By Robert Clark
The Berea Community Pirates will play host to Paintsville today in what will be their last home game of the season.
Game time is set for 7:30 p.m.
The Pirates (2-7, 0-3 district) will travel next week to face defending Class A state champs Hazard in the opening round of the playoffs, but they hope to finish the regular season on a positive note with a victory over the Tigers.
“It’s always important to win a game before you go into the playoffs,” Berea coach Adam Coleman said. “It will bring some positivity to practice and give us some confidence going forward.”
With the loss last week at Campbellsville, all scenarios that could have given the Pirates a chance to play host to a playoff game disappeared and they slipped all the way to fourth place in the district.
All season the Pirates have found ways to force turnovers, and score points. Still they have found themselves on the loosing end of the scoreboard.
“We still made some mistakes — critical penalties. Turning the ball over and just not making the plays that allow us to finish games,” Berea coach Adam Coleman said.
Last week, the Pirates lost senior running back Hunter Wilson to an ankle injury in the first half.
The Pirates’ biggest offensive contributor could only watch from the sidelines as Berea fell short against district opponent Campbellsville, 33-6.
The Pirates have gone into halftime the past two weeks facing manageable deficits, only to come out in the second half and give up huge third quarters.
Last week, Campbellsville had just a 10-0 lead at halftime, but in the second half the Eagles returned a fumble and an interception for touchdowns and pulled away.
The Pirates would force six turnovers, but could only put one touchdown on the board, a 70-yard score by Eli Woodie.
“They gave us opportunities,” Coleman said.
Paintsville (1-8) and Berea have faced two common opponents this season — Paris and Nicholas County.
Both teams would fall short to Nicholas County but Berea defeated Paris, 42-6, on the road while Paintsville suffered a 20-12 loss at home to the Greyhounds in the season opener.
Paintsville has lost five straight since defeating Allen Central 33-6 on Sept. 14 at home.
The Tigers coming off a 57-0 loss to Raceland last week.
“They are a team with a duel threat quarterback,” Coleman said of Paintsville’s offense. “Any quarterback that can run can be potentially dangerous.”
Paintsville has allowed 179 points in the past three weeks and have given up at least 20 points in every game but one this season.
“We’ve got to play all four quarters,” Coleman said. “We can’t take anything for granted. We’ve got to tackle better and establish a running game — something we didn’t get going against Campbellsville.”
The Pirates will honor all their seniors before the kickoff.