On Friday, the Hazard Bulldogs hosted the Pikeville Panthers in a matchup of Class A powerhouses. The Bulldogs struggled a little with their offense in the early going, and fell behind. They were unable to keep pace down the stretch and fell to the Panthers 56-28.
Pikeville would opened the game with a two touchdown lead in the first quarter. Hazard would finish the first quarter with a touchdown of their own as Cole Ratliff capped a drive with a 4-yard run. They would fail on the extra-point attempt setting the first quarter score at 14-6.
The Panthers’ defense and offense continued to fire on all cylinders in the second period, and they would replicate the first quarter with two consecutive touchdowns (28-6). As time was running out in the half, the Bulldogs would post another score. This time, Cole Ratliff’s run would cover 2-yards.Hazard would make good on the 2-pt. conversion, sending them to the half trailing 28-14.
The momentum stayed on the Hazard side of the field as the second half started. The Bulldogs capped their opening drive with a 5-yard run by Corey Smith (28-21).
Pikeville quickly responded with a touchdown, but missed the extra-point, setting the score at 34-21. This sent Hazard into the final 12 minutes needing to make up two touchdowns if they were going to pull out the come from behind win.
The Panthers quickly put an end to the Bulldogs’ hopes of a comeback. Pikeville pushed their lead to 49-21 with back-to-back touchdowns.
Hazard would find the end zone one more time as Cole Ratliff hooked up with Jason Johnson on an 8-yard pass play (49-28). Pikeville would not let the touchdown stand as they erased it with the game’s final score. The touchdown set the final tally at 56-28.
Hazard stats: Rushing: Cade Fletcher 1 carry for 2 yards, Cole Ratliff 26 carries for 158 yards and 2 tds, and Corey Smith 22 carries for 82 yards and 1 td. Passing: Cole Ratliff 8 of 21 for 114 yards and 1 td. Receiving: Jacob Blanton 1 for 2 yards, Jason Johnson 6 for 97 yards and 1 td, and Trey Pollard 1 for 15 yards. Fumble Recoveries: Jacob Brown 1. Tackles: Andy Baker 1, Bailey Blair 2, Jacob Blanton 4, Jacob Brown 2, Trevor Coots 1, Robbie Davidson 3, Cade Fletcher 2, Jordan Hill 3, Kade Holland 2, Jason Johnson 2, Dalton May 4, Skylar Pelfrey 4, Cole Ratliff 3, Bryson Sayers 1, Austin Smith 2 and Isaiah Stupart 2. Extra-points Tyler Collins 2.
Tony McGuire can be reached at 606-436-5771 or on Twitter @HazardHerald.