MCKENZIE, Tenn. — Led by an extra stingy defense and a balanced offensive attack, the University of Pikeville football team shut out Bethel 22-0 on Saturday afternoon at Wildcat Stadium.
It’s the first shutout performance by UPIKE (2-2, 1-0 MSC East) since 2004 when it topped Belhaven (Miss.) 35-0 at home. Jack Hopkins led the charge on Saturday with nine tackles, while Romon Morris and Kenelia Jones both came up with interceptions.
It was total domination as the Wildcats gained just 174 yards of total offense, including 77 yards on the ground and 97 passing. UPIKE tallied 414 yards, including 254 passing yards from quarterback Sani Warren.
Warren finished 14 of 22, throwing a season-best two touchdowns, both caught by electric wide out Elijah Bell. Bell hauled in four catches on the day, gaining 151 yards which is the most for any Bear receiver this season.
While Warren and Bell shined, it was another solid performance for Quan Weaver, gaining 115 yards on 27 carries. Weaver has gained at least 100 yards in three of four games.
UPIKE’s first scoring drive was a good one, keeping the ball seven minutes on a 13-play 63-yard drive in the first quarter. The Bears picked up four first downs, including a 14-yard pass from Warren to Kawayne Hunter on fourth down at the Bethel 26.
Warren scored the touchdown on a 14-yard keeper, part off his 63 yards gained on the ground for the game. The score ended up being enough for the win, but the Bears kept things rolling with a 38-yard field goal from Damir Karapandzic in the second quarter to go up 9-0.
The last two UPIKE touchdowns came from Bell who hauled in a 65-yard pass in the third quarter and a 63-yard strike in the fourth.
It was a rough day for Bethel (1-2, 0-0 MSC West) quarterback Kerry Sellers II, in addition to throwing two picks, he completed just 4 of 19 passes for 72 yards. Jaquell Fitts was the Wildcats’ best back with 30 yards on four carries.
Other defensive leaders for UPIKE were Matthew Robinson and Nick Steff with eight tackles each and Camron Parsley with six tackles, two sacks and 2.5 tackles for a loss.
UPIKE will look to take this momentum into next weekend when it travels to No. 24 Reinhardt at Noon ET in Waleska, Ga.