GOODY, Ky. - The Phelps Hornets squared off against the East Ridge Warriors on Friday evening at CAM Stadium in Belfry to kickoff the 35th annual Pike County Bowl and they defeated the Warriors for the third season in a row by a final score of 47-6.
The Hornets dominated in every facet of the game, scoring early and often as junior tailback Tyrell Hollis started the fireworks just 1:38 into the contest as he took a Warriors punt 65-yards to pay dirt, making it 7-0 Phelps.
The next drive from East Ridge stalled, but they got a chance to redeem themselves as PHS Senior Bryson Locklear muffed the ensuing punt which set the Warriors up on the Phelps 8-yard line. The Tribe failed to capitalize, however, as the Hornets defense held them for four plays without giving up a single yard.
On the home team's first offensive drive of the game, it took them just three plays to get on the board again as Hollis took a carry 87 yards to the endzone. The PAT was no good, and Phelps led 13-0 with 3:40 left in the first quarter.
In what was a recurring theme for the Warriors throughout the game, their offense couldn't end the next drive with points. It took Phelps just two plays to score on their next possession as junior tailback Dominick Francis went 46 yards to the house, and the successful 2-point conversion attempt extended their lead to 21-0 with 1:27 left in the first quarter.
Midway through the second quarter, Francis found the endzone again from 26 yards out, making it 27-0 Hornets after a blocked PAT attempt with 6:39 left in the first half.
After East Ridge again went three-and-out on their next drive, their punt was botched, setting Phelps up with great field position at the Tribe 8-yard line.
It wouldn't matter, however, as the road team held them after the blue and white committed and holding penalty, putting them in a fourth and goal situation from the Warriors 25-yard line. Hollis nearly found pay dirt but was knocked out just short at the two-yard line.
As the second quarter ran out, Francis continued his play making by intercepting a pass from East Ridge senior quarterback Trey Blackburn and taking It all the way back 35-yards for six, pushing the Hornets lead to 35-0 with another successful 2-point conversion as the first half came to a close.
Phelps got the ball to start the second half, and with 7:23 left in the third quarter, junior receiver Seth Mayhorn capped off an 8-play, 69 yard drive with a one yard touchdown run, propelling PHS to a 41-0 lead after an unsuccessful PAT try, thus starting the running clock.
The Hornets padded their lead with 11:27 left in the game as junior quarterback Riley Dotson kept the ball and took it 8 yards for a score, making it 47-0 Phelps after another failed PAT attempt.
With 3:12 left in the fourth quarter, the Warriors would finally get on the scoreboard as senior tailback CJ Branham took a double-reverse handoff 11 yards to the endzone, ending the Hornets' shutout and making the score 47-6 after an unsuccessful 2-point try.
The game would end with a Phelps victory and a final score of 47-6.
Francis earned Pike County Bowl MVP honors for the Hornets while Branham was named MVP for the Tribe.
Hornets head coach Andrew West, a 2008 graduate of Williamson High School and wide receiver on the Wolfpack football team, got a win on his resume to begin his coaching career. He gave his team credit for it.
"Tonight, the boys showed up and they were ready to play," West said. "I give all the credit to them. They've worked hard, they've been coming to practice every day doing everything I've asked them to do. It's a team win, and I can't take any credit for it alone. This is all about them."
The Hornets had the running game going all night, racking up 372 rushing yards. Two huge reasons for this were Hollis, who rushed for 150 yards and a touchdown on 6 carries, and Francis, who added 118 yards on 9 carries while finding pay dirt two times. West sees nothing but good things in store for them.
"They are still juniors, so they're still pretty young," he said. "They balance my offense very well and I can go either way with it. Defensively, they are my lock and anchor. They are both the leaders of my team and they both stepped up tonight and made plays on offense, defense and special teams. I'm extremely proud of the way they played."
Even after a blowout win, he knows his team can't look ahead too far.
"We're just going to try and keep this thing going," West said. "We're going to keep working hard in practice and treat every week as if we're 0-0. We're going to try and go 1-0 every week."
The Hornets are back in action this Friday night as they hit the road to play the Harlan Green Dragons in a 7:30 p.m. kick.
Score by quarters
ERHS (0-1): 0 0 0 6 - 6
PHS (1-0): 21 14 6 6 - 47
PHS: 65-yard punt return Hollis (Pat Good by Gooslin) 10:22
PHS: 87-yard run Hollis (PAT No Good) 3:40
PHS: 46-yard run Francis (Two-point by Mayhorn) 1:27
PHS: 26-yard run Francis (PAT Blocked) 6:39
PHS: 35-yard interception return Francis (Two-point by Hollis) 0:00
PHS: 1-yard run by Mayhorn (Two-point No Good) 7:23
PHS: 8-yard run Dotson (Two-point No Good) 11:27
ERHS: 11-yard run Branham (Two-point No Good) 3:12