Dale Earnhardt Jr’s footprint
By Steve Mickey

Dale Earnhardt Jr may have never won a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup championship but the footprint that he left on the sport has not been matched by to many drivers in the history of the sport. Dale Jr capitalized on what he learned as a young boy when he was a common sight in the victory lane celebrations of his late father as he understood what the sport was about and he grasped the relationship that he saw between drivers and their fans.
The knock on Dale Jr’s career will always be that he never won a title but when you really dive into the numbers that he put up, it is easy to see that he leaves the sport as one of the more successful drivers to ever compete in the series. He made 26 trips to a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup victory lane, one of eleven drivers to win the Daytona 500 twice and was a two-time NASCAR Xfinity Series champion.

Lady Bulldogs drop season opener to Leslie County, 61-56

By Mike Smith
Sports Writer

Tuesday night’s season and district opener between Hazard and Leslie County was a tight one for the duration. The lead was back and forth through most of the first half, with the Lady Eagles up only four at the break. The Lady Bulldogs battled every possession, but Leslie County came up with some big defensive plays down the stretch and got a great offensive performance from their sophomore guard Hailee Mullins. Hazard fell to the Lady Eagles, 61-56.
The Lady Bulldogs showed a few things; solid rebounding on both ends, good defense in stretches particularly on the interior, and some good passing between their bigs.

Commodores fall at Southwestern
By Mike Smith
Sports Writer

Southwestern made everything a challenge for Perry Central in this one. The Warriors played with focus and used their strength and speed to deadly advantage on both sides of the ball. The Commodores were held to their lowest point total of the year, as Southwestern cruised to a 56-8 victory last Friday night in the opening round of the Class 5A playoffs.
Perry Central finished the season with a 7-4 record. This season also saw coach Tom Larkey pick up his 300th career win.

Bulldogs advance to second round with win over Pineville
Hazard’s Braxton Whitaker breaks free from a tackle for a long run Friday night against Pineville in the opening round of the Class A playoffs. The Bulldogs rolled over Pineville with a 50-22 win.

By Mike Smith
Sports Writer

Hazard struck early and often Friday night against Pineville in the opening round of the Class A playoffs.
Pineville mustered three unanswered scores at one point, but the Bulldogs were just too much for the Mountain Lions. Hazard ended up winning 50-22 to move on to the second round of the Class A Russell playoffs.
Bailey Blair was throwing the ball well Friday night. He went six of seven for 220 yards passing and three TDs. Braxton Whitaker led the game in receiving with two catches for 112 yards and two TDs. Skylar Pelfrey had one 51-yard TD reception. Mathew Francis was the leading rusher for the Bulldogs with 109 yards and two TDs on four carries. Nick Miller and Cory Colwell rushed for a TD each.

Bulldogs shutout Leslie County
By Randy White
Regional Sports Editor

Hazard cruised to a 33-0 shutout win over Leslie County last Friday night.
The Bulldogs gained 385 total yards of offense against the Eagles. Hazard’s defense only gave up 126 total yards in the shutout win.
Quarterback Bailey Blair led the way for the Bulldogs once again. Blair was 15 of 21 passing for 173 yards. He also added 65 rushing yards on 10 carries.

Commodores fall to Harlan County

By Mike Smith
Sports Writer

Perry Central was on the road at Harlan County last Friday, hoping to knock off the Black Bears and improve to 2-2 in 5A District 8 play.
The Commodores struggled to find any rhythm on offense in this one. Harlan County claimed the lead early and never gave it up, winning 38-14 over visiting Perry Central.
Tyrese Simmons led the way for the Black Bear ground game, carrying the ball seven times for 97 yards and two TDs. Paul Stapleton pitched in another 42 rushing yards and two rushing TDs on his seven carries and Quinten Mickens ran the ball seven times for 61 yards and a TD. Colby Cochran went eight for 15 for 91 yards and a TD, with Devon Rodrigues catching four of those balls for 71 receiving yards and a TD.

