Other than the Lexington Henry Clay game, the one bump in the road for the Belfry Pirates this season, they haven’t had that hard of a path to travel so far this football season.
That will change Friday night when the Pirates sail to Ashland to take on Paul Blazer High School at intimidating Putnam Stadium.
Belfry heads into the game ranked No. 4 in Class 3A in the Bluegrass State, while Paul Blazer is rated No. 6 in Class 4A with a 6-1 mark. Their only loss was to Ironton, Ohio, a perennial football power in that state.
So something will have to give and this should be a classic game between these two terrific teams.
The Tomcats own wins over George Washington, W.Va., Boyd County, Russell, Lawrence County, Racleand and Rowan County.
Their leading player is Quentin Baker, who has rushed for 716 yards and scored 13 touchdowns. Evan Yongue has 308 rushing yards and four scores.
The Paul Blazer quarterback is Aaron Elam who has passed for 531 yards for five TDs and rushed for 222 yards and a pair of scores. He has completed about 50 percent of his passes. His favorite targets are Malik Massey who has three receiving touchdowns and Logan Salow who has 201 receiving yards and a TD.
Belfry’s first team offense and defense didn’t get a lot of reps last week against East Ridge. However, this week they should be tested.
Belfry is averaging 45 points per game on offense and giving up 11 points per game on defense. Take away the Henry Clay game, where Belfry gave up 40, and the Pirates are limiting their opponents to just five points per game.
Meanwhile, Ashland is scoring an average of 40 points per contest and allowing 14 per game. The Tomcats are led by 6-foot-3 defensive end Cade O’Bryan. He has scored three TDs by stripping the pigskin from receivers or recovering fumbles and returning them for scores this season.
Belfry has a balanced offense led by junior tailback Justin Johnson with 729 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns, followed by junior Trinity Carr with 550 yards and six TDs. Others who have gotten into the act for the Pirates are senior Josh Robinson with 292 yards and four scores. Robinson has also scored twice via the pass. Keaton Taylor has four rushing TDs and 125 yards on the ground, while Austin Hatfield has three TDs and 257 yards rushing.
Junior Sani Warren leads the Pirate offense at quarterback. Belfry’s special teams could also play a key role in the game. The Pirates speedy backs are capable of returning punts and kickoffs for scores at any point in the game.
On defense, Belfry is led by Payton Mullins, Tony Messer, Madison Ghormley, Zack Thacker and a host of other players. The Pirates have a solid team effort on defense. In the secondary, Robinson has four interceptions, while Cameron Johnson has a pair.
Belfry defeated Ashland 7-6 in a hard-hitting affair last season at CAM Stadium.