If you love road trips, then you’d love to be a Hazard Bulldog this season. For the fifth time in six games, the Bulldogs hit the road and traveled to Eastern Pike County to take on the Phelps Hornets. Phelps entered the game with a 4-1 record and was looking to ride some momentum after a big 52-0 win over Fairview and find a signature win for head coach David Jones. Since taking the program over in 2016, Coach Jones has shown steady progress with the Hornet’s football program going 4-6 in his first season, 5-5 last season, and had won 4 out their first 5 to start this season. Hazard was entering the game with a 3-2 record after a loss in the fourth quarter the previous week to rival and district foe Pikeville. This game was important for post season alignments and would decide who would go on the road week 1 of the playoffs.
Hazard started the game with a methodical drive down the field that saw Hazard RB Skylar Pelfrey punch the ball in from the one yard line to end a 4 minute drive to start the game. Jonah Helm added the extra point to put Hazard up 7-0. Phelps answered with a drive of their own that stalled on the Bulldog 14 and gave the ball back to Hazard. The Bulldogs went back to work marching down the field until a turnover gave the ball back to the Hornets just before the end of the first quarter. After a Hornet’s punt, the Bulldogs put their second score of the night on the board when Trajon Campbell ran in his first of 3 touchdowns for the game from 15 yards out and a Helm PAT put them up 14-0. After the kickoff and a Hornet 8 play drive resulted in a turnover on downs, Campbell would find the end zone again on a 6 yard run. Phelps was unable to cover Hazard’s “Swinging Gate” extra point and Skylar Pelfrey found Andrew Ford in the back of the end zone on a beautiful option pass two point conversion that put the Bulldogs up 22-0. Campbell’s last score of the night would come just before the end of the half when he scored from 21 yards out this time to put the Bulldogs up 29-0 with a Helm PAT at the intermission.
The second half would be a defensive struggle that would see only one score by each team to set the final mark of the game at 35-6. Garrett Miller ran Hazards final touchdown of the night in from 4 yards out. Some new faces popped up for the Bulldogs Thursday night and the Hazard coaches got a chance to look at what the future may have in store as they played many of the younger players for some of the 3rd quarter and all younger players in the 4th. Trajon Campbell ran the ball well behind his big offensive line and gained 137 yards on 10 carries for a breakout performance. Adding to the ground game was Reece Fletcher with 3 carries for 38 yards, and Skylar Pelfrey who had 6 carries for 26 yards. Bailey Blair was 13/18 for 206 yards before handing the reigns over to Garrett Miller who was 3/6 with 54 yards on the night and also added 20 yards on the ground. Six receivers hauled in passes for the Bulldogs and were led by Andy Baker who had 4 receptions for 74 yards. Tyson Turner added 5 catches for 64yds, with Isaiah Stupart (3/59yd), Kyle Johnson (2/29yd), Andrew Ford (2/18yd), and Ethan “Gibby” Gibson (1/7yd) all gaining positive receiving yards. The Bulldogs finished the night with an impressive and balanced offensive attack that gained 485 total yards. On the night they accumulated 222 rushing and 263 passing yards.
Defensively the Bulldogs were very stingy all night. Hazard gave up only 207 yards of offense in the contest with 143 yards on the ground and only 64 yards passing. Special team tackles and defensive stops put 20 different Bulldogs in the books Thursday night. Hazard was led in tackles by Isaiah Stupart and freshman Cameron Caudill who each had 11. Stupart also added 2 tackles for loss, 1/2 sack, 1 caused fumble, and 1 fumble recovery. Other Bulldogs with stops on the night included Andy Baker(10 tackles and 1 pass knock down), Skylar Pelfrey (8 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1/2 sack), Ben Adams (7 tackles), Parker Holbrook (5 tackles, 1 tackle for loss), Trajon Campbell (5 tackles), Ryan Dean (5 Tackles), Mason Collins (4 tackles), Zane Deaton (3 tackles), Reece Fletcher (2 tackles), Tyson Turner (2 tackles), Jacob Brashear (1 tackle), Campbell Davis (1 tackle), Gibby Gibson (1 tackle), Keaton Napier (1 tackle), Nate Smith (1 tackle), Ryan Davidson (1 tackle), Nick Combs (1 tackle), and Kenton Beverly (1 tackle).
Next up for the Bulldogs will be the Paintsville Tigers. Last year the Hazard vs. Paintsville game was a shootout and the Tigers held off the Bulldogs with a last minute goal line stand to win the game. These two teams have a lot of history and the winner can usually be decided by a coin flip with many times the favorite coming out on the losing end of this one. This will start a 4 game home stand for the Bulldogs that will continue through the first round of the playoffs. A preview of the game will be available mid week on BluegrassSportsNation.com