No. 1 in year 100: Paintsville wins first football state title in school history
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WYMT) - They say third time’s the charm. For Paintsville, it was a fourth trip to the state title game that got it done. For the first time in program history, The Tigers are football state champions. Paintsville defeated Kentucky Country Day, 38-7 in the Class 1A championship.
Paintsville finishes the season 10-2, flipping the script after last year’s state championship loss to Pikeville.
“Myself and this entire team give every bit of this glory to God. This team - I mean, I wouldn’t want to be a part of any other team with such an amazing coaching staff,” Senior Jake Hyden said. “This team’s battled through a lot this year. A lot of things didn’t go our way. We never stopped fighting and kept pushing through it and I’m just so thankful to be a part of this team.”
”A lot of guys, like Jake just said, stepped up did what they had to do to help the team win,” Chirico added. “We talk about we not me all the time and put the team first and put them ahead of you and your aspirations and that’s just a locker room for those guys. That believe in each other and care about each other.”
”100 years of Paintsville trying to win a state title. I take zero credit in this,” Joe Chirico said, head coach for the Tigers. “My staff, the players - they deserve every bit of the credit, not me. I’m just a guy got to be the head coach.”
Harris Phelps led the Tigers with 221 yards and a touchdown on the ground, earning MVP honors. Jake Hyden added three touchdowns for Paintsville. The Tigers dominated on the ground with 303 yards on the day in route to their first state title.
The Tigers got off to a fast start, scoring on their first two possessions of the game. Phelps opened the scoring with a 23-yard sprint for six to make it 7-0, Paintsville with 5:44 to go in the first quarter. After halting the Bearcats again, Jake Hyden punched it in in the second quarter to make it 14-0. Paintsville added a late field goal to make it 17-0 at the end of the half.
Paintsville struck first again in the second half. The Tigers took more than six minutes off the clock, resulting in a six-yard rush touchdown from Jake Hyden to make it 24-0.
The Bearcats tried to get back in the game with a Nathan Caldwell one-yard rush touchdown to make it 24-7 midway through the third quarter, but the Paintsville defense otherwise held strong.
Jake Hyden added his third rush touchdown with 5:12 to go in the game, followed by a Devin Hall scoop and score from 38 yards out to seal the deal for the Tigers.
The Bearcats end the season with a 10-2 record as well.
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