Pineville 48, East Ridge 24
Panthers shut down Rams
By Randy White
Regional Sports Editor
The reigning Class A champions opened the season on the road Saturday evening against a tough Raceland opens.
The Panthers walked away with a 28-7 win to open the season.
The Panthers and Rams had a couple lightning delays in the game, but that couldn’t stop Pikeville’s offense.
Junior quarterback Isaac McNamee opened the season going 10 for 21 for 139 yards and a TD with two interceptions.
The backfield was the question for the Panthers and Blake Birchfield answered those questions rushing for 150 yards and two TDs on 12 carries to lead Pikeville. Nate Collins followed with 27 yards and a TD on nine carries. McNamee added 24 yards on four carries as well.
Pikeville’s backfield combined for 201 rushing yards on the night.
Zac Lockhart led the receivers with seven catches for 117 yards and a TD. Birchfield, Wade Hensley and Brandon Lowe each hauled in a reception for the Panthers.
Pikeville came up with three turnovers. Barrett Caudill recovered two fumbles for the Panthers and Mason Sayers also recovered a fumble.
Pikeville will have another huge test this week as the Panthers host rival Belfry at 7:30 p.m.
Perry Central 37, Pike Central 23
By Joshua Blankenship
HAZARD — The Pike Central Hawks football team led by head coach Eric Ratliff came up short to the Perry Central Commodores in a 37-23 lose in the season opener.
As the first half began, both offenses struggled to get going.
The Hawks began to move the ball on the legs of Noah Iricks and quarterback Tayvian Boykins.
Iricks, who ended the game with 83 rushing yards and a TD, gave the Hawks the lead before the half putting Pike Central up 15-13 going into the halftime break.
At the start of the third, Pike Central came out ready to continue leaning on the running game.
Sophomore running back Matt Anderson had a tough time getting going but regardless the Commodore defense had to account for him.
This opened up running lanes for Boykins, who took advantage of every opportunity the threat of Anderson allowed him.
Boykins ended the game with 125 rushing yards on 10 attempts.
He even started to connect with his number one target Keegan Bentley, who ended the game with 36 rushing yards and 75 receiving yards.
By the end of the third quarter the Hawks led the Commodores, 23-21.
The start of the fourth quarter marked the shift in momentum as the Commodores began to click on all cylinders.
The Commodores finished the game with 168 rushing yards and 171 passing yards on their way to the 37-23 win over the Hawks.
The Hawks however, did show flashes of the success they can have as the season progresses.
The Hawks did control the ground game, rushing for a total 274 yards.
Going forward Anderson is bound to be more effective and getting him going along with spreading the love to guys like Iricks and Boykins will give the Hawks a dangerous rushing attack.
Not only that, but if the rushing attack becomes that potent then Boykins will have more time to make plays through the air and give the Hawks a very versatile offense that will be a joy to watch.
Iricks also proved that when he is given an opportunity he can make things happen, meaning that’s just another weapon for Boykins and the passing attack, making it harder for opposing defenses to key in on Bentley as the season continues to progress.
The Hawks defense also showed the ability to stop plays behind the line of scrimmage as they had six tackles for a loss.
The Hawks are now preparing to face off against Letcher Central in their Week 2 matchup.
Keep an eye out later in the week for the preview on that road matchup for the Hawks.
Young Wildcats look good in opener
By Randy White
Regional Sports Editor
ROBINSON CREEK —There was a lot of questions about Shelby Valley coming into the season after losing a lot of players to graduation.
Some of those questions were answered last night as the Wildcats picked up a 46-14 win over Jackson County in the season opener.
How would freshman Russ Osborne look in his debut as starting quarterback?
Great for his for first game.
Osborne finished the night nine for 20 passing for 144 yards. He also carried the ball nine times for 64 yards and two TDs and he scored on two two-point conversions.
