HAZARD – September 19, 2019 – JJ Baker – Bluegrass Sports Nation
Hazard will make the trek to Danville this Friday night to take on the Admirals for the first time since 2006. Danville made short work of the Bulldogs, winning 63-14 in a season that would have the Ads make it to the finals and eventually fall to Newport Central Catholic in a 37-34 thriller and the Bulldogs upset a Pikeville team in the District Finals to make it to the Region for the first time of what would eventually be 12 consecutive trips for the Bulldogs. Friday night will be the first of a home and away for each team for at least the next two seasons and will have the Admirals traveling to Hazard next year. Danville will enter the game with a 1-3 record. The Admirals have played some very good opponents, however. Those three losses have came at the hands of Boyle County, Bardstown, and Madison Southern. Boyle County is back to the Boyle County of old under the direction of Chuck Smith. Bardstown looks as though they have a possible contender to Louisville Central in that 3A Region and Madison Southern will be in the thick of their 5A District 7 race by the end of October also. The 2-1 Hazard Bulldogs will be facing what could be a very dangerous opponent. Danville will be a hungry team that may feel as though it has it’s back to the wall.
Danville will bring something to the game Friday the Bulldogs haven’t seen a lot of this year, speed. This Admiral squad is fast and quick at a lot of positions and is the fastest team the Bulldogs have faced this season. Danville’s secondary and skill kids can make you look silly in a hurry and grabbing at air where an Admiral once stood or closing down passing lanes fast! This is a great game, however, to prepare these young Bulldogs for teams on their side of the state and class like Pikeville and Paintsville who will both potentially be faster than this Danville Squad. Danville will likely be led on offense by up and coming freshman Sage Dawson. Dawson is a big QB that moves well and plays above his freshman age. He is 30-46 on the season for 241 yards. He has split time with Brady Morse who is also 30-46 and 200 yards. Their rushing attack is led by sophomore Caleb Burns who is gaining an amazing 120 yards per game. Junior Corydon Crawford is the leading receiver, though many of his receiving yards are coming by way of a forward pitch on Jet sweep motion. Crawford is a dangerous back who can stick his toe in the ground and get up field in a hurry. Hazard needs to contain him before he can get a chance to run downhill. The strong suit for the Bulldogs this season has been stopping the power run game, but Danville’s Jet Sweeps and inside zone runs are a little different. The Admirals will use their athleticism to get them freed up instead of relying on the ground and pound. Defensively the Ads are giving up almost 36 points per game and their offense is scoring 20 per game. The Bulldogs must take advantage of that defense in order to leave Danville with a win.
The Bulldogs will enter the contest on a two game win streak taking down Prestonsburg in week 2 and Floyd Central in week 3. This young Bulldog team is getting ready to enter the heart of their schedule. This week will start a brutal 4 game run that will see them take on Danville this week,#3 in 1A Paintsville next week, then #1 2A Somerset, and finally #1 1A Pikeville. Coach Dixon has assured his young squad will be battle tested by the time playoffs roll around with this schedule. The Bulldogs have settled in with a relatively balanced offensive attack so far and have 54 passing attempts and 62 rushing attempts for an almost 50/50 split. Miller has started to settle into his role as QB1 and has done well so far gaining 700 yards through the air and tossing 7 TDs to only 2 INTs. The bulk of the rushing yards have gone to senior Trajon Campbell who is gaining 65 yards per game and has almost 200 yards for the season. After a huge game against Floyd Central, Andrew Ford is now Hazard’s leading receiver with 244 yards. It’s early in the yet and those leaders could change weekly depending on what opposing teams give the Bulldogs defensively and if Miller keeps finding the open man. Defensively Hazard has continued to be stingy on defense only giving up 14 points per game and already having 8 take aways with 7 fumble recoveries and 1 INT. Leading that defense are seniors Reece Fletcher and Mason Collins. Fletcher is averaging 13 tackles per game and Collins almost 10. To go along with these two big men in the middle has been Timmy Owsley with his hand in the dirt. Owsley has recorded 14 tackles so far from his tackle position and wrecked havoc on opposing o-lineman with his explosiveness.
It should be a great game Friday night in Danville. If any Bulldog faithful make the trip, you may want to pack a sweater or jacket as fall will be in the air and temperatures could creep toward the 50’s as the game progresses. Kickoff, as usual, will be at 7:30pm . Come out and support the Bulldogs if possible and if not, check back in with BluegrassSportsNation.com on Saturday for the recap and all your local high school and college sports coverage.