GOODY, Ky. – The only thing higher than Belfry’s points on the scoreboard was the number of flags during the game.
Belfry was not without mistakes during the regional playoff matchup against the Russell Red Devils but they walked away with a big 43-12 win and a regional championship.
Despite the continuous game stoppages from penalties Belfry put together another solid performance and earned a trip to face Corbin in the semi-final round next week, at Corbin. It didn’t take the Pirates long to put up some points and once they started, they just couldn’t stop. Belfry led Russell 21-0 after the first quarter and 36-6 at the half.
Russell lost the coin flip to begin the game and Belfry chose to defer. The Red Devils were pumped full of energy on the opening drive but once the penalties began flying they found themselves backed up and needing to pass. Belfry took advantage of this on the first drive when Derek Wellman pulled in an interception and returned it five yards to set Belfry up on the 11-yard line. Welllman punched in the score from 2-yards out and also added another close score from 5-yards out with 5:30 left to play in the first quarter.
Wellman’s back to back scores were only capped by a big special team’s play from Avery Browning. After Belfry’s first two scores Russell set up for the punt but was penalized for not having enough players on the line of scrimmage after the kick. A re-kick was performed and Browning took the ball 65-yards to the house to give the Pirates a 21-0 lead.
Russell worked into a fourth-and-one situation and planned on going for it near mid-field. Although, a penalty set them back and forced another punt. On the Pirates next possession magic happened when QB Noah Corbett rolled left and launched the ball into the air except, the pass was blocked and the ball sailed straight up and straight into the unsure hands of lineman Austin Dotson. Dotson caught the ball and gained a decent 10 yards before he was knocked out of bounds by the Red Devils, but still he recorded a catch since the ball had bounced off of a Red Devil defensive man first.
With 9:46 left to play before halftime Cameron Catron scored for the Pirates on a 25-yard scamper to the end zone, then things got a little weird.
During the extra point attempt both teams compiled five penalties on four different attempts at the play. Russell’s coach was given two side line warnings before the play happened, there was a neutral zone infraction by the Red Devils, a delay of game by the Pirates, and a roughing the center penalty on Russell. When the play finally came to fruition, holder Devin Varney muffed the hold and was forced to pick up the ball and run. He made it in,giving the Pirates two more points on the play that lasted ten minutes; making the score 29-0.
Russell made it onto the scoreboard with 6:13 left to play before halftime after a broken play set them up in their own red zone after a lengthy chase. Maxx Blackburn rushed in for Russell and when Belfry jumped early on the extra point kick they went for two from the 1-yard line. The two point conversion was no good and the score stood at 29-6.
Belfry worked the ball down to their own red zone on the next possession and Catron put up the points on a 20-yard catch and score from Corbett. Woolum added the extra point and Belfry extended their lead to 36-6.
That would turn out to be the halftime score and both teams would only score once more in the second half.
To start the second half, Belfry received the ball and marched down to the 1-yard line. A fumble in the backfield gave the ball back to Russell and Blake Thompson, a linebacker, returned the ball down to Russel’s own 30-yard line. Russell was ready to get into the end zone until Woolum pulled in an interception to give the ball back to the Pirates.
With time running out in the third quarter Belfry fullback Andrew Fletcher punched in the Pirates final score from 29-yards out and with another extra point from Wooolum the Pirates leveled out at 43 points.
Russell scored once more before the end when Nick Conley danced into the end zone from 14-yards out but the effort was too little too late.
On balance, Belfry had a good game. They outscored their opponents 36-6 in the first half and the seniors got a win on their final game at CAM Stadium.
Belfry finished with 386-yard rushing on 46 plays. Wellman led the way on the ground for Belfry with 140-yards on 17 carries with two scores.
Belfry had just over 400-yards of total offense including Corbett’s lone completion to Catron for the score but they held the Red devils to nearly half with 235-yards of total offense. Russell had 148-yards rushing and 87-yards passing.
Belfry had a three way tie for tackle leader with Chase Dover, Ray Horton, and Wellman each getting 11 tackles a piece. Austin Fields finished with eight tackles on his own.
Now that the Pirates have won the regional championship they will move on to face a Corbin team that is expected to be more challenging. The Pirates defense has been the foundation of the team this season while the offense has remained one gear down. Their defense will get the ultimate test next week against the pass-happy Corbin offense that has scored 472 points this season.
Scores by Quarter:
Russell: 0 6 0 6 – 12
Belfry: 21 15 7 0 – 43
(William Plaster is the sports reporter for the Williamson Daily News, he can be reached at 304-235-4242 ext. 2274 or at email@example.com on on twitter @sidplaster.)