HAZARD – An offensive showdown in the first quarter turned into all Hazard the rest of the game as the Bulldogs routed Harlan 56-19 in district action Friday at Daniel Field.
Both teams scored on their first two possessions as Hazard led 14-13 after one quarter.
“I expected a whole lot different than the outcome was,” said Harlan coach J.B. Donahue. “We did what we say we wanted to do and won up front early and drove the ball down the field. I was real pleased early on with the first couple of drives, but the kids have a lot to build on.”
The Dragons were held scoreless in the second and third quarters. Hazard put up 14 points in all four periods.
Senior Nathan Higgins scored two touchdowns rushing and a pair of TD catches from senior quarterback Evan Whitaker.
Higgins’ 49-yard touchdown run and Kevin Eversole’s extra point with nine seconds remaining in the opening quarter gave the Bulldogs the lead for good.
Whitaker found Higgins for a 78-yard TD pass with 7:59 left in the first half. Austin Johnson added the two-point conversion as Hazard led 22-13.
Higgins scored on a 58-yard TD pass from Whitaker with 1:46 left before halftime.
Whitaker connected with Jordan Olinger on an 18-yard pass with 8:46 remaining in the third quarter. Eversole’s kick was good.
Five minutes later, the lead swelled to 42-13 as Higgins scored from the 43.
The younger players played the remainder of the game for both teams.
Harlan’s sophomore quarterback Tanner Morris scored on a 5-yard run to make it 49-19.
The Bulldogs closed the scoring at the 2:22 mark as freshmen quarterback Cole Ratliff found freshmen Cade Fletcher for a 77-yard TD pass.
Whitaker completed 15 of 19 passes for 341 yards. Higgins caught two passes for 136 yards and rushed for 154 yards on seven carries.
“That’s a good football team,” said Donahue of Hazard. “They came back and wore us out.”
The Green Dragons had 203 total yards, including 109 through the air. Harlan was held to 72 yards in the second half.
The Dragons opened the scoring on their possession as Harlan covered 70 yards on 10 plays. Ty Saragas found Eric Young for a 28-yard TD pass at the 7:34 mark. Young’s kick was perfect.
Hazard fought back with a 67-yard drive on 11 plays as Whitaker scored from the 2. Eversole tied the game with the kick.
Harlan’s next possession was set up as Young raced 80 yards on the kickoff. Four plays later, Dalton Overbay scored on a 5-yard run. The kick was blocked.
Hazard (1-0 district, 3-3 overall) travels to Jenkins on Friday. Harlan (0-1, 3-4) plays host to Pineville.