PIKEVILLE, Ky. – Perhaps for the first time since the glory days of the 1980s, when Pikeville High School won three straight state championships, the Panthers have a shot at making it to the championship game of Class A in the Bluegrass State.
The PHS football team won the Class A State Championship in 1987, 1988 and 1989.
The Panthers reached the 2015 Final Four after downing Hazard 50-6 last Friday night at Hillard Howard Field in Pikeville for the Region IV title.
Senior Daric Pugh hit paydirt with 9:16 left in the first quarter on a 40 yard TD run. Denton Heffington booted the PAT to make it 7-0.
After a strong defensive stand by Coach Chris McNamee’s squad, Pugh scored again with 4:41 left in the first quarter. Heffington’s kick made it 14-0.
Pugh, who has had a great career at PHS, scored his third TD of the night with 11:47 left in the first half. The PAT made it 21-0.
Later in the first half, Panther QB Wyatt Battaile completed an 18 yard TD pass to Chatlin Jarrell. The extra point made it 28-0 with 1:40 left in the second quarter.
With only seconds left in the first half, Michael McDonald picked off a Bulldog pass and returned it for a score. Blake Charles bulled in for the 2-point conversion to make it 36-0.
That how the score stood as the two teams headed into the dressing room at the half.
Anthony Vanderbeck rushed for a six yard score with 4:20 left in the third quarter. The Heffington kick made it 43-0.
Tyler Elkins scored the last PHS touchdown of the night on a 15 yard run. The Pat by Kenton Hall made it 50-0. Hazard got a late TD for their only score.
The Panthers will now take on the top ranked Paintsville Tigers. Paintsville defeated Paris 48-28 in their quarter final game.
Pikeville (11-2) will make the short drive north up U.S. 23 to Paintsville (13-0) to take on the Tigers in the semi-finals for a chance to make it to the state championship game next week. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m.
Paintsville nipped Pikeville 23-22 in the regular season. It was one of only two losses the Panthers suffered this season and the only one to a team in their classification. The other loss was to Class 3A Belfry.
Score by quarters:
Hazard: 0 0 0 6 – 6
Pikeville: 14 22 7 7 – 50
(Kyle Lovern is the Editor for the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)