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Injuries hurting Belfry

BELFRY, Ky.

Tuesday, October 17, 2000

BELFRY, Ky. – Phillip Haywood probably feels more like an emergency room doctor than the head coach of the Belfry Pirates.

Starting back in the preseason, the Pirates have been riddled by one injury after another. Haywood hasn’t been bemoaning his injuries, but he admits it has taken its toll.

"I guess every coach goes through a year like this. It seems like it’s something every week," Haywood said. "The thing we’ve noticed offensively is how it slows down your continuity. We just haven’t been able to improve the way we wanted because you’re not practicing."

While Belfry (5-3) has been overcoming injuries all season, Friday night at Tanks Memorial Stadium the Pirates will try to overcome the Ironton Fighting Tigers.

Belfry rallied to beat Ironton 17-14 last season for its first win in seven tries against the Fighting Tigers. After using predominantly a passing game last year, the Pirates are more of a run-oriented team this season.

However, the running game has taken some hits the past two weeks. Starting running back Jonah Caudill was injured in a 20-14 double overtime loss to Prestonsburg two weeks ago. His replacement, Curt Childress, ran 17 times for 78 yards in the first half of last week’s 13-6 win over Whitesburg, but he left the game late in the half with an ankle injury and did not return.

Belfry had just 22 yards offense with Childress on the sidelines.

Haywood expects both Caudill and Childress to play Friday, but he said the injury situation has had a greater impact this season due to the youth of the team.

"We lost some key people last year. We have about eight seniors. Youth, injuries, and inexperience have made our progress slower than you like. But we’ve been competitive each week. We’ve overcome things all year," said Haywood.

The attitude of the Pirates has been the saving grace. Haywood said this team has exhibited a lot of heart.

"I feel the thing we’re most pleased with is the effort," Haywood said. "We’ve had a lot of injuries that started in preseason and it’s continued all year. We get two or three kids back and it takes two or three weeks to catch up.

"Defensively, I think we’ve improved a lot the past two or three weeks."

Haywood knows Belfry will get a big test against Ironton which has much more size than the Pirates.

"They look real big and physical and they move well. Their backs run hard and block well for each other. They throw enough to keep you honest. It looks like a typical Ironton team," Haywood said.

"I think the key is going to be the line of scrimmage. We’re smaller than everyone we play, but Ironton is bigger than anyone we’ve played. We have to get in there and battle them."