Belfry 2017

  1. #1
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    Belfry 2017

    What does Belfry need to do to improve in 2017? What do they need to keep doing to be successful? Remember, please be constructive.
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    ATLCat's Avatar
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    What does Belfry need to do to improve in 2017?

    Honestly I don't think they can. The past two Belfry teams were perhaps the two strongest teams to ever come out of EKY and took Belfry to new heights. Belfry ruled 3A with an iron fist and outscored their playoff foes effectively 5:1 over the past two seasons.

    Belfry... as in enrollment under 700 in rural Pike County, KY..just had five players sign to play Division 1 football, three of which on the Oline, including two Power 5 signees, and also perhaps the most dominant Defensive player in school history. That is a HUGE hole to fill for a 3A school! It honestly would not be fair to expect this team to be on that level, let alone improve.


    What do they need to keep doing to be successful?

    Despite everything above, this question though can still be answered.

    Belfry just lost one of the most successful Senior Classes in Kentucky History. Yet, I still think they will firmly be right at the top as one of the most likely contenders to win the 3A Title for a 5th straight season.

    Belfry is absolutely loaded with talent at the RB and LB Spot. FB/LB Derek Wellman is one of the best Iron Man players in the State. RB Peyton Hensley and HB Taveon Hunter are poised for breakout seasons. Joining Wellman at LB are returning started Austin Fields and Grayson Cook who both shined at the end of last season.

    They also return plenty of depth, experience, and big play ability in the secondary led by CB Devin Varney.

    Success is going to come down to what Belfry brings to the table at the LOS, which is where they dominated foes last season led by those D-1 guys. The Pirates have size and some guys who have waited their turn behind 4 year starters. Early reports are that the coaches were happy with what they saw, but still there is no denying there will be a bit of a dip from what was Belfry's biggest strength to now their biggest question. Replacing Horton and Bentley on the DL may be the toughest task.

    The other major question will be QB. Noah Corbett added grey hairs to Haywood's beard, but he turned into a gamebreaker at QB and a smooth operator of the triple option. Avery Browning is the most likely choice to take over and he has started 4 or 5 games including a victory over NewCath as a Freshman. He is not nearly the threat Corbett was with his feet, but he can pass effectively and knows the Offense. The wildcard will be Justin Adkins who is returning from a significant injury that cost him essentially all of last season. Adkins adds that rushing threat that would be missing.

    A hole that will be overlooked that I think may prove critical is losing WR/DB/K Austin Woolum. Anytime you re a SE in Belfry's system it is hard to shine statistically, but Woolum was a fantastic downfield blocker and the best deep threat Belfry had. He proved to be a consistent CB, and graduated as one of the state's most prolific scoring kickers.

    Woolum missed several weeks as a Kicker due to injury and subsequent precaution. This let Freshman Grayson Cook get a ton of on the job training. Cook doesn't compare in the leg department, but he also was pretty daggone solid for a Freshman kicker and did a very good job at directional kicking.

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    Long story short... 2017 for Belfry comes down to this:

    - Belfry has Championship Talent at the skill spots and the back 2/3 of their Defense.

    - Belfry has the individual game changers you want in Wellman, Varney, and Hunter.

    - On paper the only real threat that should be able to match-up from a talent and depth standpoint in the East is Corbin, otherwise I see Belfry being 3-4 TD's better than anyone else in their Semi-State outside of the Hounds.

    - I expect the better 3A teams to all take step forwards (Corbin, Etown, Boyle, LexCath, Caldwell, Central). With what Belfry lost I expect there is no way they can do anything but take a step back. Depending on the development of Belfry's line play on both sides will determine how far back that step is.

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    SCHEDULE
    8/25 vs. Huntington, WV (Pike County Bowl)
    9/1 at Bryan Station
    9/8 at Newport Central Catholic
    9/15 vs. Pikeville
    9/22 vs. Sheldon Clark
    9/29 at Floyd Central
    10/6 at Cabell Midland, WV
    10/13 vs. Lawrence County
    10/20 at Pike Central
    10/27 vs. Johnson Central


    **EARLY PREDICTION**

    WINS- 7
    Sheldon Clark rejoins District competition and the new Floyd Central moves into 3A. Both should be over before Halftime. Pikeville will be rebuilding a bit this year and I dont see either Pike Central or Lawrence threatening.

    Due to scheduling issues Belfry has to go two straight years to Newport... but I still think Belfry has an edge on the Breds.

    This leaves 4 games in question. Bryan Station I honestly see as a wildcard depending on how this Summer shakes down with the new High School in Lexington. Judging on how they played Tates Creek last year and assuming they will lsoe some players, I will give Belfry the edge.

    LOSSES- 2
    Johnson Central I think will be too much. The Eagles will be a significant favorite to repeat in 4A and Belfry has relied heavily on Ray Horton the past two years to slow down that powerful ground game.

