It’s that time of the year once more, the weekend before Thanksgiving. The leaves have fallen, refrigerators are occupied with turkeys and the Pond Creek Nation filled the stands to watch the Pirates play Russell in another playoff game.
The last time these two teams met was in 2008 and the Pirates handed the Red Devils their worst loss in their playoff history 42-0. This time the Bucs sent the Devils back to Russell with a 42-14 defeat. With the win, Belfry moves to the Class 3A state semi-finals held at Cam stadium Nov. 26.
One month ago, the Belfry Pirate football team seemed to have hit a wall and post season success didn’t look promising for the young Buccaneers.
However, the Pirate football team put together three consecutive spectacular performances and will host an undefeated Somerset squad after the Briar Jumpers defeated Breathitt County 29-26 in their contest Friday night.
The Russell Red Devils entered Cam Stadium playing their best football of the season and it seemed the Pirates would meet their match.
It didn’t happen.
The Pirate D was once again superb and QB Tyler Williams ran Belfry’s offense with perfection. When the final buzzer sounded, the Pirates had dominated the Red Devils.
The first quarter ended with the Pirates leading 6-0 on a 4-yard TD run by Williams.
The second quarter was all about the Belfry defense and a hail-Mary pass.
The Red Devils couldn’t get anything going on offense but the Pirate’s offense was heating up. The Big Red began hurting the Devils’ 5-2 defense by gaining yardage on the corners.
Williams found pay-dirt a second time with 1:28 left in the quarter to increase the lead 14-0.
With just over a minute left in the half and with BHS defense shutting down Russell’s offense, it would have been a good time for the Red Devils to run out the clock, get to the locker room, make adjustments and try to turn things around in the second half.
The Red Devils decided not to wait for halftime adjustments. With nine seconds left, BHS Josh Dixon intercepted a poorly thrown pass and returned it 30 yards to Russell’s 34-yard line with 3.5 seconds on the clock.
The Pirates called time out and set up a play that everyone in the stadium could see coming; a Hail-Mary pass to the endzone.
Williams took the snap and Gibbs ran to the corner of the endzone. Williams lofted a beautiful spiral and Gibbs hauled it in for one of the season’s most exciting plays. With the PAT, Belfry took a 21-0 lead to the locker room.
The Bucs D gave up only 64 yards of total offense during the first half.
The Red Devils are a well-coached football team and it showed early in the third as they wasted little time cutting into the Pirate lead.
Taking over deep in Pirate territory after a sack and a fumble, the Red Devils lit up their side of the scoreboard when QB Patrick Cooper ran a keeper in from 3-yards out for the TD. With 8:01 left in the 3rd, Belfry’s lead was cut to 14.
But the momentum didn’t last very long for Russell as Belfry’s RB Jeffree Pruitt and the Pirate offense came right back in four plays to regain their three TD lead when Williams scored his third touchdown of the night. With 6:32 left in the quarter, Belfry led Russell 28-7.
Russell scored their second and final TD of the game and the third quarter ended with the Pirates 28, Red Devils 14.
The Pirates’ D would not allow the Red Devils anything else but their offense wasn’t finished just yet. With 9:42 in the game, FB Trey Willis darted across the goal line to increase the Bucs lead 35-14.
The Pirates added one more TD when Gary Runyon rumbled 21 yards for the score. The PAT was good and the final score was Belfry 42, Russell 14.
The Pirates will be put to the test next week when they go head to head with 13-0 Somerset. The winner will earn the chance to play for a state championship.