BEREA -- The Berea Community football team had a chance to grab their first district win in five years on Friday.
Despite taking tough losses, the Pirates had held their own against district competitors -- undefeated Kentucky Country Day and Eminence (7-2) the last two weeks.
On Friday, it was a different story.
Frankfort (3-6, 1-2 district) blew past Berea in a lopsided 34-0 win.
It was the first time this season the Pirates have been shutout. Last year, Berea failed to put up points in four games.
The problems started quickly.
The Pirates (6-3, 0-3 district) were already without their starting quarterback Jaylen Whittaker -- who was sidelined for a minor hip injury -- as well as Logan Abney, who had a knee issue.
Cody Moore, one of Berea's top receivers, was under center for the Pirates on Friday.
However, the substitute had to battle chilly rain and a slick field.
"It was Murphy's Law out there tonight," Berea coach Aaron Stepp said. "If it could go wrong, It went wrong. We were having to piece-meal our team together because of injuries. The two biggest enemies of a football coach are turnovers and injury. We were visited frequently by both tonight."
Indeed, turnovers plagued the Pirates from the very beginning.
Fortunately, Frankfort faltered as well in the first quarter.
The Pirates and Panthers had five fumbles in the opening quarter between them -- resulting in a scrambling and scoreless beginning.
However, Frankfort regrouped and made it into the red zone in the opening minutes of the second quarter.
The Panthers broke through Berea's defense and scored on a 2-yard carry to take an early 7-0 lead.
The Pirates turned it over on downs on their next drive and Frankfort took advantage.
The Panthers marched down the field and expanded their lead to 14-0.
Berea responded and after a couple of failed downs, Jaiden Cunningham got loose and rushed for 23 yard to get the Pirates within striking distance
However, Frankfort's Tayshaun Hamilton picked off a pass intended for Timmy Thompson on the Pirates next drive with 36 seconds left in the first half.
With the momentum firmly in their favor, the Panthers scored once more on a 10-yard touchdown catch to make it 21-0 at halftime.
"It was like the perfect storm," Stepp said of the Pirate mishaps. "It was really out of character for us. At one point, I looked at my assistant coaches and said, 'What team am I watching. It didn't even look like us on the field.'"
Stepp said he had warned his players not to overlook Frankfort, who was also eager to get their first district win of the season,.
"Teams like that, if you give them a little bit of hope and let them stick around. We gave them a shot and -- credit to them -- they took it and ran with it. We didn't help ourselves any," Stepp said.
In the second half, Berea slipped further behind after Azeno Williams rushed 60 yards for a touchdown to expand Frankfort's lead to 28-0.
The Pirates did find a spark with three minutes left in the third quarter, when Berea recovered a fumble at the Panther 23-yard line.
However, Frankfort's defense ended the threat after sacking Moore.
From there, the Panthers never looked back.
After recovering another Berea fumble in the fourth quarter, Frankfort scored its final touchdown of the night.
In the last minute of the game, Timmy Thompson rushed for 40 yards and a touchdown to tget Berea on the board.
However, the score was walked back after a flag on the play.
"Timmy is a warrior," Stepp said. "He was trying to do whatever he could to get us a touchdown. We just didn't have it together tonight."
It was the Panthers second shutout of the season. They topped Shawnee, 49-0.
The Pirates will take on Jellico next week at home, then will fave Kentucky Country Day again in Louisville in the opening round of the Class A Playoffs on Nov. 8.
Stepp said his team will need to keep moving forward and try to regroup and get healthy.
"We know what it was like to break the losing streak. It is so important to learn how to come back from that. Now, we have to learn how to handle success. I think we got caught up in it all and thought that we would just walk on the field and win. We have to learn to keep going and pushing," Stepp said.