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Bulldogs Roll Over Prestonsburg

Brayden Thomas - photo by Larry Robinson - Bluegrass Sports Nation

Dogs get first win of season on road in Pburg

PRESTONSBURG – September 6, 2019 – JJ Baker – BSN Hazard Football Columnist

It didn’t take the Hazard Bulldogs long to assert themselves against the Blackcats in Friday night’s game in Prestonsburg. Hazard started fast and never looked back in what would end up being a running clock affair with the Bulldogs taking the win 47-14. The Blackcats could never get their footing against the stout Hazard defense and the Bulldogs offense seemed to be clicking on all cylinders.

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The Bulldogs came into the game having stressed the importance of special teams throughout the practice week. The young Dogs responded well as they covered the opening kickoff and pinned the Blackcats deep in their own territory.

After a quick three and out, the Bulldogs just missed a punt block that hurried the kicker and let the Bulldog’s offense set up on the P-burg side of the 50. It only took one play for Hazard’s Garrett Miller to find Mason Collins for a 45 yard pitch and catch that put the Bulldogs up 7-0 after a Jonah Helm PAT.

After another well covered kick, the Bulldogs again brought that stingy defense to the field and held the Blackcats to another 3 and out. The second play from scrimmage resulted in another well thrown ball by Miller, this time to Andrew Ford, for a big 34 yard gain. Miller found Ford two plays later for a 7 yard touchdown to put the Bulldogs up 14-0 after the PAT.

A diving shoestring tackle by Zane Deaton pinned the Blackcats inside of their own 20 to start their third drive of the night. The Prestonsburg offense was again turned away, as the Dogs were able to hold on a 4th and short attempt to force a turnover on downs.

After another Ford reception for a first down, it was senior Trajon Campbell’s turn as he found the end zone on the ground for a 13 yard scamper behind his big line of Dalton Strong, Matt Couch, Kenton Beverly, Ryan Dean, and Thomas Massey. The Helm kick would make it 21-0 with only half of the first quarter complete.

The Bulldogs would again take over after a sack by senior Reece Fletcher pinned the Blackcats deep in their own territory, forcing them to punt. Miller’s next target for the end zone was Tyson Turner, who he found for a 38 yard reception. After a missed PAT, Hazard was up 27-0, early in the second quarter.

This time it was Ford’s turn to pin the Prestonsburg offense deep on kick off as he stopped the returner cold on the P-burg 15 yard line. Another 3 and out by the Hazard defense made the Blackcats punt again and the Dogs started again near mid-field.

Freshman Elijah Gayheart was the offensive spark on the next drive as his first run of the night netted him 35 yards and put the Bulldogs deep into Blackcat territory again. The Bulldogs would have to settle for a 33 yard field goal by Helm that would put them up 30-0.

The Bulldogs special teams continued to do well as they, on the ensuing kickoff, forced a fumble and recovered to set the offense up again in Prestonsburg territory, this time inside their 15 yard line. Gayheart would then score his first career touchdown as a Bulldog on a 10 yard scurry into the end zone. Nick Combs then put the PAT through to put the Bulldogs up 37-0 to get the running clock for the night.

The Bulldogs again recovered a kick as it caromed off an outstretched Blackcats hands and good kick coverage had Hazard in a place to fall on it. After the Blackcats forced the Hazard field goal unit onto the field, Prestonsburg came up with a big special teams play of their own. After blocking the field goal, the Blackcat defender was able to scoop the ball and go 86 yards for the score.

After a successful 2 point conversion try, Prestonsburg kicked off to the Bulldogs for the first time of the night. Tyson Turner would get his second touchdown of the night as the Bulldogs special team play shined again and great blocking sprung the sophomore for an incredible 97 yard return. Combs added the PAT and put the Bulldogs up 44-8.

Turner would start the second half with another big return of 30 yards. Dual threat Nick Miller took over the duties for Garrett Miller in the QB role and immediately made his presence known with a 30 yard run of his own. The Blackcat defense held Hazard out of the end zone, but Helm added another field goal, this time from 36 yards to set Hazard’s final score of the night and bring the total to 47-8. The Blackcats would add a touchdown with time expiring to set the final score at 47-14.

Hazard improves it’s record to 1-1 and Prestonsburg falls to 0-3. This Bulldog group showed a lot of maturity this week by being able to improve so much on the special teams side of the ball. They had noticeable improvements in all parts of the game and should continue to get better as the year progresses.

Hazard will face off against another Floyd County team next week in the Floyd Central Jaguars. It will be the first meeting between the two schools since Floyd Central became a school in 2017. Check back with Bluegrass Sports Nation on Thursday for the game preview!!!

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