The theme of this year’s Williamsburg football team was “South Floyd”. At the end of practice or a game you could hear those words come from the Yellow Jackets huddle. South Floyd as in South Floyd Street, Louisville, Kentucky, home of the 2004 Kentucky High School Football Championship.
That was the ultimate goal of the Yellow Jackets along with 53 other Kentucky Class “A” schools. That goal and dream of 16 Williamsburg High School seniors ended at Pikeville High School Friday night as those pesky Panthers fought back from an eight-point deficit in the game’s final 27 seconds. They were able to tie the Jackets and went on to post a 29-22 win in overtime.
Despite being two of the highest scoring teams in the playoffs, this game came down to some big defensive stops by both teams. But it was the Pikeville defense that shut down four passes from senior quarterback Andy Greer in the overtime period that proved to be the difference.
A fluke play may have cost the Jackets a crack at the Beechwood Tigers in this week’s semifinal round. “We had a play down here, the ball bounces off a kid’s head and a kid laying on the ground catches it. It’s just luck,” said Williamsburg coach Jim Black. “But there were plays throughout the game that we could have made that we didn’t make. Pikeville made some there at the end to win it, but that play stands out in my mind because it was a third down situation.”
Pikeville tried to bully their way in front of the Yellow Jackets by scoring the first touchdown of the game on the first drive. A 31 yard pass from quarterback Chase Huffman to Robert Shurtleff set up the TD at the two-yard line. Shurtleff, the Panthers’ Mr. Everything, pushed his way to the one yard line then into the end zone with 8:13 in the quarter. The PAT made it 7-0.
The Panthers defense came right at the Greer and company and forced the Jackets to punt after Williamsburg had a drive to stall at the Jackets 49. Greer hit Matt Jones on a 13 yard pass before being sacked for six yards. He was able to get 14 yards back on a pass to Tyler Ayers on third down but the Jackets came up three yards short and chose to punt.
Pushed deep into their own territory, the Panthers drove the ball out and down the field until Jones came up with an interception at the Williamsburg 36.
Williamsburg was still unable to drive the ball on the bigger Panther defense and was forced to punt for the second time.
Backed up at the 13 yard line, Tim Honaker was hit for a loss on the first play and that seemed to get the Yellow Jackets pumped. Another loss pushed the Panthers to the 10 yard where they had to punt the ball.
Williamsburg took over at the Panthers 45 as the momentum began to change. Greer hit Jones on a 27 yard play down to the 18 yard line on the first down. Greer took the option on first down and moved the ball to the 12 yard line. A Pikeville penalty moved it inside the 10 yard line.
From the seven, Greer missed on his first pass then carried to the six on second down. He followed with a play to Jones in the end zone for the first score of the night by the Jackets. The kick was blocked on the extra point as Pikeville held a slim lead, 7-6 with 9:28 in the quarter.
The Panthers had very little respect for the Jacket defense on the following series. After running the kickoff back to their own 28 yard line, Shurtleff responded with a three yard gain before Huffman took a keeper to the 37. Shurtleff was met at the line of scrimmage on third and one. Facing a fourth and one, Pikeville went for the first down on their own end of the field. Shurtleff again got the ball and was driven back on the play as Williamsburg took the ball in excellent field possession.
Despite several penalties, the Jackets were able to drive the ball down the field for a go-ahead TD. However they needed a couple of big plays of their own. Facing a third and 23 from the 48, Greer hit Ayers with a 23 yard pass for a first down at the 25 yard line. Then facing a fourth and 10 from the 24 yard line, Will Hill picked up 10 and a half yards for a first down to the 14.
A ten yard penalty stalled the drive before Greer hit Alec Day on a 16 yard pass to the three yard line. Greer took it the rest of the way for the TD with 3:37 left in the half. The pass on the conversion failed but Williamsburg led, 12-7.
It didn’t take Pikeville long to answer as Huffman hit Shurtleff on a 30 yard play for a score with 2:50 on the clock. Shurtleff, also the kicker, booted the ball through the uprights for a 14-12 lead.
The Jackets, showing a lot of confidence, drove the ball down the field to end the second quarter. They were unable to punch in a touchdown but Chase Hamblin did add a 24 yard field goal with 3.7 seconds in the half, sending Williamsburg back on top, 15-14.
Williamsburg added to their lead in the third quarter when Hill took a Greer pass and went 48 yards for a touchdown. Hamblin hit the PAT for a 22-14 lead with 5:22 left in the quarter.
The Jackets held the Panthers to three and out and took over their next possession at the Williamsburg 19. The Jackets out together a 14-play drive but came up empty at the Pikeville 14 yard line. Williamsburg faced a fourth and two from the 14 with 11:04 left in the game. A fourth down pass failed.
Pikeville had its turn to tie the game but Thomas Frazier made a couple of big defensive plays to stop the Panthers. Huffman missed on a fourth down pass at the Pikeville 47.
Pikeville came up with defensive stop of their own as Williamsburg couldn’t pick up a much needed first down and gave the ball back to the Panthers with 4:25 left in the game.
Pikeville used nearly all of that time before getting the tying points. Shurtleff went in from the one yard line with :27 then a Huffman pass to Shurtleff on conversion tied the score at 22-22.
That set the stage for Pikeville’s come from behind victory and right to play in this week’s state semifinals.
“Our kids played their butts off,” said Black. “It just come down to the end of the game, who was going to make the plays at the end and they made them.”
“It was a great season and our kids have nothing to be ashamed of,” said Black. “The finished the regular season undefeated and went two games in the playoffs. No one thought we would come down here and play like this, everybody was expecting us to get blown out, so we proved something, it wasn’t what we wanted to prove.”
Williamsburg 0 15 7 0 0- 22
Pikeville 7 7 0 8 7- 29
P – Robert Shurtleff, 1 run (Elkins kick)
W – Matt Jones, 6 pass from Andy Greer (kick blocked)
W – Greer, 3 run (pass failed)
P – Shurtleff, 30 pass from Huffman (Elkins kick)
W – Chase Hamblin, 26 FG
W – Will Hill, 48 pass from Greer (Hamblin kick)
P – Shurtleff, 1 run (Shurtleff pass from Huffman)
P – Shurtleff, 1 run (Elkins kick)