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Belfry head coach Philip Haywood talks with quarterback Brett Coleman during game action in the opening round of the 2019 UK Orthpaedics/KHSAA Class AAA Commonwealth Gridiron Bowl at CAM Stadium.

GOODY, Ky. — The 2020 high school football season in Kentucky was in doubt for much of the summer due to COVID-19, but football will finally be played in the bluegrass starting this Friday.

The defending Class 3A State Champion Belfry Pirates and head coach Philip Haywood will begin their pursuit of the school’s eight state title on Friday night in a home contest against Class 5A Pulaski County on the brand new field-turf at CAM Stadium.

The Maroons were a late addition to the BHS schedule as the game was announced in late August and gave the Pirates a much needed eighth game.

PCHS head coach John Hines ball-club finished 7-4 in 2019 playing in the state’s second biggest classification and is expecting to improve on that record in 2020 as they welcome back all but one player from a year ago, including junior QB Drew Polston.

Polston finished the 2019 season for the Maroons with 1,944 yards passing with 18 touchdowns to only five interceptions. The sophomore also added 494 yards rushing and two more scores on the ground.

Polston’s top target Jake Sloan is back on the outside after grabbing 77 passes for 899 yards and five scores in 2020, as is Grant Oakes (395 yards, five TDs) and Tristan Cox (252 yards, six TDs.)

Cox was also the leading rusher for PCHS in 2019 as he totaled 509 yards on the ground and eight scores.

Konnor Hargis is the top defender back on the defensive side for the Maroon after he totaled 127 tackles a year ago, including 21 tackles for loss.

Cox was a tough two-way player as he followed Hargis with 94 tackles including 20 for a loss while Chase Parmalee recorded 81 total tackles and a team leading five sacks.

Seven different Maroon defenders are back that picked off a pass in 2019 including Jacob Sheppard who led the team with two interceptions.

The Pirates welcome back a pair of talented seniors in the backfield in halfback Isaac Dixon and quarterback Brett Coleman who will lead them in 2020.

Dixon ran for 1,191 yards and 13 touchdowns for Belfry in 2019 despite missing the better part of four games due to an injury. He also hauled in three touchdown receptions on the season and was named the MVP of the Class 3A State Title game when he ran 15 times for 228 yards and three scores as he helped the Pirates defeat Bell County for the school’s seventh state title.

He along with Coleman (231 yards, six TDs) are the majority of the offense returning for BHS as they did lose two 1,000 yard rushers from 2019 in fullback Peyton Hensley and halfback Ben Bentley to graduation.

Coach Haywood would not commit to a starting rotation in the backfield in the preseason and with no scrimmage games allowed in 2020 he said that those things would have to sort themselves out in the regular season.

Defensively, the Pirates will have a new look as they lost seven seniors who contributed a year ago but they do welcome back senior Seth Mounts at linebacker after he totaled 112 tackles in 2019, including a team high four sacks.

Belfry coach Haywood are 3-0 all-time against Pulaski County, winning three straight games against them in the postseason from 1996-1998.

Coach Haywood is searching for career win No. 450 with the victory on Friday night, as he looks to extend his record for most career wins by a head coach in Kentucky. He enters play with a 449-137 career record.

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. on Friday night at Haywood Field on the brand new field-turf which was just installed at the beginning of Sept. Due to guidelines set forth because of COVID-19, fan attendance will be limited at CAM Stadium in 2020.

Jarrid McCormick is a reporter for the Williamson Daily News. He can be reached by email at jmccormick@HDMediaLLC.com.