    Cabell Midland is going to be tough as well. Playing at their stadium is tough and CM should be very good and return a stud RB who went for over 200 yards on Belfry last season. Belfry dominated the LOS and relied on that surge to break the will of the Knights, I see that table turning a bit.


    TOSS-UP: 1
    Huntington is a new foe for Belfry. They are one of the largest schools in WV and typically have a done of speed and athletes. They won the WV 3A Title a couple years ago and finished 7-4 last year including a loss to Cabell Midland when they were ranked #2 in the State at the time.

    I don't know a ton about them but do know they have a big time 4* OL prospect and return an excellent HB with game breaking ability. Belfry will be challenged early in the season but I also think Belfry's Offensive style should give them some issues. I am going to lean towards a loss just knowing how many new faces will be starting their first game.

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    I believe like most years again it will come down to Belfry and Corbin except this year I believe Corbin will be the favorite.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sportsman 23 View Post
    I believe like most years again it will come down to Belfry and Corbin except this year I believe Corbin will be the favorite.
    Maybe so. A state semifinal matchup, however, would take place at Belfry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ATLCat View Post
    Long story short... 2017 for Belfry comes down to this:

    - Belfry has Championship Talent at the skill spots and the back 2/3 of their Defense.

    - Belfry has the individual game changers you want in Wellman, Varney, and Hunter.

    - On paper the only real threat that should be able to match-up from a talent and depth standpoint in the East is Corbin, otherwise I see Belfry being 3-4 TD's better than anyone else in their Semi-State outside of the Hounds.

    - I expect the better 3A teams to all take step forwards (Corbin, Etown, Boyle, LexCath, Caldwell, Central). With what Belfry lost I expect there is no way they can do anything but take a step back. Depending on the development of Belfry's line play on both sides will determine how far back that step is.
    Pretty accurate assessment. I think many teams improve while Belfry steps back FROM WHERE THEY WERE. The problem for everyone else is where they were....way above. Time will tell how far they actually come back to the pack.

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    I have a hunch that Belfry's step backwards won't be nearly as big as some others might think.

    They might start slowly (which, if I recall, is typical of Haywood's teams outside of the last couple of years), but they'll keep grinding day after day, ignore what's going on around them, focus on getting better each week, be battle tested by a tough schedule, and be peaking just in time for the playoffs.

    It'll be interesting to watch the rebuilding of their offensive and defensive lines over the course of the season.

    Despite what they lost to graduation, it's not hard to imagine the Pirates back in Bowling Green, vying for their fifth consecutive title.

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    @ATLCat, is Wellman the workhorse at FB this year, or is there an up-and-comer capable of lightening his load on offense?

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    Quote Originally Posted by DevilMayCare View Post
    @ATLCat, is Wellman the workhorse at FB this year, or is there an up-and-comer capable of lightening his load on offense?
    That is a very interesting question and a question that the Belfry "pundits" all seem to be curious about.

    Belfry has a superstar in the making in Sophomore Peyton Hensley. Hensley as a Freshman ran for 444 yards on 49 carries and added 5 TD's mainly in either varsity action against over matched foes or reserve action with a reserve line. Haywood used him as a FB last year and this kid is special.

    He's not the same mold though as Austin Hatfield or Wellman. He has great speed, in fact he went to a camp in Wisconsin this summer and won the award for fastest camper. Not really that bull in a China shop runner though. He was one of the best 7th and 8th Graders in the State and played Halfback for those teams.

    Judging by last year, Hensley will be spelling Wellman at FB and gaining valuable experience.

    With that said, he looks like a HB, runs like a HB, and makes you drool thinking of him as a HB.

    I think back to Doug Howard and Dustin May. Both spent their Freshman seasons taking reps at FB and then Haywood moved them to HB. It's almost like a Horse Trainer breaking a 2 year old in. I think he likes teaching them to hit the hole hard and fast and to learn the physicality part of his Offense, then he transitions them over.

    Will he do the same with Hensley? I am not sure. Fullback is arguably the key to the Offense so maybe he leaves Hensley there for "life after Wellman".

    All I know is the thought of Adkins at QB, Wellman at FB, Hunter at HB, and Hensley at HB is a scary thought for opponents to stop. That's a lot of speed and explosion to contain.

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    I really believe the 3A State Championship comes down to 4 teams. Belfry, Corbin, and Boyle, Catholic. I've talked to several coaches in 3A and they have said that Boyle is absolutely loaded this year and has tremendous size and speed. It should be a fun year. It's always interesting, even when I coached, all High school kids grow at different rates and those boys start to become men from one summer to the next and changes the dynamics of a team occasionally,so it's fun to talk about, but who knows how teams will change year to year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ATLCat View Post
    That is a very interesting question and a question that the Belfry "pundits" all seem to be curious about.

