CORBIN, Ky. – The Belfry Pirates earned one more trip to Bowling Green with a stunning 42-17 victory over Corbin on Friday night.
Belfry got off to a very sluggish start but when the Redhounds got ahead by two and half scores they realized they had awoken a sleeping giant. The momentum change in the game can be traced back to one specific play.
With just under three minutes to play in the third quarter Corbin faced a fourth-and-one on the goal line. If they had of scored they would have taken all the wind out of the Pirates sails by taking a size-able three score lead. Corbin had utilized the running work of QB Cameron Sizemore all game with good results, instead of using the almost guaranteed score from Sizemore the Red Hounds elected to go with a trick play on the one-yard line that turned into a Belfry fumble recovery on the 12-yard line. Belfry would go on to score 28 points in the fourth quarter.
“I don’t think we were frustrated at the half but our kids knew they hadn’t played real well in the first half. We told them before the game that Corbin was going to come out with a lot of adrenaline,” said Belfry head coach Phillip Haywood.
Corbin did exactly that by scoring 17 points in the second quarter. The Redhounds had home field advantage and more support than a team could dream of. The Redhound fans lined every inch of the stadium except for the small pocket tat held the devoted Pond Creek Nation.
Corbin got on the board first with a field goal from John Lowe. They followed with two long pass completions for touchdowns to give them a score of 17.
Belfry’s Taveon Hunter was able to score on a 48-yard rushing touchdown with 3:29 left to play before the half.
Despite having the ball with just under a minute remaining in the half Belfry was unable to score before halftime and entered the locker room down 17-7.
Haywood said, “It was what we normally do at halftime, we brought up some plays that we believed would work and we told the kids Hey! We have been down a lot worse than this before now its time to come back.”
Belfry entered the second half receiving the kickoff but was unable to score of the opening drive of the second half. That was when Corbin lost the ball on the fourth-and-one. “That bad snap on fourth-and-goal was probably the biggest play of the game. If they had of punched that in we might have been in a little more trouble,” said Haywood after the game.
Belfry regained the momentum and with 26 seconds left in the third quarter gained a lot more with a huge 73-yard rushing touchdown from Hunter. Hunter turned out to be the Pirates saving grace through the game with four rushing touchdowns. He scored the first, the second, and two in the fourth.
As the Pirates momentum grew more and more Pirates began to make plays. Defensive mad man Ray Horton forced the Redhounds into a third-and-12 on their opening drive of the fourth quarter with a big tackle for a loss on Sizemore.
Belfry took the lead over Corbin with 8:04 left to play in the game with his third score and Grayson Cook took away all of Corbin’s hope with a big interception on their next drive.
Haywood said, “Our kids were really excited about playing and once they felt the rhythm coming they knew they were taking the game over and couldn’t be stopped after that. We constantly talk about taking over the game in the third and fourth quarter. Now they got after us in the first half, there’s no doubt about that but, as the game progressed we became stronger and the more dominant team.” Haywood continued by saying, ” I’m real proud of our team, a lot of teams in this situation at this point in the season might have given up and crumbled they went out in the second half and just played like champions.”
Belfry continued to grow throughout the fourth quarter with a score from Cameron Catron, an interception by Catron, another long score by Hunter, a fumble recovery for touchdown by Austin Fields, and a final interception by Derek Wellman to seal the win for Belfry 42-17.
Belfry earns their seventh straight trip to the championship game and a chance at their fourth straight Class-AAA title.
Belfry will get a rematch in the championship game with Louisville Central who they have faced four times out of their last six championship appearances and beaten once. Central punched their ticket for the show with a 21-14 win over Eizabethtown.
“This is huge because we really had to play hard to get to another championship game. Of course, it’s been a goal of ours all season. Now we are in a position to do that and our kids are thrilled about it. We will worry about hat starting tomorrow.
Leading Belfry in rushing was Hunter with six carries for 201-yards and four scores. Wellman had 11 carries for 50-yards and Catron had four carries for 27-yards and a score.
Austin Woolum was perfect on the night on extra points going six for six.
Belfry held Corbin to 66-yards rushing on 34 carries and no rushing scores but allowed 212-yards passing on 19 completions with two passing scores.
Belfry’s defense was led by Chase Dove, Wellman, and Fields who had 12 tackles apiece, Cook finished with eight tackles. Cook, Catron, and Wellman had interceptions.
Belfry combined for 319-yards rushing on 29 carries with five rushing TD’s and three rushing first downs.
Scores by Quarters:
Belfry: 0 7 7 28 – 42
Corbin: 0 17 0 0 -17