Leadership in the trenches

Belfry center Ethan Wolford (55) gets ready to snap the ball in this file photo. Wolford is returning for his senior season at Belfry.

When you think of Belfry football, you think of tough, hard-nosed physical play.

It all starts up front.

And it all starts this season with one of the state’s top centers — Ethan Wolford.

Wolford is entering his senior season with the Pirates and will be one of the leaders on the line and the team in general.

“I’m going to have to lead big time,” Wolford said. “I’m going to have to be under pressure and take all of it in and be the guy to be there for the rest of the guys up front.”

The Pirates have been working hard this offseason.

That work is important with three spots to fill up front.

“I’ve been in the weight room,” Wolford said. “I’ve been trying to help get the younger guys ready for the upcoming season because we lost a lot of guys on our offensive line. Me and another guy are the only ones back, so we’ve been doing a lot of field work and getting ready for the season.”

The Pirates are known for their running attack on offense.

Belfry rushed for over 4,000 yards as a team last season.

“Here at Belfry, the offensive line is very important,” Wolford said. “If we don’t win the line of scrimmage, then we aren’t going anywhere.”

Belfry returns a lot of talent in the backfield with Isaac Dixon, Ben Bentley, new quarterback Brett Coleman and returning fullback Peyton Hensley.

That talent will help the offensive line develop quickly.

“It feels awesome,” Wolford said. “We just got to get on a body and give them a little crease and they’re gone. All you really have to do is get on a body for a split second and then, they’re gone.”

Belfry is always in the hunt in Class 3A. The Pirates should be in the mix once again by the time the playoffs roll around.

“I think we can go all the way,” Wolford said. “Hands down.”

Belfry will open the season Friday, August 23 against Southwestern at Pulaski County at 8:30 p.m. in the Don Franklin Bowl.

The Pirates will follow by hosting Lexington Christian Academy at 8:30 p.m. Friday, August 30 in the 35th Annual Community Trust Bank/WYMT Pike County Bowl.

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