GOODY, Ky. – The Belfry Pirates will travel to Paintsville this Friday to take on Johnson Central in their regular season finale.
The Pirates (6-2) sail into the game ranked No. 5 again this week in Class 3A, while Johnson Central is ranked No. 6 in Class 4A with a record of 8-1.
The Golden Eagles are coached by Belfry alum Jim Matney. Their only loss came at the hands of Knox Central in the third game of the season. Johnson Central edged by Ashland Paul Blazer 22-21 last week in overtime. The Tomcats defeated Belfry 35-20 a couple of weeks ago.
Belfry Coach Philip Haywood said he likes playing a tough opponent before heading into the playoffs.
“We like to finish the season with a strong team and it helps us get ready for the playoffs,” Haywood said.
“We played Ashland a couple of weeks ago. We used to play Ironton, Ohio toward the end of the season a few years ago,” he added.
“It is going to make you better when you play good competition,” Haywood said of the tougher teams on the Pirate schedule.
“Our philosophy is just to take it one week at a time and there is some excitement in the air when it gets to this time of the year,” Haywood said. He is pleased with the faithful fan support the Pirate entourage has given the team.
“We need for the folks to get out Friday night and anticipate a good crowd,” Haywood said.
Belfry has a strong running game led by juniors Trinity Carr and Justin Johnson, senior Josh Robinson and sophomore Keaton Taylor. Junior signal caller Sani Warren guides the offense. When he passes his primary targets are the running backs on screen passes and tight end Tony Messer, along with split ends Eli Huddle and Cam Johnson.
Payton Mullins, Madison Ghormley and a strong defensive line have led a stingy Belfry defense. Belfry’s offensive line consisting of Michael Barnes (6-4, 347, jr.), Antonio “Tuffy” Willis (5-8, 333 lb., sr.), Zach Taylor (6-0, 262 lb., sr.), James May 6-2, 219 lb., sr.), Derrick Jude (6-4, 277 lb., sr.) and Joey Duty (5-11, 225 lb.) open some big seams for the Pirates running backs.
Belfry won the district championship last week with a win over Pike County Central. They will head into the Bluegrass State playoffs next week and will be hosting the Knot County Central at CAM Stadium.