Van Dyne had the Pirates’ Mackey Francis on the ground and began to bash him below the helmet, connecting with his neck. After Van Dyne got off of him, Francis just ran back to the huddle with his head held high. The Blackcats were charged with a personal foul penalty and Van Dyne was ejected from the game.
After a few more penalties and rushes, the Pirates ended the third quarter at the Blackcats 1 yard line on 1st down. Taylor on a QB keeper rushed it in for the final score of the game, putting the score at 53-6 after the successful PAT.
After that score, the stands began to empy for the Pirates, but a large sea of red was still visible in the stands. The Pirates kept the clock moving with nothing but rushes, but the Blackcats kept incorporating their more miss than hit passing attack. Nate Sanger, Dakota Stanley and David Daniels were able to record some tackles before the final buzzer sounded.
Belfry’s Justin Johnson ended as the player of the game, tallying 217 yards on 13 carries with four touchdowns.
Score by quarters;
BHS…7 13 26 7 -53
PHS…0 6 0 0 - 6
The Pirates improved to 2-1 on the season with the Blackcats falling to 2-2. Belfry goes on to face Pikeville next Friday at W.C. Hambley Athletic Complex at 7:30 p.m.