GOODY, Ky. — The football postseason in the state of Kentucky was initially scheduled to begin this weekend, just like across the river in West Virginia, but the Kentucky High School Athletics Association announced on Saturday that they were delaying the start of the postseason for one week to Nov. 20.
“The KHSAA notified member schools this morning that the start of the football playoffs will be delayed one week in an effort to provide schools and school systems time to review their situations and work with their health departments to determine the best course of action,” a press release issued by the KHSAA said. “The first round of the playoffs will now take place the weekend of Nov. 19-21 with no additional planned changes in the playoff structure at this point in time.”
The KHSAA also said that in the meantime, schools and school systems should review site strategies, seating capacities, and all other facets of the likely contests during this interim period and certainly remind students that what they do outside of practice and the game field can have a tremendous impact on themselves and those around them.
It is highly advised that all levels of school administration be in on hosting decisions and use this interim time to play out various “what if” scenarios based on hopefully changing data.
“It goes without saying that we are in the midst of issues within our state and the current status of the pandemic. I have stated all along that decisions made by our office, at any point in time, would be done so in the best interest of student-athletes. While it may be a calculated strategic decision that in time, we feel was not the best path, we have to make decisions based on today’s information because tomorrow is so unknown,” said KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett.
“This decision isn’t just about the few ongoing quarantines, it’s about 82 counties Friday being defined as “red” including the vast majority of the east. It’s about giving our schools time to deal with the issues around athletics which are not identical to the issues around the school day and as such, may need separate local discussions. One of the deciding factors in this situation is determining what course of action to take given today’s information, that we feel gives our students the best chance to have a postseason experience. We have been calculated and strategic throughout this process and will continue to do so.”
The Belfry Pirates and head coach Philip Haywood hope to defend their state championship title in 2020 and will be as near to 100 percent health wise as possible after a two week layoff between their final regular season game against Johnson Central on Oct. 30 and the first postseason game which will be on Nov. 20.
The Pirates finished the regular season with a 5-3 record but were 4-0 in district play. They are tentatively scheduled to open the postseason at home against Magoffin County in the first round and would then play the winner of Lawrence County and Pike County Central at home in the second round.
If BHS navigates the first two rounds, a road contest would likely lie ahead in the third round at either Ashland Blazer or Russell.
The Pirates have been led in 2020 by Kentucky Mr. Football candidate Isaac Dixon who finished the eight game regular season with 1,290 yards rushing and 19 touchdowns on only 93 carries.
Dixon also has two TD receptions and a kickoff return for a touchdown to give him 22 total scores in 2020.
BHS is in pursuit of the school’s eight state championship and sixth in the past eight seasons, after winning four straight titles from 2013-2016 and defeating Bell County 30-20 a year ago at Kroger Field for the school’s seventh state championship.
All seven of Belfry’s state championships have come under the tutelage of coach Haywood, who is the all-time winningest coach in the state of Kentucky with 454 career wins and counting.