Prep coaches Seals, Haywood talk Pike County Bowl
PIKEVILLE, Ky. - Community Trust Bank and WYMT held the annual luncheon for the upcoming Pike County Bowl (PCB) at the Hilton Garden Inn in Pikeville, Kentucky, and had football coaches from all eight high school teams present.
This will be the 34th year for the bowl since its inaugural games in 1985 when Pikeville defeated Cumberland (27-21) and Belfry beat Somerset (7-6). All money raised is distributed to all high schools located in Pike County, and more than $846,000 has gone to the schools throughout the life of the bowl.
Belfry coach Philip Haywood has coached in all previous Pike County Bowls. He is entering his 35th season leading the Pirates and said the PCB has brought great exposure.
“The Pike County Bowl, to me, has done as much for football in Eastern Kentucky as anything over the years,” Haywood said. “It has brought in all these great teams from across the state and even other states, like Huntington over in West Virginia, and in years past we’ve played Louisville Male, Highlands and other teams. It’s exposed them to us and us to them.
“It’s just been a fantastic thing, and had it not been for that we could still just be playing ourselves down here, then teams around the state would say ‘Who are those guys?’ because they wouldn’t have heard of us. So this has exposed this part of the state and I think it’s just a great thing and I can’t thank the bank and WYMT for doing this all these years.”
Belfry’s opponent once again this season is Huntington High. The Highlanders are coached by Billy Seals and play in Class AAA, the biggest classification in the Mountain State, where they are are one of the larger schools.
Seals said the PCB is a great way for his team to kick off the season.
“Last year we needed a 10th game, and you guys contacted us about the possibility of playing Belfry,” he said. “Obviously it’s a big opportunity for us to play a program like Belfry, and then the event just exceeded everything that we thought it would last year.
“Just the organization of it, the atmosphere, and obviously the quality opponent were all things that exceeded our expectations to be honest with you. It’s just a tremendous opportunity for our program and we’re happy to be back this season.”
The Highlanders defeated the Pirates last season, 45-34. Phelps head coach David Jones played in the PCB back in his days with the Belfry Pirates for Haywood and coached in the bowl for the past two seasons. He’s looking forward to coaching in front of his former fans at Belfry again.
Jones said it’s an honor to be able to play and coach in an event as prestigious as the PCB.
“It’s the best, I’m telling you. I was lucky enough as a player to play in the Kentucky/Tennessee All-Star game and it’s just like that,” Jones said. “Obviously we come from a small school, so to be able to play in front of 3,000 plus people and to play on Belfry’s field and historic stadium it’s just unbelievable.
“And not only is it a great experience for the kids, it helps the programs as well. We’re a small school with not much money, and we get money for this too which helps tremendously. So to be a part of this is awesome and we’re just blessed.”
Phelps beat the East Ridge Warriors last season, 32-9.
Tickets are available by presale at the schools participating in the PCB, at Community Trust Bank locations across Eastern Kentucky and in Williamson, West Virginia. Presale tickets are $6.