Grigsby leads Yellow Jackets past Pineville

Published 5:04 pm Monday, October 31, 2022

PAUL LUNSFORD

Contributing writer

The Middlesboro Yellow Jackets haven’t played since October 7, due to Knott Central dropping out of the district before the season started.

The Jackets had an open date and had all this time to prepare for visiting Pineville on Friday at Bradner Stadium.

Middlesboro junior quarterback Cayden Grigsby rushed for four touchdowns and passed for another to lead the Jackets to a 41-38 victory.

Pineville, which opened the season at 7-0, lost for the third straight game. The Mountain Lions have lost to Williamsburg, Harlan and Middlesboro. Those three teams have posted a combined 20-8 record.

Lions sophomore quarterback Sawyer Thompson passed for two touchdowns and rushed for two.

Grigsby opened the scoring with an 18-yard touchdown run at the five-minute mark of the opening quarter.

Thompson found Evan Biliter for a  29-yard TD pass with 10:10 left in the first half. The two-point conversion gave Pineville an 8-7 advantage.

Grigsby’s second touchdown of the game came with 5:12 remaining in the second quarter as he raced 16 yards for the score. Middlesboro led 13-8.

With 19 seconds to play before halftime, Grigsby connected with Jam Wilson for a 20-yard TD pass to make it 20-8. Sopheaktra Sin kicked the extra point.

Pineville used a 71-yard touchdown pass from Landon Robbins to Luke Ayers at the end of the first half. The Lions would add the two-point conversion to cut the deficit to 20-16.

Middlesboro struck first in the third quarter as Vincent Smith scored on a 30-yard run. Sin’s kick made it 27-16.

Thompson went in from the one at the 8:42 mark of the quarter. The conversion pulled Pineville within three, but Grigsby added a 1-yard touchdown run as the Jackets led 34-24.

Back came the Mountain Lions as Biliter caught a 9-yard TD pass from Thompson to make it 34-32 with four minutes remaining in the third period.

With 1:04 left in the quarter, Grigsby went in for a 4-yard keeper, giving Middlesboro a nine-point lead.

The final touchdown of the game came at the 6:52 mark of the fourth quarter as Thompson added a 1-yarder.

It was Middlesboro’s fourth straight win over the Mountain Lions.

Both teams must prepare for the KHSAA Playoffs, set to begin Friday.

Middlesboro (6-3) will play host to Prestonsburg (8-2). Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m.

The Blackcats have won six straight against Middlesboro. The Jackets last defeated Prestonsburg 40-20 in the Class 2A Playoffs on Nov. 4, 2005.

Prestonsburg lost to district rival Shelby Valley (68-21) and Martin County (27-20).

The Blackcats are led by senior running back Ethan Jarvis, who has rushed for 1,628 yards and 26 touchdowns this season.

Pineville (7-3) must travel to Hazard (6-4) in a 7:30 kickoff start.

The Lions have dropped 16 consecutive games to Hazard. The last Pineville win over the Bulldogs came Aug. 20, 1999, a 28-22 victory, at Hazard.

The Bulldogs are led by quarterback Max Pelfrey (1,130 yards through nine games, Max Johnson (1,291 yards rushing) and Landon Smith (400 yards receiving).