High School Football – Pikeville Upends Hazard 33-27 in an Instant Classic

Pikeville defender knocks ball away from Hazard receiver – Photo by Ron Hamblin

September 28, 2018 – Pikeville, Kentucky – JJ Baker – Bluegrass Sports Nation Hazard – Football Columnist

If you didn’t have anything to do Friday night and happened by W.C. Hambley Athletic Complex on Pikeville High School’s campus to watch a football game, you were treated to one of the best examples of an old fashion, hard hitting, rivalry game. A game that had a back an forth scoring battle, back and forth coaching adjustments, and even a little controversy and was well worth the price of admission. Coming into the game the Panthers were coming off back to back losses at the hands of 3A power Belfry and W.V. powerhouse Point Pleasant. Pikeville had fallen to their in county rival Belfry two weeks earlier 36-21 in a game that saw the Panthers hold their own and at times out physical a strong Pirate team. The next week they fell, after a road trip up the Ohio River to Point Pleasant, by a score of 41-34 where the Panthers had a chance to tie on the last play of the game. Hazard came into the game wining 3 out of 4 games on the season with wins over 5A teams like Harlan County and Letcher Central, with another win over the Prestonsburg Blackcats. The Bulldogs lone loss on the season came at the hands of a defensively stingy Somerset Briar Jumper squad. This was the first district game of the year for both teams and had home field playoff implications through the semi final game in November for the winner.

Hazard started off with a bend but don’t break defensive series that saw them get the ball into the hands of Bulldog QB Bailey Blair and running back Skylar Pelfrey after a big stand and turnover on downs on their own 19. The Bulldogs started off with a couple of good runs by Pelfrey that chewed up yardage until and overthrown pass saw the first score of the game on a pick six by Pikeville’s Christian Billiter. Isaiah Stupart blocked the extra point and the score was 6-0, Pikeville early in the 1st. After punts by both teams, Hazard drove the ball down the field 97 yards and hit their point after to take the lead 7-6 early in the 2nd quarter. A big goal line stand with 4:00 to go in the half held Pikeville out of the end zone and gave Hazard a chance to extend their lead. The drive would stall and the Bulldogs would have to punt the ball away and on the ensuing drive Pikeville QB Connor Roberts would make the Bulldogs pay on a 34 yard run that snaked its way through the Hazard defense en route to the end zone, putting the Panthers up 12-7 after a failed two point conversion and 1:28 to go in the half. Hazard’s offense struck fast though, marching down the field and allowing kicker Jonah Helm to put a 31 yard field goal through the goal posts with time expiring to set the halftime score at 12-10, Pikeville

Coming out of the half the Bulldogs received and drove the ball deep into Panther territory. Jonah Helm again put another field goal through and allowed the Bulldogs to take the lead 13-12. After trading two touchdowns each the score was knotted at 27-27 late in the 4th quarter when Pikeville put a its final points of the night on the board to go up 33-27. Instead of kicking the extra point, Pikeville went for the fake and was stopped. Hazard received the ball and drove down the field on the shoulders of several Skylar Pelfrey runs. Pikeville was able to knock down Blair’s pass and hold the dogs on fourth and 8th to get a turnover on downs with just over 2:00 left in the game and were able to run the clock out after a few offensive plays.

On the night Blair finished 6/13 for 110 yards. The bulk of the offense was shouldered by an incredible performance by Skylar Pelfrey who rushed 33 times for 213 yards and played a full night of defense also. Reece Fletcher added 37 yards rushing and Blair added 35 more for a Bulldog total of 285 yards on the ground. Pelfrey also led the receiving corp with 1 catch for 35 yards. He was followed by Andy Baker (1/32yd), Fletcher (1/25), and Isaiah Stupart (3/18). Jonah Helm continued the perfect ways of the kickers in the PATs, going 3/3 and adding a 31 and a 29 yard field goal through the game. The Bulldogs were led on defense by Fletcher with 2 solo tackles and 9 assists for a total of 11 on the night. 13 Bulldogs made it into the defensive stat book Friday night with Baker (10), Mason Collins (10), Bryson Sayers (9), Pelfrey (6), Trajon Campbell (4), Ben Adams (4), Stupart (4), Tyson Turner (4), Jacob Brashear (2), Parker Holbrook (2), Cameron Caudill (2), and Zane Deaton (1) all recording tackles.

The game Friday night had everything you’d want out of a high school football game. The Bulldogs just happen to come up short in this one. Hazard will be back in action this week in a Thursday night game against an up and coming Phelps team for another district showdown and another road game for these road warrior Bulldogs. Kickoff is set for 7:00pm Thursday October 4. Check Bluegrass Sports Nation this week to get a preview of the match up between the Bulldogs and Hornets.

Sponsored in part by:
Scott Alexander
Perry County Tire
State Representative Chris Harris
Faith Pharmacy, Inc.
Robert F. Wright, Attorney at Law
Dream Homes of Hazard
People’s Bank and Trust of Hazard