GOODY, Ky. — The Belfry Pirates disposed of the Pike County Central Hawks on Friday night at CAM Stadium, scoring early and often en route to a 60-0 victory in the second round of the Class 3A 2019 UK Orthopaedics/KHSAA Commonwealth Gridiron Bowl playoffs.
With 9:02 left in the first quarter, senior Pirate tailback Peyton Hensley would take a handoff and run 82 yards for a touchdown. Senior placekicker Grayson Cook’s PAT was no good, and Belfry lead 6-0.
On the Red and White’s next possession, Hensley’s fellow backfield partner in senior Ben Bentley would find paydirt on a 40-yard scamper to the endzone. Cook’s PAT was unsuccessful again, but the Pirates extended their lead to 12-0 with 6:15 left in the first period.
With 2:52 left in the first quarter of play, it was junior tailback Issac Dixon’s turn to join in on the scoring. He would rush the ball 41 yards to the house for another touchdown for the hosts. Cook’s extra point was good this time, and BHS pushed its lead to 19-0.
Coach Philip Haywood’s squad wasn’t done tacking on points in the first quarter. After an interception by senior safety Isaiah Birchfield, the Pirates would take advantage. With 2:17 left in the period, junior quarterback Brett Coleman uncorked a 32-yard pass to Dixon that he would catch in the endzone for another score. Cook’s PAT split the uprights, and BHS led 26-0.
Just 16 seconds into the second quarter, Bentley’s number would be called again. He would score this time on a 57-yard dash to pay dirt. Cook’s PAT try was successful, and the home team pushed their lead to 33-0 with 11:44 left in the first half.
On the Hawks’ next drive, Birchfield would come up with his second interception of the game off of junior quarterback Curt Anderson, and this time he would return it 55 yards for another Belfry touchdown. Cook failed to tack on the PAT, and the Pirates’ lead was now 39-0, which activated the running clock with 9:50 left in the second quarter.
With 3:06 left in the second quarter, one of Belfry’s backup tailbacks junior Chris Warren would join in on the scoring action. He would take a handoff and run 33 yards all the way to the house. Cook succeeded on the extra point attempt, and the Belfry lead swelled to 46-0 going into the break.
At the start of the second half, BHS put backups in on offense and defense. One of them on offense was sophomore quarterback Israel Canterbury, who would cash in on a 1-yard keeper for a touchdown. Sophomore kicker Gideon Ireson’s extra point was good, and the Pirates lead 53-0 with 5:39 remaining in the third quarter.
It isn’t too often that you see Belfry put up 60 points in a football game, but on this night, they pulled it off. With 8:10 left in the game, freshman tailback Chris Phillips would capitalize on a 2-yard touchdown run. Ireson’s PAT was good, and Belfry’s lead was now 60-0, which would be the final score.
With the win, Haywood’s team was named the KHSAA Class 3A Region 4 District 8 champions. Belfry gained 393 yards of total offense on the night.
To say it was a tough night for the Pike Central offense would be an understatement. The Pirate defense made it hard on them all night, as Eric Ratliff’s team managed just 23 yards of total offense in the game.
The Hawks’ season would come to an end with a 8-4 record, with two of the defeats coming to Belfry. They are now 0-29 all-time against the Pirates.
Belfry improved to 8-3 with the win and will look ahead to Friday night as they face head coach Tony Love’s 9-2 Ashland Blazer Tomcats in the KHSAA Class 3A Region 4 championship game at CAM Stadium.
Blazer has one of the best two-headed running attacks in all of Class 3A as they boast a pair of 1,000 yard rushers in senior Blake Hester and junior Keontae Pittman.
Hester led the team with 1,626 yards and 19 touchdowns while Pittman had added 1,110 yards and 15 more scores going into their district championship win against Russell last week.
Pocket quarterback Jake Gregg has added 911 yards passing and 10 touchdowns on the season while only tossing one interception. JT Garrett is the leading receiver for the Cats as he has 22 catches for 371 yards and three scores on the season.
This is Ashland’s first year back in 3A after having played in 4A in recent years. Their two losses have come to the hands of out of state opponents as they fell 34-33 to Wheelersburg, Ohio, and 35-0 to West Virginia power Spring Valley.
This will be the first time the two teams have met since the 2012 season and the first time they have squared off in the postseason since 1990 when Ashland won 35-20 at Al Vipperman Stadium.
The Pirates are only 3-18 all-time against the Tomcats with the last win coming in 2011 — a 7-6 game at CAM Stadium. All three of the Belfry wins have come under the direction of coach Haywood.
The Pirates have been defeated in the quarterfinal round each of the past two seasons, as they look to advance to the semifinals for the first time since 2016, when they were on their way to the last of their four straight Class 3A State Championships.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m on Friday night at Haywood Field.
NOTE: Jarrid McCormick contributed to this article.
Score by quarters:
PCCHS (8-4): 0 0 0 0 — 0
BHS (8-3): 26 20 7 7 — 60
BHS: 82-yard run Hensley (PAT no good by Cook) 9:02
BHS: 40-yard run Bentley (PAT no good by Cook) 6:15
BHS: 41-yard run Dixon (PAT good by Cook) 2:52
BHS: 32-yard catch Dixon (PAT good by Cook) 2:17
BHS: 57-yard run Bentley (PAT good by Cook) 11:44
BHS: 55-yard INT return Birchfield (PAT no good by Cook) 9:50
BHS: 33-yard run Warren (PAT good by Cook) 3:06
BHS: 1-yard run Canterbury (PAT good by Ireson) 5:39
BHS: 2-yard run Phillips (PAT good by Ireson) 8:10