It’s that time of year that many football teams are banged up, bruised and nursing injuries. The Belfry Pirates (6-0) are not immune to the injury bug.
Coach Philip Haywood confirmed that the Pirates may be without a few of their starters this week as they make the anticipated trip to Knoxville, Tennessee to take on Knoxville Christian.
Speedy sophomore running back Xondre Willis suffered a knee injury and his status is the most serious. He may miss several games. Willis has been seeing some action on both sides of the football.
Last week starting fullback Austin Hatfield sat out the game with Gallia Academy because of a sprained ankle. Haywood said he is day to day and his status is not known for this week.
“We don’t want to take any chances.” Haywood said.
“If he really had to he probably could play,” Haywood said. But the longtime Pirate mentor does not like to rush any player back from an injury. He wants to make sure they are healthy enough to go full speed.
This past week senior running back Justin Johnson suffered a shoulder injury and junior wide receiver Keaton Taylor were both banged up. Both are questionable for this week, but they could play. They are also day to day, according to Haywood.
Other players are hampered by minor injuries. But, that is football, especially after the midway point in the season.
Belfry will make the drive down to Knoxville on Friday. The Knights are only 2-4 this season, but Haywood said that record is deceiving. A couple of their losses were close, one game by a single point and one by three points.
“They play that tough inner city schedule,” Haywood said. “They have a very good offense. They can really pass, but they can also run the ball.”
“They are very athletic and talented,” Haywood said of Knoxville Christian. “They are also strong on defense. “But, they are one of the better passing teams we’ve played in a while.”
Belfry always has a lot of fans travel when they play away games, regardless of the distance. Haywood expects a lot of red and white in the stands in Knoxville.
“I think we’ll have a good crowd. Our people like to travel,” Haywood said. “We have heard from some folks who live down there (former local residents) that said they plan to come.”
“We usually have a lot of fans when we go on the road,” Haywood said.