GOODY, Ky. – What was once a heated rivalry has not been much of a football game the past few years.
In fact, there are many fans who wish the schools didn’t play any longer.
But on Friday night, the Class 1A Pikeville Panthers will invade CAM Stadium to take on the Class 3A Belfry Pirates.
The game has been dubbed the Battle of the Mountains Bowl and is sponsored by Williamson ARH.
The Pirates are 3-0 so far this season with a 37-12 win over Somerset at home in the Community Trust Pike County Bowl, a big win 21-12 over 5A Harlan County, and a 38-27 victory last week over Southwestern 5A away.
Pikeville is 4-0 and owns wins over Prestonsburg, Hazard, Paintsville and Sheldon Clark.
Belfry comes in ranked No. 2 in Class 3A and Pikeville is ranked No. 4 in Class A.
“We’ve had a couple of good road games against some good opponents,” Belfry head coach Philip Haywood said. “Those were long trips. The coaches and everybody was tired on Monday. The travel kind of reminds you of the playoffs.”
The Pirates traveled two hours one way to Harlan County and three hours last Friday to Pulaski County.
“It was good experience for our team and we played a good football team in Southwestern. We are tickled to death to be 3-0 because we have played some good football teams,” Haywood added.
“Somehow we have outscored people. We haven’t really stopped anyone – but we got more points than the other team. Even though we haven’t blocked great, we have been ahead when the game ended,” said Haywood.
This week Belfry plays a Pikeville squad that might have its best team in quite a few seasons.
“They have a very good football team,” Haywood said of Pikeville. “They are averaging over 40 points a games. It’s legit because they have good offensive personnel. They have some good skill players and they are well balanced.”
Pikeville outscored Hazard 62-50, rolled up 49 points last week against Sheldon Clark and won their opener over Prestonsburg 37-20.
“They can run the ball, but they can also throw the ball. They will spread the field. We are going to have to play a balanced defense,” Haywood said of Friday’s contest. “Defensively, even though we are getting better, we are not real cohesive yet. It’s like the guy who plays one position – he is not relating to the player who is playing on each side of him. We are still learning to fill alleys and lanes. I think that was exposed last week.”
“Even though we gave up more points that we have, we played pretty good defense last week. But, we are still learning. We are going to be challenged this week. Pikeville is a good football team,” Haywood stressed. “They are better defensively than people think. It will be a good test for us.”
Belfry is led on offense by senior quarterback Sani Warren, senior backs Trenity Carr and Justin Johnson and junior back Austin Hatfield. Younger running backs Andrew Fletcher and Xondre Willis have also seen some action in the backfield.
The Battle of the Mountains has the makings of a real shootout on Friday night. As always a huge crowd is expected for the game.
The game time on Haywood Field is 7:30 p.m. and as always the contest can be heard on WDHR 93.1 FM with Bobby Norman and Steve Mickey.