GOODY, Ky. — The Pikeville Panthers won an absolute thriller against the Belfry Pirates on Friday night by a final score of 22-21 in front of a packed crowd at CAM Stadium.
Belfry was without star junior tailback Issac Dixon, and that was a huge blow for the Pirate offense as Pikeville came in ready to pull off the upset.
The game was scoreless in the first quarter, but the red and white struck first blood with 9:22 left in the second quarter as senior tailback Peyton Hensley found pay dirt from one yard out, and after senior kicker Grayson Cook’s extra point, it was 7-0 Pirates.
Belfry would get on the scoreboard again with 5:54 left in the second quarter as senior tailback Ben Bentley would cash in on a 22-yard touchdown scamper, and the home team would increase their lead to 14-0 after Cook’s PAT was successful.
Pikeville would respond on their next possession, however, going 50 yards in eight plays and capping off their drive with a 3-yard keeper by sophomore quarterback Issac McNamee with 2:39 left in the first half. The two-point conversion attempt was good by senior tailback Cody Raines, and PHS cut into the lead 14-8.
Belfry would lead Pikeville 14-8 at halftime.
The Pirates would come out of the locker room after halftime and respond with another scoring drive. With 8:36 left in the 3rd quarter, Hensley would find the endzone again for another 1-yard score, and Cook’s point-after kick went through the uprights, pushing the BHS lead to 21-8.
The maroon and white wouldn’t let this faze them. They answered with a time-consuming scoring drive of their own, going 11 plays in five minutes, and with 3:36 left in the third quarter, McNamee would hit senior wide receiver Seth Pugh for a 14-yard score. Senior place kicker Tanner Hamilton’s PAT try was good, and the Panthers came within one score at 21-15.
After Belfry went three-and-out on their next drive, Pikeville would again come through. With 8:34 left in the fourth quarter, the McNamee and Pugh connection would strike again, as they hooked up for a 32-yard score. Hamilton’s kick was again good, and Pikeville took a 22-21 lead on the Pirates and in good position to score an upset victory.
Belfry’s next two drives would ultimately do them in. On their next possession, senior tailback Isaiah Birchfield would cough up the ball back to the Panthers.
The next Panther drive would stall, so the Pirates got the ball back. They started at their own 16-yard line and would venture all the way into Pikeville territory to their 34-yard line, but the PHS defense would come up huge as senior linebacker Connor Wright intercepted a pass from BHS junior quarterback Brett Coleman.
That turnover sealed the monster win for the Panthers, as McNamee would then get the team into the victory formation to take a knee.
The fans from Pikeville who came to support their team erupted while fans from the home side started to quickly file out as Coleman’s pass was picked off.
Pikeville would defeat Belfry by a final score of 22-21 and improve to 5-0 in the process. It was only the second time in 19 years that the Panthers had defeated the Pirates on the road, and their first victory over BHS since Sept. 19, 2014, at the W.C Hambley Athletic Complex.
The maroon and white won the game despite being outgained in total yardage 330-208.
Hensley and Bentley both hit the century mark in rushing for the Pirates, with Hensley running for 132 yards on 17 carries and Bentley running for 115 yards on 18 carries. Coleman was just 1-2 passing the ball, his only completion coming to senior wide receiver Issac Spears for 33 yards. McNamee was 12-21 for 122 yards through the air for the Panthers, while Raines rushed the ball 22 times for 66 yards.
With the loss, Belfry fell to 2-2 and they continue a two-game homestand looking to rebound next Friday night against Magoffin County at 7:30 p.m.
Score by quarters
PHS (5-0): 0 8 7 7
BHS (2-2): 0 14 7 0
BHS: 1-yard run Hensley (PAT good by Cook) 9:22
BHS: 22-yard run Bentley (PAT good by Cook) 5:54
PHS: 3-yard run McNamee (Two-point by Raines) 2:39
BHS: 1-yard run Hensley (PAT good by Cook) 8:36
PHS: 14-yard catch Pugh (PAT good by Hamilton) 3:36
PHS: 32-yard catch Pugh (PAT good by Hamilton) 8:34