After losses at Middlesboro and last week at home against Hazard, the Cougars of Letcher Central hoped to get things back on the right track this past weekend. But to get on the right track they would have to travel to Belfry. The Pirates and legendary coach Phillip Haywood are always a powerhouse in Class 3A and although they entered the game with a record of 1-2, you knew it would be tough to go into Cam Stadium and beat the Pirates.
The Cougars won the toss and elected to receive the ball. The Cougars, behind quarterback Logan Johnson, moved quickly into Pirate territory with Johnson picking up most of the yards on the ground. The Cougars, with the help of a facemask penalty on the Pirates, moved inside the Belfry 25. But the Pirate defense stepped up and forced the Cougars into a fourth-down situation. Johnson picked up the first down on a keeper all the way to the 11-yard line, but the Pirates held them again and set up another fourthdown play. Again, Johnson went up the middle and this time he hit pay dirt and the Cougars led 6-0 with 6:11 in the first quarter.
The Pirates received and moved out to the Cougar 49. Robinson had a big run all the way to the Cougar 6. They would get to the Cougar 2 on the next play, but the Cougar defense stepped up in a big way. At the end of the first quarter the Pirates had a fourthand one, but the Cougars stopped it cold. They took over after the great defensive stand on their own 4-yard line.
Then things got crazy. Johnson handed to Drew Bentley as he was lined up in the end zone. Belfry tackled him before he could get out of the end zone and the Pirates got credit for a safety. The score was 6-2 and the Cougars had to kick it back to the Pirates. The Pirates returned the ball to the Cougar 48.
The running game of Belfry started to get in gear as the Pirates moved to the 41, and then Trey Willis went up the middle all the way to the Cougar 1-yard line as Bentley came up with the stop. Willis scored on the next play and just like that the Cougar 6-0 lead was gone and it was 9-6 Pirates after the extra point.
The Cougars put together a drive after the kickoff and got to the Belfry 40. A pass to Matt Boggs got the ball to the 33, but the drive stalled and the Cougars turned it over on downs. The Pirates tacked on another score before halftime on a pass from Williams to Gibb and the score was 16-6 at the break.
The second half saw the Pirates take up where they left off . They took the second half kick and, behind their fullback Runyon, they got to the Cougar 40. Runyon got the honors on the next play as he went up the middle untouched all the way to the end zone.
The Pirates led 23-6 but just as quickly as they scored the Cougars answered as Chris Tyree took the kickoff at the 15 and ran back toward the end zone to avoid tacklers all the way to the 1 and then he saw an opening and he was off . He took it all the way back for the score and the Cougars were back within 11 at 23-12. Tyree had two big runs last week against Hazard on kickoff s and he is definitely a threat when he gets the ball.
Belfry and the Cougars traded punts and the Cougars mounted a drive. Behind the running of Johnson and Jesse Rose, they got to the Pirate 20-yard line. On the next play Johnson found Matt Boggs in the end zone for a beautiful touchdown and the conversion was good to pull the Cougars within three at 23-20.
The momentum shifted quickly back to the Pirates in a big way. The Pirates took the kickoff and went on off ense. The running game was in high gear and they moved to the Cougar 14-yard line. Pruitt got the call and took it in from 14 yards out to make the score 30-20 Pirates.
Later in the fourth quarter after a big kickoff return from Logan Johnson, the Cougars had the ball at the Pirate 17. With the chance to pull within 3 again, disaster struck. Johnson was flushed out of the pocket and was hit and lost the ball. Preston Young picked it up for the Pirates and the big lineman took off all the way to the end zone with 4:40 left in the game and the Pirates were in control with a 36-20 lead.
The Cougars turned the ball over on downs on their next series and the Pirates tacked on another score late as Williams scored on a quarterback keeper up the middle to set up the final score at 42-20. The Pirates had scored 19 unanswered points to coast to the victory.
The Cougars had their chances and they made some big plays, but the safety early in the game and the fumble late really hurt them. Logan Johnson had a big game on the ground with over 100 yards, but the Pirates shut down the passing game.
The Cougars fell to 1-3 and now they will get a much needed week off before they travel to Perry Central to take on the Commodores. The Commodores just beat the Bobcats of Breathitt County so the Cougars will have their work cut out for them as district play starts.
The week off will be good for the Cougars and they should be ready to go when they travel to Perry Central.