Physical, ground-pounding Knights look at Belfry and see themselves
ONA — When Cabell Midland looks across the line of scrimmage at Belfry, the Knights see themselves.
Those two high school football powers clash at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Belfry. The Belfry Pirates (5-1) feature a big, strong, physical line on both sides of the ball and a powerful running game that eats up time and wears down opponents. Cabell Midland (3-3) can be described in the same manner.
“Yes and no,” Knights coach Luke Salmons said of whether the teams’ similarities make preparation easier. “They only run about eight plays, but they’re really good at what they do. They make plays and get off blocks. We still have to make plays.”
The Knights have made plenty of plays in recent games. Two weeks ago, Cabell Midland led then-top-rated Capital in the second half before falling 21-7. Last week, the Knights gained
500 yards and gave up just 40 in a 17-0 triumph at Riverside.
“We’re getting better,” Salmons said. “We’re playing really physical. We’re getting guys in the right position. Our kids are excited to go down there and play.”
Belfry has won six in a row since a 17-9 loss to Huntington High in the season opener. The Pirates didn’t score fewer than 36 points in any of those victories. Ben Bentley, Kevin Browning, Brett Colenersman and Isaac Dixon are all strong run capable of big plays, but are content to pound a defense for continual 4-yard carries in lengthy drives.
Cabell Midland counters with powerful and speedy tailback Ivan Vaughn, who carried 21 times for 100 yards against the Pirates last season in a 35-14 loss. The teams were tied 14-14 in the third quarter before Belfry pulled away. Vaughn ran for 153 yards on 26 attempts last week.
Salmons said he is pleased with his team’s defense and that the unit will need a strong effort Friday night.
“Our defense is doing a great job,” he said. “Our offense is getting into a groove, and you can see it.”
A problem that has plagued the Knights, though, is too many penalties. Cabell Midland was flagged 21 times for 195 yards last week and is averaging 12 penalties for 122 yards per game.
“We has a lot of penalties last week that hurt us,” Salmons said. “We can’t do that this week. Belfry is enough of a challenge.”
CABELL MIDLAND (3-3) at BELFRY (5-1)
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday
WHERE: CAM Stadium, Belfry, Ky.
RADIO: 97.9-FM The River