Philip Haywood says his success as coach of the Belfry Pirates is because of his players, and it's not about him.
But it's difficult to ignore the numbers. Haywood pulled to within six of tying the most career wins by a Kentucky high school football coach with Friday's 34-21 win at Henry Clay.
Haywood's 338th career victory came with all the flash of a steamroller.
Belfry (2-0) gained 426 of its 491 yards on the ground, piling up 28 first downs to Henry Clay's nine, and holding the ball for all but 13:20.
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"It's never mentioned with me around or our kids," Haywood said of his impending record. "It's not about me. If it happens, it happens, but we'll just go on about our business."
Justin Johnson led the ground assault with 99 yards on 12 carries, including touchdowns of 4 and 12 yards.
Josh Dixon added 95 yards and a 60-yard touchdown on seven carries.
Trey Willis carried 14 times for 83 yards, Tyler Williams 12 for 77.
Paving the path were center Keegan Fields, guards James May and Zack Taylor, and tackles Derrick Jude and John Duty.
"If it weren't for the line, we wouldn't have made (the) touchdowns," said Johnson, a 5-foot-5, 160-pound sophomore. "I really appreciate them and thank them with everything inside me."
Henry Clay gained all but 15 of its 255 yards on the ground and showed spunk.
"It was sportsmanship at its finest in spite of the fact that we got beat," Henry Clay Coach Sam Simpson said. "I think we're growing in the right direction."
Simpson also found the playmaker that he's been searching for — sophomore Davion Jackson.
He scored all of the Blue Devils' touchdowns, on runs of 44, 67 and 56 yards. He finished with 174 yards on only eight carries.
Jackson's third tally came on the first play from scrimmage in the second half. Anthony "Bam" Lindsey ran in the two-point conversion to tie the game at 21.
After an exchange of punts, Belfry took 7:40 to drive 90 yards in 16 plays — all runs. Johnson scored the tie-breaking TD from 4 yards out with 59 seconds left in the third quarter.
"We needed a drive and our kids just kind of buckled it up and went to work, and ate up the clock," Haywood said.
After Henry Clay (0-3) lost the ball on downs, Johnson's 12-yard TD run capped a seven-run, 63-yard drive to put the Pirates up 34-21.
Henry Clay's final possession ended when, on fourth-and-a-foot, Tony Messer stuffed Lindsey for no gain.
"As good as the football team is, what a class act Coach Haywood is," Simpson said. "We went down there a few years ago and beat them when they opened up their brand new field. I knew they were going to come up here with some mustard."
Belfry led 21-13 at halftime, scoring on a 36-yard pass from Tyler Williams to Howie Dotson, Dixon's 60-yard run and Josh Robinson's 5-yard run.
Belfry 14 7 7 6—34
Henry Clay 7 6 8 0—21
B—Howie Dotson 36 pass from Tyler Williams (Austin Childers kick); HC—David Jackson 44 run (John Garrett kick); B—Josh Dixon 60 run (Childers kick); HC—Jackson 67 run (kick failed); B—Josh Robinson 5 run (Childers kick); HC—Jackson 56 run (Anthony Lindsey run); B—Justin Johnson 4 run (Childers kick); B—Johnson 12 run (kick failed). Records—Belfry 2-0; Henry Clay 0-3.