“What we’re looking at with him (Russ Osborne) is that this kid is just a freshman,” Shelby Valley coach Anthony Hampton said. “Now he isn’t the usual freshman, he’s talented and is kind of a blue blood of football, so he knows what’s going on. The first quarter, he was a little nervous like any freshman would be and I think the big lights and the big stage got to him a little bit. He kind of calmed down. He was so worried that he wants to be a leader, he can make plays, but he doesn’t want to make mistakes. We kind of took him to the side, myself and and coach (Tyler) Johnson the offensive coordinator and kind of explained to him that we know you’re going to make mistakes, but we’re good with that. Just go out and make plays and keep playing and having fun. Then he kind of settled down. Once he settled down, you could see him take charge of the offense and he got a lot of people involved, which is key this year. We’re not wanting to be just a one trick pony. We want to spread the ball around and tonight, I think every skill kid got a touch or a shot throughout the game.”
How would the run game look after Peyton Blackburn and Adam Johnson graduated on the offensive line?
The Wildcats rushed for 347 total yards.
Ethan Bentley led the rushing attack with 104 yards and two TDs on six carries; he added two catches for 18 yards. Jayden Newsome followed with 101 rushing yards and two TDs on nine carries. Senior Jordan Little added 50 yards rushing and a TD on six carries. Brady Bentley had two carries for 20 yards. Brady McCray had one carry for eight yards.
Tight end Lincoln Billiter led the receivers with four catches for 66 yards. Jesse Wright followed with one catch for 23 yards and Jordan Ratliff had two catches for 17 yards.
Shelby Valley’s new look offense produced 491 yards of total offense.
“Starting out the season with a win is good for any program,” Hampton said. “It’s good getting some momentum going. Some things we saw in tonight’s game were some things we expected. We’re very young and inexperienced. We graduated a lot of kids last year. Coming in, the coaching staff and I knew that we would have some nerves from some of the kids on a big stage. We started out a little bit sluggish in the first quarter. We kind of settled down in the second quarter. We had three or four scores in the second quarter and then they kind of took their foot off the gas pedal. That’s another sign of an inexperienced team. We dropped some balls that normally we would catch. That goes to we’re changing the scheme and what we’re doing. The more we throw, the more they’ll get comfortable. We had some dropped balls that kind of surprised us a little bit, but again that is probably nerves and things. I think as the season progresses, the kids will get comfortable and if we can stay healthy, we’ll be fun to watch.”
How did the defense do?
“One thing that we did this year is that we shifted to a 4-2-5 and that’s predicated more on speed and aggression,” Hampton said. “We told the kids one thing that we were going to focus on this year is turnovers and kind of blanking people and shutting people out. They really rose to the challenge. If I’m not mistaken, they (Jackson County’s offense) only got one first down, while the starting defense was in and that’s good. The younger guys who came in, they gave up a score, but I let them know that I expect them to do the same thing. We’re not just focused on the starters, we’re trying to build all the kids and all the program. I let the younger kids know that I expected them to get a little nervous and they did, but they have to rise up to the occasion too. That’s a part of becoming a great player.”
The Wildcats starters didn’t allow Jackson County to score and only gave up one first down.
Shelby Valley will travel to Phelps Friday night at 7:30 p.m.
Pirates cruise past Maroons
By Justin Holbrook
BELFRY — There has been a lot of news this year.
Even when it comes to sports.
And the term new normal has been popularized throughout our language, but on Pond Creek, some things never change
Belfry is still Belfry.
The Pirates might have installed new turf, but Friday night it was the same old Pirate football as usual as Belfry opened the season with a 33-13 win over Class 5A Pulaski County.
The Pirate offense was rolling strong Friday night, behind their tradition-rich run game. Belfry tallied 399 yards in the contest, with 388 of those yards coming via the rushing attack.
The Pirates led from start-to-finish, scoring on all four of their first half possessions.
Belfry Mr. Football candidate Isaac Dixon got Belfry’s scoring started, as he broke free for a 17-yard TD run to put Belfry ahead 6-0 with 5:49 to play in the first quarter.
The Pirates got on the board again in the second quarter putting together a long drive, capped off by a Kyle Webb TD run from three-yards out, extending the lead to 12-0.
Legendary Pirate coach Philip Haywood noted that his team kind of hit a lull early, but fought through it.
“We did OK,” Haywood said. “I thought we kind of got tired there in the first quarter and then we just kind of got our second wind in the middle of the second quarter. It wasn’t always pretty, but we got the win and we are glad for that.”
