WILLIAMSON – Two local teams continue writing their story through the playoffs, but for one local team the story ends.
Belfry and Mingo Central both advanced to the next round on Friday night but the Tug Valley Panthers saw the final chapter of their Cinderella story as the fell to Tolsia 26-20.
Tug Valley-20, Tolsia-26. (end of season)
The Panthers made the Rebels earn it; no one can argue that. Tug put together a third quarter rally of 20 points to tie the game forcing Tolsia to score once more in the fourth to get the win.
Tolsia jumped ahead by 20 points with three short yardage scores from QB Logan Presley, only one two point conversion was made. Tug’s Johnathan Blankenship then rushed in one score and connected with Dawson Elia for another. Blake Dingess tied the game with a fumble recovery for a touchdown.
The Panthers just couldn’t hold on long enough and gave up a 43-yard score to Brian Campbell 2, late in the fourth.
The Panthers gave it an honest go this year and made it to the playoffs for the third straight year. Their junior class has proven to be something special with playoff appearances in all three years on the field. Next year is expected to be just as good with fresh talent coming in and the talented junior class staying put. But for this season, the Panthers will be moving their efforts from the field to the hard court.
Belfry-61, Fleming County-0. (advance to round 3)
To put it bluntly; if the Pirates show up to play in the next three games, it may be another state title for this historic team.
Belfry absolutely destroyed Fleming County on Friday night and that is putting it nicely. The Pirates scored at will when they had the ball and they covered the field on defense. One of the most spectacular plays of the night was Cameron Catron’s punt return for a touchdown.
Fleming County had a difficult time on special teams. On the Panthers first punt of the night, into the wind, the ball sailed straight up and traveled only about 12-yards. As the ball came back down to the turf most of the players on the field were watching to see where the ball would go, and most of the Fleming County players were jogging to the ball in hopes of downing it and just giving up field position. Catron had other plans for the play, as he dashed to position from a 25-yard sprint to catch the ball on the first bounce and dance into the end zone. The Pirate sideline erupted, the Panther sideline hung their heads; the game turned a complete 180.
Fleming County had little time to react and at that moment; fear set in. It had taken Belfry just seconds over a minute to score 14 points. Belfry would go on to score twice more in the first quarter and enter the second quarter with a 28 point lead. The Panthers were in deep water.
The Pirates will advance to play post season rival Russel this week. Somehow the Pirates will get home field advantage for the game. Explanations as to how they gained this advantage have been given but they are difficult to decipher and make little sense although, no one from Pond Creek Nation is complaining.
The Class-AAA playoff picture is forming and the Pirates can see some familiar names popping up in the games to be played. Elizabethtown beat Paducah Tighman, Central is showing power as they climb through the ranks, No.2 Bardstrown was knocked off by last year’s runner-up; Lexington Catholic, and Corbin is showing no signs of weakness either.
Let the predictions begin but, Pirate fans expect to make the trip to Corbin if Belfry defeats long-time rival Russell, and would welcome a rematch between Belfry and Central in the title game.
Mingo Central-55, Liberty Harrison- 7. (advance to round 2)
The Miners entered the playoffs like a shot gun blast in a quiet cemetery. Everyone knew the Miners were good but now the state knows who the Miners are.
In normal fashion the Miners took off with the score and QB Jeremy Dillon had a big league game with six touchdowns, as usual. The Miners had two players on the state record level, defensive back Thomas Harmon tied a state record with four interceptions in the game, and Tyler Grimmett set a state record with four touchdown receptions.
This is just the beginning for the Miners, because if they show up in every game forward they have as real of a shot to play in the championship game as any Class-AA team in the state.
Mingo wants it all and they may just get it but this week they will meet No. 10 Keyser and that should be a much closer game.
The Miners are seeing the usual suspects sift through the rounds as Bridgeport, Lincoln County, Fairmont senior, and Point Pleasant all advanced out of round one.
Should the Miners win this weekend and Point Pleasant defeats James Monroe the Miners will get to face the third other team to finish the season undefeated and may face the only other remaining undefeated team in the championship game , in Bridgeport, should they advance through.
Buckle in Miners fans because it should get bumpy the next few weeks but with the tires on Mingo’s offense they should be just fine.
(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.)