GOODY, Ky. – Even when the Pirates travel it can still be considered a home game because of the devotion given by Pond Creek Nation, except this time it will be the final home game for one of the best classes to ever grace the field at CAM Stadium.
Belfry is set to take on Russell in the third round of KHSAA playoffs tonight, if they win tonight they still lose home field advantage.
Russell finished the season in the No.1 seed, and received a BYE in the opening round. Last week the Red Devils defeated neighboring Pike County Central 56-14 setting up a match with the Pirates. This is not good news for Russell, considering the last time Russell beat Belfry in a post season matchup was in 2005 and that was the last time they won a state title. Both teams were in Class-AA back then, during Belfry’s back to back championship years of 2003-2004 Belfry beat Russell 39-17 in the semi-final round in 2004.
Russell has had a great year thanks to veteran players in key positions. The Red Devils are a year older than the team Belfry beat 42-12 in the second round last year. Russell graduated 17 seniors during the offseason but the biggest key player they lost was QB Jacob McKee, most of their offensive stars returned.
The Pirates will face a team that has scored 378 points this year but only allowed 106 points scored against them. With the help of playing one less game than all other teams still in contention in the playoffs Russell is second in points allowed, they only fall behind Corbin who has only allowed 98 points this season.
Russell’s only loss of the year was to Class-AAAA Ashland Blazer in a close one point game, the final score was 8-7. However, Russell has defeated all common teams with the Pirates in Fleming County and Bath County, the Pirates round one and round two opponents. Russell beat Fleming County 30-7 back in late September and beat Bath County 55-6 in late October.
Russell’s offense is evenly balanced with the run and the pass. Number 17, Austin Smith, runs the offense now and has combined for 16 touchdowns on the season. He has rushed in four TDs and passed for 12. Although, out of Smith’s four interceptions this year he gave up two interceptions to Class-A Raceland because of the defensive pressure in the backfield.
The Red Devil rushing attack is led by (No.4) Nick Conley who has broken the thousand yard mark on 160 carries. Conley accounts for 18 of the Red Devils scores rushing and is also used well in the passing attack. Conley is joined by (No.19) Grant Bates who has scored 15 times on only 21 carries. Smith is used in the rushing game but only occasionally.
Landon Brewer is a name that Pirate fans might remember as he accounted for one of the Red Devils two touchdowns during last year’s game. Brewer (No.18) leads the Red Devils receiving corps once again with 671-yards on 46 catches with seven receiving TDs.
The Red Devils defense is looking good this year. Most of their tackles come from the defensive line and linebacker positions but the defensive backs have been a little busy this year to. Drey Boehm (No.10) has snatched down six interceptions this year for Russell’s defense.
Russell knows who they will be up against, it’s the same faces they have lost to for the last two years up front. The pirates have had to make some adjustments due to Jordan Scott’s foot injury but the team has made up for the loss and continues to dominate opponents on the line of scrimmage.
The way Belfry has been playing means that in order to stay in the game; Russell will have to score as often as they can. Belfry has three players with over 500-yards rushing and three players with over 400-yards rushing and all of those players have five or more TDs. The Belfry offense has one of the best problem a coach could ask for and that is internal competition. Belfry keeps the ball going to the hot hand and that’s only if players aren’t stealing the show on their own in special teams.
Belfry’s defense has been playing extremely well this post season which gives Pond Creek Nation tunnel vision on the road to Bowling Green. Belfry has been able to sweep any little mistakes under the rug during this post season thanks to a big difference in the score. If Russell can keep the game close it could be a close game but Belfry gets ahead on the scoreboard early they will stay ahead.
If the Pirates win, this will mark the end of an era for the spectacular senior class. If the Pirates advance they will lose home field advantage during the semi-final match regardless of the outcome from the Corbin and Casey County match. That means this will be the final game at CAM Stadium for the group that has been winning since they showed up four years ago.
The Pirates senior class has come this far and won every single year. It doesn’t seem likely that they will stop at this point.
Kick off is set for 7:30 p.m. tonight at CAM Stadium.
The administration at Belfry High School has released the information below regarding the game.
Class 3A Regional Championship-Belfry vs Russell-7:30 P.M. CAM Stadium-Friday, November 18, 2016
Reserved tickets are now on sale in the main office at BHS. Season ticket holders have first choice of seats and must be picked up by Noon Friday, Nov 18, 2016. Tickets that are not picked up by the deadline will become available to the public. For more information call Candy at 237-3900.
General Admission $6.00
Reserved seating $8.00
Press/Sideline Passes—BHS Football Games
Any member of the news media/photographers, etc., must have a press/field pass issued by Belfry High School to be allowed on the sidelines. These may be picked up at the press gate or at the school during the day. Relatives of participating athletes will not be allowed on the sidelines. Only news, radio and school personnel will be allowed on the field. All media must be approved by the BHS administration.
No chairs, other than stadium seats that can be attached to the bleachers may be carried into or used in the stadium.
No peanuts or sunflower seeds are allowed in the stadium.
CAM Stadium is a tobacco free stadium.
(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.)