Colonels down the Commodores
By Mike Smith
Sports Writer

Whitley County escaped with a 27-20 victory on Friday night, as Perry Central suffered its first loss of the season.
The Commodores were held to only 174 rushing yards; the offense’s lowest of the season. Jayden Neace worked hard for all 114 of his yards on the ground, which included one rushing score.

Bulldogs bury Hornets

By Mike Smith
Sports Writer

Phelps visited Hazard on Friday night, hoping to pull off a huge upset and notch a marquee win for their program.
But Hazard wasn’t about to let that happen on their home field. Bailey Blair led the Bulldogs to a 37-8 victory over another Class A District 8 foe.
Blair completed 17 of his 26 passing attempts for 227 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 32 yards (8 yards per carry) and a TD. Bryson Parks caught four of Blair’s passes and put up a team-leading 85 receiving yards plus a TD. Reese Fletcher was efficient with 58 rushing yards (9.7 yards per carry) and one rushing TD.

Hazard puts Pikeville away
By Mike Smith
Sports Writer

Pikeville traveled to Daniel Field on Friday night looking for its second win of the season, but Hazard managed to hold on for a 38-26 victory over their Class 1A District 8 rival.
Bailey Blair came up big for Hazard, going 14 for 19 through the air with 178 passing yards and one touchdown. He also put up 95 yards on the ground, while racking up three rushing TDs. Reese Fletcher also made a huge impact for the Bulldogs, rushing for 144 yards (9.6 yards per carry) and one rushing TD, while also coming up with a big interception.

Commodores light up Pike Central
By Cory Vance
Sports Writer

BUCKLEYS CREEK – Pike Central struggled up front against Perry Central’s size Friday night.
The Hawks struggled to get momentum going as the Commodores bullied their way to a 35-16 win.
Perry Central got on the board early Friday night when Jacob Woolum took the ball 32 yards into the end zone with 6:53 in the first. Cameron King came on for the extra point to put the Commodores up 7-0.

Bulldogs bounce back from loss with win over Prestonsburg
By Steve LeMaster
Sports Writer

PRESTONSBURG —  Prestonsburg and Hazard were even for a half, but the Blackcats couldn’t hold off the visiting team after intermission.
Visiting Hazard, which finished runner-up to Beechwood in Class A in 2016, blanked Prestonsburg 22-0 in the second half to pull away to beat the Blackcats 29-7 on Homecoming Night on Friday. 

Commodores roll Cougars, 44-34

By Mike Smith
Sports Writer

Perry County Central was on the road at Letcher Central Friday night. The undefeated Commodores took on the winless Cougars in the district opener for both teams. Jacob Woolum had a pair of pick-sixes and a rushing touchdown for Perry County Central, while Jayden Neace ran for 264 yards (7.5 yards per carry) and had four TDs in the Commodores’ 44-34 victory.
Perry Central moved to 5-0, matching its best start since 2011.
“I’m glad to be 1-0 in district,” the Perry Central’s Jacob Woolum said. “It feels good to be 5-0, but we have to keep going in district. We’re trying to do something that Perry Central’s never done before.”

Lady Bulldogs sweep Perry Central
By Mike Smith
Sports Writer

Having defeated the Perry Central at home earlier this year, Hazard was expected to win on Monday night, but the Lady Bulldogs were tired.
Hazard competed in the All “A” Classic this weekend. The Lady Bulldogs won three games in the All “A” Classic. Hazard advanced out of Pool Play winning two games and losing one. The Lady Bulldogs picked up a 2-0 (25-17, 25-6) win over West Carter in the first game in the Consolation Bracket. Hazard was eliminated in the next match by Washington County. Washington County eliminated Hazard with a 2-0 (25-22, 25-20) win.

Week 5 Prep Preview

By Randy White
Regional Sports Editor

Hazard at Prestonsburg
Who: Hazard (2-1) at Prestonsburg (2-2)
Kickoff: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Location: Blackcat Stadium/Josh Francis Field, Prestonsburg.
Coaches: Hazard; Mark Dixon. Prestonsburg; John Derossett.
Notes: Hazard was on its bye last week, while Prestonsburg knocked off Floyd Central 42-22.