Bulldogs advance in playoff win over Berea
by Tony McGuire
The Hazard Bulldogs hosted the Berea Pirates in the opening round of the Class A state playoffs Friday, jumping out to the early lead before ending with the 62-18 rout.
The first period would not start well for the Bulldogs, but would quickly pick up as Hazard posted a pair of touchdowns. The first would be a short pass to Brandon Jones. By the time the play had ended, Jones had covered 48 yards (7-0).
The second score of the period would also go to Brandon Jones. This time Jones would take the handoff 78 yards to paydirt (14-0).
The Bulldog defense would continue to shutout the Pirates in the second period. On the other side of the ball, Hazard struck for two more touchdowns.
After a strong run to near the goal line, Kody Arnett finished the job he started with a two-yard run. Moments later, Jordan Olinger ran one in from 15 yards out. One of the extra points was blocked, sending the Bulldogs into the locker room with the 27-0 advantage.
Hazard kept the momentum on their side as the third quarter began. Again, the Bulldogs struck for back-to-back touchdowns. Jarrod Combs pulled down a five-yard pass from Evan Whitaker (34-0), and Brandon Jones broke off another long run for 76 yards (42-0).
Berea was finally able to break the ice, scoring on a 55-yard run. They were unable to garner the conversion, setting the score at 41-6.
The Bulldogs closed out the quarter with a touchdown, giving them the 48-6 lead. Nathan Higgins collected the six with a 10-yard run (48-6).
The two teams traded a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Berea struck first with a six-yard run (48-12). Hazard countered with a seven-yard run by Cade Fletcher (55-12).
Late in the game, the two teams traded scores in a matter of seconds. The Pirates finished off a drive with a three-yard run, and the Bulldogs’ Jalen Olinger returned the ensuing kickoff 86 yards, setting the final score at 62-18.
Hazard stats: Rushing: Kody Arnett 2 for 33 yards and 1 td, Cade Fletcher 3 for 54 yards and 1 td, Nathan Higgins 4 for 15 yards and 1 td, Trey Higgins 1 for 34 yards, Brandon Jones 3 for 201 yards and 2 tds, Jordan Olinger 1 for 15 yards and 1 td, Jimmy Perkins 4 for 20 yards and Dan Turner 1 for 6 yards. Passing: Cole Ratliff 1 of 1 for 5 yards and Evan Whitaker 8 of 12 for 156 yards and 2 tds. Receiving: Jarrod Combs 3 for 64 yards and 1 td, Alex Francis 1 for 5 yards, Nathan Higgins 1 for 2 yards, Chris Hudson 1 for 12 yards, Brandon Jones 1 for 48 yards and 1 td, and Jordan Olinger 2 for 31 yards. Interception: Nathan Higgins 1. Tackles: Kody Arnett 9, Anthony Asher 1, Jacob Blanton 4, Jacob Combs 3, Hilton Dixon 2, Cade Fletcher 6, Alex Francis 13, Dylan Goins 1, Nathan Higgins 5, Trey Higgins 4, Caleb Holcomb 1, Chris Hudson 1, Joe Hurt 1, Tyler Logan 2, Josh Meehan 8, Jalen Olinger 8, Jordan Olinger 10, Jimmy Perkins 3, Jacob Roll 7, Houston Smith 4, Nathan Stupart 7, Austin Vergne 1 and Ryan Whitaker 5.
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