The Hazard Bulldogs found themselves in an unfamiliar position this week, needing a win to stop a three-game losing streak. The Bulldogs hosted the Prestonsburg Blackcats on Friday, and in a big way out an end to the streak.
The Hazard defense stymied Prestonsburg on the opening drive, setting the Bulldogs up with good field position. Hazard pushed the ball downfield slowly on their own opening drive, and ended with a six-yard run by Austin Johnson (6-0).
The Bulldogs all but put the game on ice in the second quarter as they put three scores on the board. Evan Whitaker broke into the end zone on back-to-back three-yard runs. The first finished with a surprise flip of the ball from extra-point holder Austin Johnson over the line to Josh Meehan.
Hazard got the ball back with a little less than a minute on the clock. The Bulldogs could not find the end zone, but put a 35-yard field goal (Kevin Eversole) on the board as time ran out. Hazard went into the break with the 24-0 lead.
The Bulldogs came out of the locker room with the momentum and completed their first drive with a 30-yard dash up the middle by Evan Whitaker. Hazard’s 31-point run came to an end when Prestonsburg’s Zack Blanton pulled down a pass in the end zone, giving the Blackcats their first score (31-6).
Hazard quickly erased the touchdown, however, with one of their own. The Bulldogs capped a strong drive with an 11-yard run by Austin Johnson (Eversole added his third extra point), giving them the 38-6 advantage.
The Blackcats got their offense rolling in the fourth quarter, but it would be too little, too late. Prestonsburg hit for two touchdowns in the period, tightening the score to 38-20, but time would run out and Hazard would collect the 38-20 win.
Hazard stats: Rushing: Kody Arnett 4 for 3 yards, Alex Francis 6 for 37 yards, Nathan Higgins 1 for 5 yards, Austin Johnson 7 for 29 yards and 2 Tds, Jimmy Perkins 4 for 22 yards, Dan Turner 2 for 30 yards, and Evan Whitaker 10 for 56 yards and 3 Tds. Passing: Austin Johnson 1 of 1 for 3 yards, Cole Ratliff 2 of 3 for 9 yards, and Evan Whitaker 18 of 24 for 244 yards. Receiving: Kody Arnett 2 for 13 yards, Jarrod Combs 2 for 23 yards, Cade Fletcher 1 for 18 yards, Nathan Higgins 4 for 63 yards, Trey Higgins 1 for 13 yards, Austin Johnson 5 for 70 yards, Josh Meehan 1 for 13 yards, Jalen Olinger 1 for 1 yard and Jordan Olinger 4 for 64 yards. Interceptions: Josh Meehan 1, Jordan Olinger 1, and Nathan Stupart 1. Fumble Recovery: Austin Johnson 1. Tackles: Jarrod Combs 2, Hilton Dixon 2, Cade Fletcher 3, Alex Francis 5, Nathan Higgins 7, Trey Higgins 1, Austin Johnson 9, Josh Meehan 7, Jalen Olinger 10, Jordan Olinger 5, Jimmy Perkins 1, Jacob Roll 6, Houston Smith 1, Nathan Stupart 9, Austin Vergne 1 and Ryan Whitaker 1.