GOODY, Ky. – The Belfry Pirates continued to do what they do best – play good, solid fundamental football. They run the ball hard on offense, tackle their opponents on defense and win the game down in the trenches.
This hard-nosed football proved to be enough as the Pond Creek boys defeated visiting Bourbon County 35-10 Friday night to move on to the state championship game this Friday where they earned a rematch with Louisville Central.
But, first things first for coach Philip Haywood and his staff as they knew they had to beat an undefeated Bourbon County team that was led by their electrifying tailback Kentayvous Hopkins, an all-state candidate.
After the Pirate defense held the Colonels on their first possession of the night, Belfry took over and began marching the ball down the field. Super sophomore fullback Austin Hatfield, and fullback turned tailback Trinity Carr, took turns running the ball right at Bourbon County. The offensive line opened up holes and the two strong runners took advantage.
Carr took it in from 36 yards out for Belfry’s first score with 7:49 left in the first quarter. Keilan Carr booted the extra point and the home team led 7-0.
Belfry’s defense continued to bottle up Hopkins and quarterback Dalton Pope. Then the Pirate offense moved the ball into the red zone and the drive was capped off by a 1-yard Sani Warren quarterback sneak. Carr’s kick gave Belfry a 14-0 lead.
Bourbon County finally got some life in the second quarter after recovering a Belfry fumble on the 46 yard line. Pope broke through on a keeper and ran the ball down to the Pirate 20-yard line. Pope then hooked up with Hayden Cox to the one yard line.
The Colonel’s QB finally scored on a 2-yard keeper, capping a 13-play drive with 7.3 seconds left on the clock. With the extra point kick, it cut the Belfry lead 14-7 heading into the dressing room at the half.
Carr led Belfry with 67 yards in the first half on six carries, Hatfield had 64 on nine tries and Josh Robinson carried the rock five times for 46 yards.
The Pirate defense held Hopkins to only two net yards on the ground. He had three catches for 34 yards. Pope was 11-16 passing for 95 yards.
The Colonels carried their momentum into the third quarter and held Belfry on its first possession to a 3-and-out forcing a punt. Bourbon County took advantage of this, moving the ball down to the 20 yard line. Belfry’s defense held them out of the end zone, but Josue Soriano was able to kick a 35-yard field goal to cut the lead to 14-10.
From that point it was all Belfry. The Pirates took over on their own 20 yard line after a good kickoff deep in the end zone.
Carr and Hatfield continued to run the ball hard. Carr hit pay-dirt from 8-yards out with 3:00 left in the third quarter. K. Carr’s kick gave the Pirates a 21-10 advantage.
After the kickoff, Pope did not appear ready on the first play from scrimmage as the snap bounced off his chest and Belfry’s Joey Duty pounced on the ball to recover the fumble on the 33 yard line. However, Belfry was unable to capitalize and turned it over on downs.
Belfry’s defense came up big again and forced another punt by Bourbon County. The big play on the drive was a big tackle by Zack Thacker on a fourth down play on a screen pass.
The Pirates scored seven plays later as Warren scored his second TD of the night on a 3-yard keeper. K. Carr’s kick was good and Belfry had some breathing room with 8:27 left in the game leading 28-10.
On Bourbon’s next possession, Warren intercepted a pass on the 35 yard line and returned it for a TD. However, a clip brought the football back to the 35, but Belfry retained possession.
Then on the first play from scrimmage, Hatfield made the visitors pay as hit bulled his way to the end zone for a 35-yard touchdown. The kick made it 35-10 with 7:29 left in the final quarter.
Bourbon was unable to do anything with the football as the Belfry defense continued to strangle the Colonels.
Soon the celebration started as the Pirates rushed the field once the final buzzer echoed through Haywood Field.
“They are a tough football team,” Haywood said after the game. “We had to take away the big plays and we did that. I thought our defense played exceptional tonight.”
“Our coaches did a great job executing our game plan,” Haywood said. He was also pleased with the large and boisterous Belfry crowd in attendance at the home playoff game. He said they definitely helped inspire the team.
Belfry now will have a rematch with an old state playoff rival – Louisville Central – who defeated Monroe County 18-13 in their semi-final game.
Score by quarter:
Bourbon … 0 7 3 0 - 10
Belfry … 7 7 7 14 - 35
Class 3A Semifinals - Scoring summary:
B-Trinity Carr 36 run (Keilan Carr kick); B-Sani Warren 1 run (K. Carr kick); BC-Dalton Pope 2 run (Josue Soriano kick); BC -Soriano 18 field goal; B -T. Carr 8 run (K. Carr kick); B - Warren 3 run (K. Carr kick); B - Austin Hatfield 36 run (K. Carr kick).