Sports staff writer
They say you can throw away the records once the post season playoffs begin. “They”may say that, but the words of wisdom did not apply in the opening round of the Class 3A Playoffs last Friday night in Stanton. A quick shutdown of the Jackson County Generals hopes led to a Powell County Pirates victory, their seventh in a row.
A low turnout, possibly because of weather concerns, could not dampen or slow down the roll Powell is on. The Pirates cruised to a 47-14 win over the outnumbered and out manned Generals.
The visitors opened the game with an impressive drive deep into Powell territory. But that 12 play drive was thwarted when Dionte Strange intercepted a pass from Generals’ quarterback Isaiah Baker on the Pirates 37 yard line. The home team did not take advantage though as a completed pass to Drew Ginter was wrestled away from him for an interception. The Generals were stopped again and it appeared that the Pirates were settling into a rhythm.
Powell hit pay dirt first on their second possession. After having a 50 yard punt return for a score called back due to a penalty, the Pirates went to their ground game and Nate Skidmore. Four plays later Powell capped of a 45 yard drive, all of the yards collected by Skidmore, including a one yard TD untouched. The extra point made it 7-0.
On the ensuing kickoff the Generals Andy Bryant dropped the ball and Powell’s Austin Trent recovered on the Generals 34 yard line. On the very next play quarterback John Brooks connected with Strange for a 34 yard touchdown. Bryan Baker’s extra point made it a 14-0 game.
The rout was on.
Jackson’s offense sputtered as Powell’s defense picked up their game even more. Before the first quarter ended the Pirates added another score. Following a huge 31 yard run by Steele Howard, Brooks connected with Trent on a 24 yard scoring strike. The extra point was wide left, but the Pirates led 20-0.
Powell stopped the Generals offense, while opening there sails for a full assault. The Pirates scored on their next three possessions. The first came on a 15 yard run by Skidmore. The second score showed off some Pirate offense. Howard picked up another strong 25 yard run up the middle. Ginter caught a 19 yard pass downfield from Brooks and Skidmore capped it off with a 19 yard run to the one yard line, then going into the end zone untouched on the next play.
The third straight scoring drive was a sight to behold as well. Skidmore broke loose for a 31 yard run down the near sideline. But was called for a penalty when he hurdled a Generals defender. The penalty did not dampen Powell offense’s mood. On the very next play Brooks hit a streaking Strange down the same sideline for a 51 yard touchdown. Add in some extra points and Powell led 41-0 with 3:30 to play in the first half.
Due to the mercy rule of a running clock after a team gets up by 36 points or more, the Pirates used some substitutes to close out the first half. Jackson County was able to move the ball and finally got on the scoreboard. Baker hit Tommy Thompson behind he Powell defense for a 31 yard TD pass. The extra point was blocked and the halftime score stood at 41-6.
The second half started with the running clock and several Powell starters on the bench as the JV team took over. Both sides continued to play hard, one side for experience the other more so for pride.
The Pirates scored on their second possession of the half as backup quarterback Blake Hall hit Tyler Charles for a 16 yard touchdown. The extra point was short, but Powell extended their lead to 47-6.
The Generals opened the fourth quarter with the ball and put together a lengthy drive. Beginning on Powell’s 40 yard line, the visitors drove downfield. They capped off the drive and their evening on a four yard run by Shawn Browning. Baker added a two pint conversion to round out the scoring. Powell took the win, 47-14.
Powell, now 7-4, was led on the ground by Skidmore with 146 yards on 10 carries and three touchdowns, all in the first half. Howard rushed twice for 56 yards, Justice Harmon had 31 yards on five carries, Braxton Ledford picked up 18 yards on three carries and Preston Wasson ran once for 13 yards.
Brooks was on fire again. The senior was 9-for-13 in the air for 174 yards and three touchdowns. Blake Hall came in and went 2-for-3 for 64 yards and a TD.
The receiving corps was led by Strange with three receptions for 93 yards and two TD’s. Ginter grabbed three passes for 49 yards and Jason Mullins caught one pass for 48 yards. Trent caught two tosses for 34 yards and scored, while Tyler Charles grabbed one pass for a 16 yard score.
On defense 16 Pirates picked up tackles with Brandon Pelfrey leading the way with six unassisted tackles. Devon Ditto had four unassisted and Charley Spencer had one unassisted to go with three assists. The team team had 37 tackles with only three being assists.
The win means Powell will host District 8 second seeded Casey County in the second round this Friday night. The Rebels beat Morgan County last week, 51-0 and enter the matchup with a 10-1 record. Their only loss has been to district rival Corbin.
“They have a good quarterback, good running back, good receiver. They have two big, quick defensive backs,” Pirate Coach Brandon Brewer pointed out when asked about Casey County. “They are a solid team, a good team.”
Corbin will host one of their district rivals, Bell County, this week. The Redhounds beat Knott Central 57-6, while Bell beat Breathitt 48-8 in the first round.
The Pirates and Rebels will face off this Friday evening at the PCHS Athletic Complex. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.