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“We shall have no better conditions in the future if we are satisfied with all those which we have at present.”– Thomas Edison

The term "spoiled" is often over used and a bit harsh off the tongue. Connotations of the word bring forward temper tantrum prone toddlers and negative emotions associated with people who disregard value. As such, it is not fair to use the word "spoiled" when describing the Belfry fan base. The Pond Creek Nation remains one of the most devout fan bases in the State of Kentucky and often travel better than most any other school, their support does not waver. Yet, as Belfry prepares for their final home game of the 2016 season a growing sense of complacency is what I wish to address.

Complacency is different than being spoiled. Complacency comes from an increased sense of self-satisfaction, or contentment, and is often coupled with an unawareness of potential trouble. Simply put, complacency is the sweet spot where expectations of success meet the expectations for security.

It is hard to fault Belfry fans for succumbing to the comfort of raised expectations, the Pirates have seen their program transcend to elite status over the past 13 years and are currently on a run unrivaled by any Eastern Kentucky program before them. With that said, the "new normal" has caused a bit of comfort and expectation of success that has impacted the bleachers on Friday nights. When Belfry made their first State Title push Pond Creek, USA was the place of dreams for any purist of High School football. Every home game was Friday Night Lights and a capacity crowd. In 2004, Belfry hosted Prestonsburg and Russell in Round 3 and 4 and the crowds that gathered at Vipperman Stadium were the stuff of folk lore. People literally climbed trees on the steep hillside to catch a vantage point and Fire Marshall had to turn a Blind Eye to a capacity crowd that had to exceed the maximum limit those old concrete bleachers could contain. The 2004 Russell game was one of legend, Belfry secured a State Finals appearance in the last game at "Death Valley" and did so in a game featuring more star power in the backfield than the Stadium may have ever seen with 4 All-Timers for each historic program dueling for rushing supremacy.

Fast forward to the present and it is Russell again, on the precipice of the end of another legendary era in Belfry history, with two teams entering with sterling records. Instead of celebrating the last game Belfry fans were witnessing at their beloved stadium, they will be celebrating the last home game of a Belfry Senior class that have etched themselves in the record books and the permanent memory of red-clad Pirate fans ages 4 to 94.

Let's take a second to appreciate this class and establish the WHY of the significance of this game. I am a stats guy, so I will do what I know and break it down by numbers:

- This Senior Class has won 3 consecutive State Championships, 4 if you include their Middle School State Title as 8th Graders.
- This Senior Class has NEVER lost a competitive playoff game since they were in 8th Grade.
- This Senior Class has outscored their playoff foes 690-110 in the playoffs during their 4 years of High School.
- In their 3 State Championship appearance they are yet to allow an Offensive Touchdown in the State Finals
- Five of these Belfry Seniors were key contributors as Freshman to the State Championship victory
- Belfry has never had two Division 1 signees in the same class, this Senior Class is likely to produce four.
- This Senior Class has 8 players who have started for 3 or more years.
- This Senior Class alone had four players named to the All-State teams in 2015
- This Senior Class already has four players invited to participate in the "Best of the Bluegrass" All-Star game.
- Belfry's record over the past 4 seasons is 52-5, only 3 of those losses have came to KY competition
- Belfry has a 29 game Home Winning-Streak, this Senior Class is currently 33-1 at home for their career.
- Belfry currently has a 27 game winning streak against Kentucky competition, they are 45-3 against Kentucky Competition in their career.
- Belfry is 7-0 against teams that would go on to reach the State Finals that same season.
- Belfry has outscored their competition 2177-757 over the past four seasons, an average Final Score of 38-13.
- To this point the Belfry Senior Class will not have a losing record against a single opponent.
- Belfry is 26-5 over the past four seasons against ranked foes.
- RayQuan Horton will finish as Belfry's All-Time leader in Sacks and Tackles For Loss
- Cole Bentley is the first Pirate to earn "All-American" status with his invites to two post season All-American games

There is no denying that as Belfry fans have became comfortable with the success documented above, the vigor and attendance of home games have tapered off from the high point set in the early 2000's. The fact remains that on Friday when the Pirates host Russell, perhaps Belfry's most historical post-season nemesis, the fans of Pirates are guaranteed that this will be their last time seeing the greatest Senior Class in school history jog through "Tunnel Time" while 2001: A Space Odyssey rings over the speakers. The promise of another game is no longer guaranteed and the Pond Creek Nation needs to rise to the challenge of treating Friday as perhaps the last time they get to stand and cheer for a group of kids who have been the beacon of hope and promise in a community that has seen it's share of "down years" in the local economy since their run began in 2003.

So come Friday, bring your blanket, layer your red gear, stand, and cheer for greatness. Empty the hills and hollows of the Belfry community and make this a night of celebration and respecting history. Even if Belfry goes on to play two more times, Friday is the night that is intimately yours to simply say "Thank You" and give back emotionally to a group of kids who have given all their heart for four seasons.