GOODY, Ky. – As Belfry prepares to host district rival Pike Central tonight in the last regular season home game of the year, and just like the fall leaves, head coach Philip Haywood is hoping his team is peaking at the right time.
There is an old adage in sports about team’s hitting their stride too early and Haywood believes that is a scenario that can happen to some teams. However, he feels his band of Pirates are hitting on all cylinders as they play for the district championship tonight against the Hawks.
“The season is moving right along,” head coach Philip Haywood said. “We told our kids that last week. We are approaching the end and it goes by pretty quick. We want to get to the point that we are playing better – and I think we are – but a good thing for us is that I don’t think we have played our best yet.”
“This is the time of the year, especially the last couple of years, that we started playing better heading into the playoffs,” Haywood added. “Some years we kind of hit our stride in week six or seven. For whatever reason, it has taken a little longer the last couple of seasons.”
Haywood said a team can definitely peak too early.
“I think some teams do and then you have to maintain it,” Haywood said. “I don’t think we’ve done that. Sometimes it is your schedule and sometimes it is the mixture of your kids, or injuries – but, we certainly haven’t peaked by any means.”
“That is a good thing because we feel like our best football is still in front of us,” Haywood stressed.
The only major injury that Belfry has is junior tailback Justin Johnson, who is still out recovering from a concussion he suffered in the Ashland game. The speedy back will miss the Pike Central game and could also miss the season finale with Johnson Central next week. Other than that, there are the usual bumps and bruises and there are no major injuries.
Junior Trinity Carr has taken up some of the slack with the injury to Johnson. So has senior Josh Robinson and sophomore Keaton Taylor.
Haywood said he just wants his team to improve each day in practice and get better each game.
As Belfry hosts a Pike Central team that comes in with a record of 7-1, 4-0 in the district, they know the Hawks have put up some lofty offensive numbers this season. They are averaging 42 points per game and scored over 40 three times and they put up 62 in one game.
“Their offense is very strong. They spread it out and try to keep you off balance,” Haywood said of the Hawks. “They are a good football team. They’ll be excited about coming over here and playing for a district championship.”
Pike Central’s only loss came at the hands of Prestonsburg, which was a record setting performance for the Blackcats quarterback. The Hawks are coached by John Chapman.