Pulaski County refused to go away throughout the game. Trailing 12-0, the Maroons went to work as quarterback Drew Polston found Chandler Godby for a 13-yard TD strike to trim the Belfry lead to 12-7, with 9:42 to play in the first half.
But Belfry had a response. Less than three minutes after the Pulaski score, Belfry scored again. This time it came at the work of the quarterback Brett Coleman. The senior broke free for a long run and capped it off with a score from the goal line to push the Pirate lead to 18-7.
Belfry led 21-7 at the half after Gideon Ireson added on a 27-yard field goal for the Pirates.
The Pirates scored twice in the second half, first on a four-yard run by Webb and Dixon capped off the scoring with an electric 33-yard run. Dixon led the Pirates, rushing the ball 14 times for 194-yards and two scores.
While it was early, Haywood took away a lot of positives from the game, but also noted that the Pirates have plenty to work on. But he expected that this early in the season and is simply happy to be on the football field.
“We can spend a lot of time in the film room this week,” Haywood said. “We have a lot of little things to work on. Usually you have two scrimmages to iron things out and we normally aren’t good after two scrimmages. Honestly, we are probably at the scrimmage stage for another two or three weeks, but that is OK. I’m just happy that our kids are getting to play; this is a great night for high school football.”
A scare for the Pirates came in the fourth quarter as star linebacker Seth Mounts went down with an injury to his elbow. Mounts went down and severe pain and was quickly placed in a sling before leaving the field.
The Pirates will visit country rival Pikeville Friday night, kick is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Hornets fall to Cardinals
By Trevor Thacker
PHELPS — The Phelps Hornets hosted their long awaited home opener Friday night, as they welcomed the Cardinals of Martin County on one of our nation’s most solemn days.
The Hornets fell to Martin County 52-40.
Phelps jumped out to an early 14-0 lead, however, the Cardinals punched it in the end zone on Logan Procter’s TD run. That cut the lead to 14-6 with 1:35 to play in the first.
Procter also picked up the ensuing possession’s fumble recovery, but the quarter came to an end with the Hornets up 14-6.
Martin County tied things up straight out of the gate to start the second, as the offense found the end zone once again with 11:31 to play. The try for two was good, and the Cardinals evened the score at 14-14.
After a big stop by the defense, Martin County struck again with 5:14 to play before the half. They opted for two once more, and converted taking the lead 21-14.
On the Hornets next possession, the drive looked promising, but the Cardinals caused another fumble with 3:49 to play and took over.
It was the Hornets that opened the second half with a boom. After opening the quarter, Phelps took over at the 20-yard line. With 11:46 to play, Dominick Francis called his own number and scampered 80 yards for the score. After tacking on the conversion try, the Hornets took the lead 22-21.
With 8:47 to play in the third, the Phelps defense caused the fumble and a minute later, it was Francis again going to the house to extend the Hornet lead to 28-21.
Francis had a huge night for the Hornets. In his debut at quarterback, he was six for 12 passing for 153 yards and two TDs. He also led the Hornet rushing attack with 126 yards and two TDs on 11 carries.
Martin County answered back with two TDs, one with just three ticks left. The Cardinals recaptured the lead 37-28 to begin the fourth quarter.
Francis opened the fourth with a huge pass to Cory Turnmire, which set up the TD run by Seth Mayhorn with 8:47 left to play in the game to pull Phelps within three.
Cardinals quarterback Charles Bowen added a TD run late as Martin County held on for the 52-40 road win.
Besides Francis’ big night, Seth Mayhorn added 52 yards and a TD on seven carries.
Cainan Land hauled in three catches for 76 yards and a TD. Corey Turnmire added a 50-yard reception. Christian Land also hauled in a 13-yard TD catch.
Landon Dotson led the defense with 14 total tackles. Bryson Locklear followed with 12 total tackles and Turnmire added 10 total tackles for the Hornets.
The Cardinals move to 1-0 on the season, as Phelps starts the year 0-1.
Martin County travels to Magoffin County next Friday night, as the Hornets will host Shelby Valley at 7:30 p.m..