GOODY, Ky. – The 6-1 Belfry Pirates will be traveling to Inez this Friday to face the 2-5 Sheldon Clark Cardinals.
The Belfry Pirates and the Sheldon Clark Cardinals are both running teams. The Pirates have accumulated 1,844-yards rushing so far this season and the Cardinals have rushed for 1,577-yards through seven games.
The Pirates run defense has allowed 761-yards against them and the Cardinals have allowed 919-yards rushing against them throughout the season. The Pirates have allowed just under a thousand yards passing to opposing teams this year but the Cardinals only have 307-yards passing on 13 total completions.
The comparisons end as soon as you get to individual stats. The Pirates have four different players who have scored over 30 total points during the 2015 season. Derek Wellman leads the pack with 42 combined points on seven rushing touchdowns, but his teammates are not far behind. One of the four players with over 30 points is Austin Woolum who has been automatic with extra-point kicks and field goals. Woolum has made 27 extra-points so far this season and three field goals. The Cardinals have only one player with over 20 total points scored. Brandon Butcher has 54 points on 10 rushing touchdowns and two receiving touchdowns.
Butcher averages 90-yards a game and has rushed for 628-yards on 85 carries. The Cardinals quarterback, Blake Harless, has rushed the second most with 318-yards on 56 carries.
The style of offense that the Pirates run, allows for use of multiple players on minimal plays. They use a wing-T offense and they also use the power ‘I’ formation. This allows the Pirates to run the dive, stretch, counter, option, and pitch running style. The Pirate offense is very precise and works the ball up field very steadily. The Belfry running game has become somewhat fumble clumsy over the last two games. This nasty little problem cost them against Cabell Midland two games ago and caused Lawrence County to stay close during their last game.
The Cardinals are led defensively by seniors Corbin Mann and Braden Mills. Mann has 50 total tackles through seven games and Mills has 53 total tackles on the season. Grant Marcum and Andrew Tackett help Mann plug up the middle of the field on the defensive line.
Defensively for the Pirates there are seven players with over 30 total tackles. Austin Hall, Cole Bentley and Ray Horton defend the middle running lanes. Hall has 30 total tackles, Bentley has 32 tackles and Horton has 40 tackles. Chase Dove, Cameron Catron, Nate Sanger and Wellman control the outsides and the deep middle. Dove has 38 tackles, Catron has 42 tackles, Wellman has 42 tackles and Sanger has 43 tackles. One thing is for certain, the Pirates are stepping forward to hit someone.
First year head coach, Adam Turner is working to improve the Cardinals one game at a time. The Class 3A Cardinals have been sinking low in numbers for a couple of years and Coach Turner and the rest of the Sheldon Clark program are working to build up their program and rise above the past.
Longtime head coach Phillip Haywood has worked for many years to formulate a system that he knows will work. Haywood has disciplined his team to fit the structure that has made him one of the most winningest coaches in Kentucky high school football. The Pirates have faced a snag or two so far this season but over all have been rolling right along toward another Class 3A championship.
The Cardinals will rely on their go-to points producer; Butcher, the Pirates will stick to the proven game plan that has hung those state championship banners up at Belfry High. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. on Friday night.
(William Plaster is the sports reporter for the Williamson Daily News, he can be reached at 304-235-4242 ext. 2274 or at [email protected] or on twitter @sidplaster)