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Paintsville’s John Walker Phelps runs with the ball and is swarmed by the Pikeville defense Friday night. The Tigers fell to the Panthers 9-8 in a big Class A showdown.

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 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 the second play from scrimmage on a pass from Issac McNamee.

However, the Paintsville defense held its ground much like they did against Beechwood, and Pikeville was forced to punt their 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 in the end zone from three 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.

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Brayden Chirico celebrates on the sideline after the Paintsville defense forced a turnover Friday night.

The Paintsville defense held once again giving Hyden another attempt.

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

Hyden handed the ball off to John Walker Phelps and he found pay dirt from three 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 three-yard line, Paintsville coach Joe Chirico opted for the two-point conversion and it would prove 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 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 9-8 road win for Pikeville.  

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Paintsville’s Zach Thompson runs with the ball against Pikeville Friday night. The Tigers fell to the Panthers 9-8.

Pikeville (3-0) will host the Raceland Rams next Friday at the W.C. Hambley Athletic Complex. Kickoff 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 set for 8:00 p.m.

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