Anthony Cloud | Daily News

London Stephney races toward the goal line during a two-point attempt against Middlesboro in the season-opener. Bell County will host Pike County Central on Friday in their home-opener.

Bell welcomes Pike Central for home-opener

After rattling off two impressive wins on the road to start the season, Bell County will make their home debut on Friday in a game against Pike County Central.

Similar to other out of district games, the Bobcats have easily dispatched the Hawks each of the last three years they have met. Last season, Bell County racked up 329 yards on the ground en route to a 47-26 victory.

That game was standout running back Colby Frazier’s breakout performance. The then-sophomore tallied 231 yards and six touchdowns on 24 carries. Will Dean was the only other back who touched the ball more than five times during the game (40 yards on 11 carries).

The Bobcats defeated Pike Central in 2016, 49-30, and in 2015, 60-36.

Just like last year, Bell County will go into the game with a chance to start the year 3-0.

Know the Hawks

Given the personnel that Pike County Central lost last season, it should be no surprise if the Hawks take a step back from a year ago — when the team finished 5-6.

The team started this season with a loss to Shelby Valley, 43-35.

“They lost a heart-breaker to Shelby Valley the other night in a double overtime game, and I’m sure they’re…going to come in here and try to make up for that,” said Bell County coach Dudley Hilton.

The biggest absence on the team is quarterback Seth Conn. The Hawk’s dynamic player, who lead the team in rushing with 1,262 yards and 18 touchdowns along with five passing touchdowns, graduated. He also paced the defense with three interceptions.

Taking over for the departed Conn is Tyler Hunt. In the opening game against Shelby Valley, the junior passed for 57 yards and a touchdown on five completions. In the running game, he tallied 56 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries.

Two offensive weapons that Pike Central is happy to be returning are running back Issac Thacker and Isaiah Hess. The two seniors were a big part of the rushing attack a year ago. Thacker ran for 777 yards and six touchdowns, while Hess went for 671 yards and six touchdowns.

“(Issac Thacker) hurt us some last year. We just kind of outscored them up there last year,” said Hilton. “It was a shootout type of game, and I’m you’re going to kind of see the same thing Friday night.”

Against Shelby Valley, it was Thacker who was the workhorse. He ran for 192 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries. Hess only touched the ball four times for 13 yards.

The Hawks also lost three of their big contributors on the defensive side of the ball in Logan Hillerman, Logan Dotson and Parker Eads. Hillerman led the team in tackles with 119. Dotson and Eads both finished the year with 85 tackles apiece. Against Shelby Valley, it was Nate Roberts who led the team with 13 tackles. Hess and Tanner Hunt finished with seven tackles apiece.