On Friday, the Hazard Bulldog football team traveled to Williamsburg for the second round of the state Class A playoffs. The Bulldogs (9-2) took on the Yellow Jackets (7-4).
Williamsburg got on the board first, taking the opening drive the length of the field in just four plays. Hazard would respond with a long drive that consumed half the time on the clock, and took 10 plays. Cory Smith finished off the drive with a 5 yard run (7-7).
The Bulldogs stopped the next Yellow Jacket drive on an interception by Cheikh Ndiaye. Hazard took over on the Williamsburg 35 yard line, and wasted little time finding the end zone as Smith picked up his second touchdown of the evening from 10 yards out (14-7).
Early in the second quarter, the Bulldogs struck again. This time, Reese Fletcher would take the handoff and scamper 11 yards up the middle for the 21-7 lead.
After a strong defensive stand by the Bulldogs, they took over on their own 20 yard line. On the first play from scrimmage, Jason Johnson took a short pass from Bailey Blair and ran through the Yellow Jacket defense for an 80-yard touchdown (28-7).
With seven minutes remaining in the half, Williamsburg was able to cut the Hazard lead in half (28-14). However, it would take less than two minutes for the Bulldogs to erase the score as Cory Smith picked up his third touchdown of the night on a 26 yard run (35-14).
The final score of the first half would belong to the Yellow Jackets. They were able to pick up three points on their second field goal attempt of the night. Hazard went into the break with the 35-17 advantage.
The Bulldogs took the second half kickoff the length of the field for the first of three third quarter scores. Cory Smith concluded his night with a 13 yard run (his fourth td of the night).
Back to back defensive stops by the Bulldogs set up a pair of Matthew Francis touchdown runs. The first covered 5 yards and the second 20 yards. Going into the fourth quarter, Hazard held the 56-17 lead.
Williamsburg got a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter, but they proved to be insignificant as Hazard prevailed 56-31. The Bulldogs will travel to Pikeville next week to take on the Panthers.
Hazard stats: Rushing: Matthew Francis 5 for 67 yards and 2 tds, Bailey Blair 3 for 13 yards, Ethan Caldwell 3 for 21 yards, Trajon Campbell 4 for 12 yards, Mason Collins 3 for 40 yards, Reese Fletcher 7 for 68 yards and 1 td, Cory Smith 29 for 401 yards and 4 tds. Passing: Bailey Blair 1 of 2 for 80 yards and 1 td. Receiving: Jason Johnson 1 for 80 yards and 1 td. Extra-points: Tyler Collins 8. Interceptions: Andy Baker 1, Reese Fletcher 1 and Cheikh Ndiaye 1. Tackles: Ethan Caldwell 4, Austin Combs 4, Robbie Davidson 4, Reese Fletcher 2, Matthew Francis 1, Draven Goins 1, Daniel Grigsby 4, Jordan Hill 3, Kade Holland 6, Jason Johnson 1, Cheikh Ndiaye 3, Skylar Pelfrey 5, Austin Smith 3 and Braxton Whitaker 7.
Tony McGuire can be reached via email at [email protected]