    Belfry has a superstar in the making in Sophomore Peyton Hensley. Hensley as a Freshman ran for 444 yards on 49 carries and added 5 TD's mainly in either varsity action against over matched foes or reserve action with a reserve line. Haywood used him as a FB last year and this kid is special.

    He's not the same mold though as Austin Hatfield or Wellman. He has great speed, in fact he went to a camp in Wisconsin this summer and won the award for fastest camper. Not really that bull in a China shop runner though. He was one of the best 7th and 8th Graders in the State and played Halfback for those teams.
    I remember watching him as an 8th grader during a PrepSpin broadcast of the D2 middle school championship game and being very impressed. He's got a tremendous upside, for sure.

    There was another kid in that class that left quite an impression... Birchfield, I think?

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    Quote Originally Posted by DevilMayCare View Post
    I remember watching him as an 8th grader during a PrepSpin broadcast of the D2 middle school championship game and being very impressed. He's got a tremendous upside, for sure.

    There was another kid in that class that left quite an impression... Birchfield, I think?
    Yup... from what I hear the staff is really high on him and he was one of those "first in" guys last year when Belfry clearly had the opponent out-manned or up big.

    I think you see Isaiah start playing meaningful minutes in the secondary this season. He is not a very big kid but he absolutely brings the wood on Defense. He reminds me of Curtis Childress that played around 99-01.

    That class also has the last of the Bentley brothers in Ben. Ben is not the monster Cole is, but he is a heckuva athlete and is going to be a fine halfback in his own right. This is in addition to Grayson Cook who was fantastic as a Freshman last season and started essentially every game. This current Sophomore class has been compared very favorable to the departing Senior Class.


    The other youngster to keep a very close eye on is incoming Freshman Seth Mounts. I cannot express how excited I am for this kid's potential. He is already on recruiting radars and is going to be a special talent at LB. He already is a big kid, but he has potential to be a prototype LB and just has "IT" on the field. It would not surprise me in the least to see him fill the void at the hybrid DE/OLB spot left open by Austin Hall's graduation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ATLCat View Post
    SCHEDULE
    8/25 vs. Huntington, WV (Pike County Bowl)
    9/1 at Bryan Station
    9/8 at Newport Central Catholic
    9/15 vs. Pikeville
    9/22 vs. Sheldon Clark
    9/29 at Floyd Central
    10/6 at Cabell Midland, WV
    10/13 vs. Lawrence County
    10/20 at Pike Central
    10/27 vs. Johnson Central


    **EARLY PREDICTION**

    WINS- 7
    Sheldon Clark rejoins District competition and the new Floyd Central moves into 3A. Both should be over before Halftime. Pikeville will be rebuilding a bit this year and I dont see either Pike Central or Lawrence threatening.

    Due to scheduling issues Belfry has to go two straight years to Newport... but I still think Belfry has an edge on the Breds.

    This leaves 4 games in question. Bryan Station I honestly see as a wildcard depending on how this Summer shakes down with the new High School in Lexington. Judging on how they played Tates Creek last year and assuming they will lsoe some players, I will give Belfry the edge.

    LOSSES- 2
    Johnson Central I think will be too much. The Eagles will be a significant favorite to repeat in 4A and Belfry has relied heavily on Ray Horton the past two years to slow down that powerful ground game.

    Cabell Midland is going to be tough as well. Playing at their stadium is tough and CM should be very good and return a stud RB who went for over 200 yards on Belfry last season. Belfry dominated the LOS and relied on that surge to break the will of the Knights, I see that table turning a bit.


    TOSS-UP: 1
    Huntington is a new foe for Belfry. They are one of the largest schools in WV and typically have a done of speed and athletes. They won the WV 3A Title a couple years ago and finished 7-4 last year including a loss to Cabell Midland when they were ranked #2 in the State at the time.

    I don't know a ton about them but do know they have a big time 4* OL prospect and return an excellent HB with game breaking ability. Belfry will be challenged early in the season but I also think Belfry's Offensive style should give them some issues. I am going to lean towards a loss just knowing how many new faces will be starting their first game.
    It was 2013 when Huntington played Martinsburg in the State finals and Martinsburg won 9-7. Martinsburg won it's 4th straight 3a title that year. Huntington finished 13-1 that year.

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    Don't sleep on the Elizabethtown Panthers. Had a chance to win at Louisville Central last season in the State Semi's. Lost a total of 5 seniors with only 3 of those getting significant playing time. Their senior class for the upcoming season is loaded and gained tons of experience last year. All of their skill players return. 80% of their defense returns and I expect them to get some nice contributions from a few members of the incoming sophomore class as well. The incoming freshman class is fresh off an undefeated state championship. The future is bright for the Panthers.

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