PAINTSVILLE It was supposed to be an offensive shootout.

What it turned out to be was a defensive classic.

In the end, Pikeville edged Paintsville, 9-8, on Friday night in a huge Class A showdown.

The Panthers opened the game by moving the ball well as Jackson Hensley broke two tackles for a big gain on the second play from scrimmage on a pass from Isaac McNamee.

However, the Paintsville defense held its ground much like it did against Beechwood, and Pikeville was forced to punt on its first possession.

The Tigers started out moving the ball equally as well, but their momentum was slowed by an early holding penalty.

Pikeville scored the game’s first touchdown as running back Cody Raines punched it into the end zone from 3 yards out with 1:19 to play in the first. The extra-point attempt was no good and the Panthers took a 6-0 lead into the start of the second quarter.

The Tigers were forced to punt their opening possession of the second.

However, with 10:09 to play, Paintsville’s Jake Hyden intercepted McNamee’s pass to get the offense right back on the field. The Tigers began to move the ball, but two minutes later, Pikeville’s Raines returned the favor and picked off Hyden’s pass.

The Paintsville defense held once again giving Hyden another attempt.

The Panthers were called for two personal foul penalties, one of which put Paintsville in the red zone.

Hyden handed the ball off to John Walker Phelps and he found paydirt from 3 yards out to tie the game at 6-6 with 3:03 to play before the break.

The extra-point attempt was blocked, but that’s when the Panthers were called for another personal foul penalty. With the ball placed on the 3-yard line, Paintsville coach Joe Chirico opted for the two-point conversion and it was good. The Tigers took an 8-6 lead and the momentum to the locker room.

After the break, the game turned into a defensive stalemate.

Neither team really got anything going offensively, that is, until 2:59 to play in the third quarter. The Panthers had moved the ball, but the Tiger defense made a big stand on third down. Coach Chris McNamee called Tanner Hamilton’s number and the kicker nailed the 26-yard field goal to give Pikeville a 9-8 lead.

After that field goal, it was back to a pitcher’s duel.

Paintsville threatened one last time with under 1:30 to play in the game, but Pikeville standout linebacker John Collum came up with the interception of Hyden’s pass.

Instead of risking a fumble, Collum just sat down with the ball, sealing the road win for Pikeville.  

Pikeville (3-0) will host the Raceland Rams next Friday at the W.C. Hambley Athletic Complex. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

Paintsville (2-1) will be back at home again next Friday as they host the Jaguars of East Jessamine at Memorial Field. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m.

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