The Hazard Bulldogs hosted the Somerset Briar Jumpers on Friday in what will be remembered as a gridiron classic. The Bulldogs had not defeated the Briar Jumpers in more than a half century, but were able to pull out the win with a late touchdown that iced the 32-28 win.
The defenses set the tone early, as yardage was at a premium for the offense. Somerset took the early lead late in the first period as Cam Cheuvront hauled in a 12-yard pass from Castle Hatcher (7-0).
Hazard got on the board early in the second period. Brandon Jones capped a long drive with a three-yard run, and also added the two-point conversion for a 8-7 Bulldog lead.
Midway through the period, the two teams traded field goals. Somerset went first with a 35-yard shot by Alex Franklin (8-9). Hazard then took the lead 11-9 with a 31-yard blast by Kevin Eversole.
However, the final score of the half went to the Briar Jumpers. Bryson Jones broke through the defense for a one-yard touchdown. Somerset went into the locker room with the 16-11 lead.
The Briar Jumpers came out of the intermission bent on taking control of the game. When their drive stalled, however, they had to settle for a 26-yard field goal (19-11).
On the ensuing possession, Hazard fed the Briar Jumpers a steady diet of run. Brandon Jones racked up the yardage against the Somerset defense, and concluded the drive with a three-yard run. Again, Jones added the conversion, tying the score at 19. The outcome of the game was left to be decided in the fourth quarter.
Somerset opened the period with a 32-yard field goal (22-19), only to see Hazard take the lead on a 34-yard run by Brandon Jones, and after the Kevin Eversole kick, the Bulldogs had the 26-22 lead.
Late in the game, the Briar Jumpers made a case for the win when they finished a drive with a 10-yard pass play (Hatcher to Cheuvront) giving the the 28-26 lead.
With their backs to the wall, and time running out, Brandon Jones came to the rescue with his fourth touchdown of the night. Jones scampered 70 yards through the defense for the score (32-28). Somerset would not answer, and the Bulldogs took the win.
Hazard stats: Rushing: Kody Arnett 5 carries for 19 yards, Brandon Jones 25 carries for 265 yards and 4 tds, and Tanner Morgan 1 carry for 3 yards. Passing: Tanner Morgan 7 of 11 for 123 yards. Receiving: Trey Higgins 3 catches for 19 yards, Chris Hudson 3 catches for 84 yards and Jason Johnson 1 catch for 20 yards. Cade Fletcher 1 interception. Tackles: Kody Arnett 12, Anthony Asher 1, Jacob Blanton 1, Jordan Chiders 2, Hilton Dixon 2, Kevin Eversole 2, Cade Fletcher 15, Trey Higgins 3, Caleb Holcomb 1, Kaleb Huber 7, Jason Johnson 7, Brandon Jones 2, Blake Lockhart 1, Josh Meehan 8, Jimmy Perkins 3, Cole Ratliff 5, Jacob Roll 7 and Houston Smith 2.