By MacKenzie Bates - Sports Editor
Nov. 6, 2013 — University of Pikeville coach Dudley Hilton and Kentucky Christian coach Gene Peterson have been friends for more than 30 years.
Hilton helped Peterson get into coaching and Saturday’s game between the Knights and Bears is the first time the two have faced each other.
So when his Bears defeated the Knights 22-7, Hilton admitted it was “strange” to get a win over his good friend.
“I don’t like to go up against (my good friends) but I had to coach against him,” Hiton said. “But he’s doing a great job here at KCU and I’m proud of him.”
The Knights (3-4) and Bears (5-4) were locked into a defensive battle in the first quarter with both teams trading turnovers. UPIKE converted on a 28-yard field goal by Ryan Wilson at the start of the second quarter.
After the offense was stagnant the first quarter, it was a different story in the second with running back Jamuel Jones breaking loose on a 16-yard touchdown run to put the Knights up 7-3. He finished with 67 yards on 15 carries.
“We played fairly well in the first half,” Peterson said. “But the second half really hurt us. Give credit to Pikeville’s defense. They made the plays when they had to. We just couldn’t execute on offense.”
The Bears outgained the Knights in the first half 155-129 but the Knights were able to weather the storm to give UPIKE their first ever win in Grayson.
“They’ve done a good job this year in their recruiting and getting in some talent,” Peterson said. “Especially their quarterback. Dudley is getting it right down there.”
UPIKE took the lead early in the third quarter after quarterback A.J. Graham found Shawntez Johnson on a 14-yard touchdown pass. Johnson would be rewarded again on the next series on a big play that brought the Bears down inside the one-yard line. Graham would score two plays later.
“We moved the ball well in the first quarter but we came up two touchdowns short,” Hilton said. “Luckily we were able to make some adjustments and get the lead for good in the third quarter.”
The Knights, needing a spark on offense, turned to punter Justin Crager who ran the fake perfectly to midfield with seven minutes left in the third quarter. But KCU would have to punt it was three plays later.
UPIKE made the adjustments they needed to at the half as they limited KCU to 29 yards of total offense. Quarterback Isaac Brabson was 9-for-20 for 79 yards.
“We missed a lot of opportunities on some throws,” Peterson said. “We have a young quarterback and we just have to make things better and keep working.”
Seth Millar would give UPIKE their third touchdown of the second half at the start of the fourth quarter to give the Bears a 22-7 advantage.
Kentucky Christian will hit the road next week when they travel to No. 2 University of the Cumberlands Saturday.
MacKenzie Bates can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 1-800-247-6142.