GOODY, Ky. – The Lawrence County Bulldogs will invade CAM Stadium Friday night to take on the Belfry Pirates (9-2) in Class Triple-A second round playoff action in Kentucky.
The Pirates defeated the Bulldogs 41-6 during the regular season.
Lawrence County (5-6) defeated Morgan County 22-14 in the first round last week in what many considered an upset. The Bulldogs went into that game with a 4-6 record.
Belfry had an easy time in its first game last Friday against Knott County Central. They led 41-0 after only one quarter.
So how does head coach Philip Haywood keep his squad from looking past weaker opponents?
“You just have to take them one game at a time,” Haywood said. “I told the kids that last Friday night. We got by one and now we have to go on to number two. It’s easy to look ahead – but you have to stay focused. You have to play the game that is in front of you first and not be concerned about what lies ahead.”
“Even though we’ve beaten this team once, it was like 21-6 at halftime,” Haywood recalled. “The game was closer than the final score indicated. They moved the ball some on us and we didn’t play a perfect game by any means.”
“We feel like they have some pretty good skill players,” the Pirate mentor said. “We’re going to have to play. They will come in a lot more excited this time. They had a couple of guys out last time we played them.”
“They have a fullback that didn’t play and now he’s back. And one of their top halfbacks was also out,” Haywood said of Lawrence County. He said both of those starters will be back this Friday night.
“They looked a lot better against Morgan County and we’re going to have to play our best,” Haywood added.
Haywood said that his team “practiced real well last week” and it showed, especially on offense. Belfry was clicking on all cylinders. Junior tailback Justin Johnson returned from an injury and scored the first three times he touched the football. Senior Josh Robinson, junior Trinity Carr and sophomore Keaton Taylor give Belfry a nice mix of backs. Junior quarterback Sani Warren has directed the offense and is completing enough passes to balance out the potent rushing attack the Pirates’ are known for.
“We’re improving, but we haven’t put it all together yet,” Haywood said. “We still have to do some of the little things right. Hopefully the light will click on and we’ll start doing some of those things, especially on the offensive side of the ball.”
Defensively Haywood said his squad played well at times, but still has to take away some of the big plays, keep the ball in front of them and tackle well.
Belfry started putting in their reserves in the second quarter and played the JV squad the entire second half.
Lawrence County is led by their dual-threat quarterback A. J. Cyrus who has rushed for 1,001 yards and thrown for over 500 yards. Ricky Goble has rushed for 905 yards while Blake Prince has run for 707 yards this season. Bryce Skaggs has picked up 273 yards on the ground for the Dogs.
Prince has caught six TD passes for 274 yards.
Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. on Haywood Field.