GOODY, Ky. — The Belfry Pirates cruised in the opening round of the UK Orthopaedics/KHSAA Class AAA Commonwealth Gridiron Bowl in a Thursday night contest at CAM Stadium as they put a running clock on district foe Floyd Central and won by a final score of 47-6.
The Pirates (7-3) started off fast as they reached the endzone three times in the opening quarter and built a 19-0 lead.
Senior Isaiah Birchfield got the scoring started with a 57-yard interception return with 9:54 still to play in the first, and then junior Isaac Dixon found pay dirt just over two minutes later on a 46-yard sprint. Senior Ben Bentley wrapped up the scoring with an 18-yard sprint with 2:50 to go, and Cook’s PAT gave Belfry the 19-point advantage.
Coach Haywood’s club continued the onslaught in the second quarter as they added three more scores with all three coming via the ground game. Dixon added another score from six yards away before Coleman ran it in from eight yards out with 2:30 to go in the half.
After the Belfry defense forced a three and out, senior fullback Peyton Hensley broke free from 55-yards away with 1:40 left to go in the half. Cook’s PAT was good once again as the Pirates took a 39-0 halftime lead and set up the running clock for the rest of the contest.
With the game already in hand coach Haywood gave his starters some much needed rest for the entire second half on both sides of the ball.
Belfry would add their final score on their first drive of the second half as sophomore running back Brendan Rash broke free from 23-yards away. Sophomore Gideon Ireson’s PAT was good, and the Pirates took the 46-0 lead with 7:43 still left in the third.
The visiting Jaguars finally got on the board late in the fourth quarter when senior Gavin Martin punched it in from six yards away with 3:01 to play Caleb Hager’s PAT was good and the score reached the final tally of 46-7.
Belfry dominated the line of scrimmage as they ran for 406 yards on only 31 carries on the day while Floyd Central only totaled 134 yards on 44 plays.
Hensley and Dixon led the Pirates with 118-yards rushing apiece, with Dixon finding the end zone twice and Hensley once.
Bentley added 67 yards on six carries and a score while Coleman also found the endzone running two times for 24 yards.
Rash ran the ball four times for 40 yards in the second half while backup fullback Chris Warren rushed four times for 18 yards.
The win for the Pirates improves them to 7-3 on the season and was win number 445 for coach Haywood as he continues to add to the record for most wins in the history of the Bluegrass State. He now has a career record of 445-137 and a postseason record of 89-32, with all but three of those playoff wins coming at Belfry.
The Pirates will return to action in the second round of the postseason on Friday night against district rival Pike Central in a 7:30 p.m. kickoff at CAM Stadium.
Belfry is 28-0 all-time against the Hawks including a 55-14 beatdown earlier this season at the Hawks Nest on Oct. 25.
Check out Wednesday’s Williamson Daily News for a preview of the Pirates second round playoff matchup.
Score by quarters
FCHS (3-8): 0 0 0 7 – 7
BHS (7-3): 19 20 7 0 – 46
BHS: 57-yard interception return Birchfield (Cook missed PAT) 9:54
BHS: 46-yard run Dixon (Two-point run no good) 7:34
BHS: 18-yard run Bentley (Cook PAT Good) 2:50
BHS: 6-yard run Dixon (Cook PAT no good) 6:55
BHS: 8-yard run Coleman (Cook PAT Good) 2:30
BHS: 55-yard run Hensley (Cook PAT Good) 1:40
BHS: 23-yard run Brendan Rash (Ireson PAT Good) 7:43
FCHS: 2-yard run Martin (Hager PAT Good) 3:01
Jarrid McCormick is a reporter for the Williamson Daily News. He can be reached by email at jmccormick@HDMediaLLC.com.