I know on paper Belfry is the favorite tonight against Southwestern, but conventional wisdom isn't always the most reliable. I am afraid Belfry is primed for bad showing against the Warriors.
Belfry is a team that rarely comes out of the gate in the early season playing at a really high level. They almost always peak at the right time and are tougher than leftover gristle come playoff time, but it usually takes them a while to build up to that level. Over the years, I have watched them pretty often have a week early in the season where they turn in a head-shaker performance. Sometimes it has come in the season opener, sometimes a week or two later, but it happens enough to make me expect it.
Even in the state championship years, it happened. If you look back at Belfry's record the past 10 years or so, you will see the pattern. More often than not they have played well in week 1, then come back in week 2 with a stinker. This year Belfry has played really well in both their first two games, and they may be past the point of a letdown, I hope so. However this game with Southwestern concerns me.
They just came off two emotional "big" games with Somerset and Harlan County. Both programs have the name recognition to get kids' attention and Belfry has stepped it up in both games. This game is a long road trip and is sandwiched between the two big weeks we just had, and Belfry's annual rival game with Pikeville next friday. They are playing up in class again against a Southwestern team that can snakebite you if you aren't careful. Southwestern is winless and hungry, and is only one season removed (2011) from a semifinal appearance in Class 5A. Even though they have played well so far, Belfry still has quite a few young guys that are still learning their jobs, including a half dozen or so freshman.
And on top of all that, it is Friday the 13th. Strange things can happen.