Bell County escapes Belfry to keep journey to Kroger alive

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Published: Nov. 10, 2023 at 11:53 PM EST
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PIKE COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - Two of the winningest coaches in Kentucky high school football history battled in the second round of the 2023 state playoffs in hopes of keeping the journey to Kroger Field alive Friday night.

Philip Haywood, the winningest coach in the Bluegrass state with 480 wins, and the Belfry Pirates welcomed Dudley Hilton, the second-winningest Kentucky coach with 430 wins, and the Bell County Bobcats for an intense defensive showdown that was decided by a well-defended and failed two-point conversion.

The Bobcats went on a 16-0 run in the first quarter that was sparked by a Daniel Thomas touchdown and two completed two-point conversions. However the Pirates’ Dre Young would score twice in the second quarter and the team would also complete a pair of two-point conversions to tie the game at 16.

Bell County took the lead back ahead of the halftime break after Bobcat quarterback Blake Burnett launched a pass to the corner of the end zone and into the hands of Blake Evans to go up 24-16.

The back-and-forth showdown continued into the second half when Young punched in his third touchdown of the night, closing Bell County’s lead to two points, and prompting Haywood’s squad to go for two.

The referees ruled that Belfry’s two-point try was one yard short.

Both defenses kept each opponent out of the end zone for the rest of the game. Hilton and the Bobcats narrowly escaped with a two point win 24-22.

The last time Dudley Hilton took a Bell County team to Pond Creek, and won, was November 22, 1996.  In fact, that was the last time Coach Hilton got the better of his old rival.  The Bobcats’ win ends a 4-game skid vs. the Pirates and, for Belfry, just their fifth home playoff loss since 2006.

The Bobcats move on to round three of the playoffs.