Hail Pikeville: Panthers visit Point Pleasant, WV for showdown with the Big Blacks

Well, Pikeville High School fell to a powerful Belfry team but not before acquitting itself way better than the 56-13 drubbing it suffered to the Pirates on Pond Creek in 2017. The final score from Pikeville, Friday night, was Belfry 36, Pikeville 21. That outcome didn’t dampen KPGFootball‘s belief Pikeville is the top Class 1A football team in Kentucky nor did it dampen the MaxPreps computer algorithm concerning the merit of the Panthers. KPGFootball voted Pikeville number one in its classification again this week, and, in the computer rankings, Pikeville is now ranked the 27th best football team in Kentucky, regardless of classification (out of 222 teams) and the 1,832nd best team in America.  Pikeville has a tough road trip, this Friday night, as the Panthers will head to Point Pleasant, WV to play Coach David Darst’s 4-0 squad which is rated the 10th best team in all of West Virginia. This game is one which may be tough on paper but one in which Pikeville has a good chance of emerging with a victory. We will take a look back at the Belfry game and then a look ahead at the Big Blacks from Point Pleasant, WV in this edition of Hail Pikeville.

A look back…

Zack Roberts

The Roberts boys were dealing, at least on the ground, against the Belfry Pirates last Friday night as Zack rushed the football 29 times, gaining 127 yards, and scoring 2 rushing TDs, while Connor rushed the ball 24 times, gaining 119 yards, and scoring one rushing TD. Connor completed 12 of his 21 passing attempts for 135 passing yards but failed to throw a single TD pass and was intercepted three times by the Belfry defense. Kyle Watkins lead the receivers in number of receptions against Belfry (5), and receiving yards (74), followed by Jackson Hensley, with 3 receptions for 19 yards, and Christian Billiter, who caught 2 balls for 15 yards. In the end, the three interceptions suffered in the passing game did the Panthers in as they lost for the first time on the year. On the night, the Panthers had 272 yards rushing on 59 carries with 3 rushing TDs, averaging approximately 4.61 yards a carry against a big, physical, Belfry Pirate football team which hasn’t lost to any football team from the Commonwealth of Kentucky on the young season.

Defensively, the Panthers had a hard time handling an offensive front from Belfry many outlets, including this one, considers the class of Kentucky football. The Pirates were able to shorten the game, control the clock, keep a potent Paintsville offense off the field, and all by pounding the ground and getting down-hill in the run game against the Panthers. That is how they play at Belfry and what one comes to expect when playing a Phillip Haywood coached team. Still, the Panthers were able to make a game of it against a team which is considered the 19th best football team in all of Kentucky regardless of classification.

A look ahead…

Next up for the Panthers is a Big Blacks team from Point Pleasant which is coming off a 53-21 win over Hoover High School from Clendenin, WV. The Big Blacks are 4-0 on the year. Point Pleasant opened 2018 with a 42-35 win against Mingo Central. Pikeville didn’t play the Big Blacks in 2017.

Point Pleasant is coached by David Darst. Darst’s team, in accumulating four wins in its first four games, has scored 267 points on the year and allowed only 84 over his first four games. The Big Blacks are the 10 highest rated team, regardless of classification, in the state of West Virginia and ranked 2,314th in the nation according to the Calpreps.com and MaxPresps computers.

The Big Blacks run out of the Spread and feature a largely ground based offensive attack which smatters in an effective and efficient passing attack. Point Pleasant averages, over the course of its first four games this year, 376.7 yards a night rushing, while only throwing for an average of 98.67 yards through the air. In its first three games, the Big Black, in scoring 20 TDs overall, scored 14 of those on the ground and threw for the other six. QB, Cason Payne, a senior, has yet to be intercepted on the year and has a QB rating of 134.0 thus far.

Cason Payne

As for Cason Payne, he is listed as one of the top dual-threat QBs in West Virginia. He is being courted, next level, by ETSU, Marshall, Miami of OH, and West Virginia. Payne is 6-2 and weighs 205 pounds and is probably more of a problem running QB power off the tackle’s hip than he is in the passing game. Payne, a 2019 prospect, is averaging 117 yards rushing a night. Payne has some help in the offensive backfield as Class of 2020 prospect, Brady Adkins (No. 26) is a 5-9, 155 pound speedster who is averaging close to 110 yards a night rushing and 12.7 yards per attempt. Adkins leads the team with 5 rushing TDs.

Point Pleasant playing Mingo Central

When Payne is throwing it, either Josh Wamsley or Andrew Jones are on the receiving end. Senior, Andrew Jones is a lengthy target at 6-0 and 185 pounds and Wamsley and he have caught, between them, 14 of Payne’s 24 completed passes on the year, entering the game with Hoover High, the statistics from which weren’t posted as of the date of this publicized article. The tandem, through the first three games, had also caught 5 of Payne’s 6 TD throws between them. One very important thing to note is that either Brady Adkins, Josh Wamsley, Cason Payne, or Andrew Jones have scored 12 of the 20 times the Big Black has crossed the opponent’s goal line over its first three games.

Our call…

For the second week in a row, the Pikeville Panthers have an opportunity to make a statement. Point Pleasant is a very good football team with very good players at the skill positions and the ability, like Belfry, to get down-hill in the run game. Point Pleasant isn’t as good as Belfry and we don’t believe the team is as good as Pikeville either. The outcome here hinges on how big of an advantage the home field comprises for the Big Black. KPGFootball believes Pikeville, on a neutral field, is a touchdown better than Point Pleasant. With the game being played in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, and giving three points to the home team, we believe that makes Pikeville a four-point favorite. This game will tell us a lot because this Point Pleasant team may be the best team remaining on the Panther schedule.

KPGFootball’s Prediction… PHS 32 – Point Pleasant 28

Join us next week as we look back at this game and preview the next match-up and give us a follow on Twitter @KPGFootball and subscribe to the on-line magazine by going to www.kentuckyprepgridiron.com and follow the prompts. Until next week, Panthers, this is Fletcher Long, reporting for KPGFootball, reminding all of the ballers out there to PLAY THROUGH THE WHISTLE.

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