With a final score of 53-20, Belfry (Kent.) High's victory against Pikeville (Kent.) Pike County Central High on Friday might not seem like the most memorable result in the school's history. Yet, if it's not the most significant win, it will certainly go down as one of them because of what was accomplished with the victory: The win was Belfry football coach Philip Haywood's 346th career victory, setting a new record for most in state history.
"I just thank God," Haywood told the Lexington Herald-Leader. "I've been blessed to have the longevity I've had and all of the great players, coaches and community support I've had.
"I'm a very fortunate guy to have had these opportunities."
The 346 victories broke an existing three-way tie for the all-time mark between Haywood and retired coaches Dudley Hilton and Bob Schneider. Now, thanks to a dominant performance by the Pirates' offensive line -- Belfry ran for more than 500 yards without completing a single pass -- the record belongs solely to Haywood and Belfry as a whole.
"I'm glad to get it over with and get on with our season," he said. "But I think our kids were excited about it tonight."
In a touch of class, Hilton was actually one of the fans in the stand, there to congratulate a fellow all-time great coach on a notable record, which was accomplished in a whopping 28 seasons at Belfry after nine years leading Prestonburg (Kent.) High. The Herald Leader reported that his overall career mark stands at 346-120, with 282 of those wins coming at Belfry.
Not that the victory was purely ceremonial, of course. The Belfry win ensured that the Pirates, who improved to 9-0, won the regular season district title.
All in a day's work for an extraordinary coach at an extraordinary program. Given his past success -- and his refusal to walk away -- teams may face more dominant performances from Belfry backs in the future.