GOODY, Ky – The (8-1) Belfry Pirates will finish off the regular season at Johnson Central against the unbeaten (9-0) Golden Eagles this Friday night.
The Pirates and Golden Eagles have been scheduled to play the last game of the regular season dating back to 2007. As of now the Golden Eagles hold a one game victory over the Pirates in the nine game series. Since this rivalry began Johnson Central has won five of the matches and Belfry has won four.
Last year the Pirates won the 41-0 and went on to win the Class-AAA championship. Johnson Central made it to the Class-AAAA championship game but lost to South Warren 36-6.
Belfry head coach Phillip Haywood said, “This is a good game for us at a good time of the year. They are a big school with big kids. It’s always a competitive game and is a good challenge for us before heading into the post season. This game is a great way for us to gauge just how far we have come from the beginning of the season before we head into the playoffs.”
The Pirates will certainly be tested by a great defense and an overpowering rushing attack. The Golden eagles have scored 407 points this season while only allowing 85 points scored against them. Johnson Central began the regular season with a big win over Capital, W.Va., and followed with wins over Lexington Catholic and South Charleston, W.Va.
Lexington Catholic, the team that Belfry beat last year for the Class-AAA title was able to score 27 points against the Golden Eagles making them the highest scoring opponent of the year.
These two football powerhouse teams use each other as the main test before the post season begins. Although as much as the urge to win is important staying safe and healthy is just as important with the post season beginning the next week.
Coach Haywood said, “They are a big strong team with a big strong defense, they get to the ball quick and hit hard. On offense they run the ball really well but mix in enough passing to catch you off guard. We will need to be mindful of both but we will really need to stop the run.”
The Golden Eagles have compiled 2,971-yards rushing this season on the ground while only allowing 613-yards against them. Their rushing attack is led by sophomore Joe Jackson who has 1,186-yards on 98 carries this season with 17 rushing TDs. The Golden Eagles have five other players with good rushing stats but none of them compare to Jackson. Quarterback Riley Preece has gained 674-yards through the air on 42 completions for 12 passing TDs this season. Georadan Blanton has caught seven of Preece’s 12 touchdown throws.
The Pirate defense has done well against the run this season with only 944-yards rushed against them. The offense is known for the rushing attack but the ace up the sleeve is Belfry’s passing game. Noah Corbett has completed nine passes this whole season but he has also thrown seven passing touchdowns.
The Pirates and Eagles are set to square off this Friday at Eagle Field in Paintsville. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
(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.)