GOODY, Ky. – The Truth is in the numbers ladies and gentlemen.
After breezing through the first two games of the season at home, the Belfry Pirates will hit the road to face Newport Central Catholic (NCC) on Friday night. The Thoroughbreds were the Pirates second closest game last season, the only game closer was Lawrence County where the Pirates won 27-23. The match with the Pirates and Thoroughbreds ended with the Pirates winning 28-10.
Looking back on the game, two crucial Belfry starters were out of the mix due to off-field issues and freshman QB Avery Browning was leading the Pirates. Browning only threw one pass which was intercepted and the Pirates stayed close to the running game with Andrew Fletcher and Derek Wellman taking charge and splitting the workload.
This year the Pirates are heading into the game with only one player in questionable condition. That is last year’s championship game MVP Andrew Fletcher. Fletcher left the first game of the season with a shoulder injury and the Pirates are giving that injury time to heal. Fletcher may suit up or may not, no report on his participation has been made at this time.
Heading into Friday night’s game the Pirates are as hot as a two dollar pistol. To give the fans a look at what they may be able to expect from the game it is necessary to look at the team stats from both sides to gain a comparative idea of the possible outcome.
Newport Catholic has played three games and has a record of 1-2. A season opening win against Scott County gave the Thoroughbreds a win but they followed up with two straight defeats against a team out of Cincinnati and Campbell County. The game against Campbell County was closer with a score of 33-28.
However, through three games NCC has a point accumulation of 89, while allowing 99 points against them. The Thoroughbreds have 607-yards rushing and 322-yards passing. NCC has only allowed 555-yards rushing to opposing teams, thanks to line backers Kurtis Sutkamp and Kole Caramack. The Thoroughbred defense seems to be stout in the middle but soft on the outsides with 645-yards of passing allowed, 342 of those yards coming from Cooper, the team out of Cincinnati.
What the Thoroughbreds will face is a Belfry offense that is churning out some big numbers. Through only two games the Pirates have more points scored, with 95, but have held opposing teams to only 25 points combined for the 2016 season. The Pirates have more rushing yards in two games with 637-yards and have allowed only 218-yards.
The Pirates passing game has only been used slightly but QB Noah Corbett has thrown two TD’s out of five passes, with three completions under his belt.
NCC has three primary backs that are utilized in the ground game. QB Patrick Henschen has rushed for four TD’s. Jason Decker and Kyle Kelly form the other two backs and have three TD’s between them. The rushing workload is even between the three players with Decker leading with 24 carries, Henschen has 24, and Kelly with 22. Kelly leads the Thoroughbreds with 186-yards rushing while Decker and Henschen are very close behind.
The Pirates on the other hand have many offensive weapons at their disposal despite Missing Fletcher on the field. In a perfect scenario the original look was supposed to feature Wellman staying more on the defensive side of the ball while Fletcher remained cemented in the fullback position. The Pirates have had to adjust but Wellman has done well working from both the fullback and linebacker positions.
Cameron Catron has been an absolute live wire during his senior season. Catron has two return TD’s, one receiving TD, one fumble recovery for a touchdown of 50-yards, and two receptions for 74-yards. Catron joins the ranks of many other Pirates who are waiting on their chance to cross the goal line.
Defensively the Pirates have fared much better than pre-season reports indicated. This is a good thing considering that NCC does have the ability to pass. Henschen has thrown for 303-yards this season with three TD’s, although he has also thrown three interceptions which may be useful to the Pirates leading pass stealer at the moment; Devin Varney. Varney has two interceptions so far with one fumble recovery; add that in with his seven tackles and you can see he is a busy man on the field.
Leading the Pirates on defense so far is Wellman with 15 tackles in two games, Cole Bentley follows with 11 and the rest of the field hovers from 7 to 10.
The Pirates will be making the trip up north to Newport, on the banks of the Ohio River, for a game that will begin at 7:30 p.m.
(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] on on twitter @sidplaster.)