Pike Central at Perry Central
Who: Pike Central (0-0) at Perry Central (0-0)
Kickoff: Friday, September 11, 7:30 p.m.
Location: Commodore Field, Hazard.
Coaches: Pike Central, Eric Ratliff. Perry Central, Mark Dixon.
Notes: Last season, Pike Central picked up a 44-28 win over Perry Central.
Things will look different for both teams, though.
Pike Central graduated starting quarterback Tyler Hunt and the school’s all-time leading tackler in Nate Roberts.
Hazard will be under the direction of new coach Mark Dixon.
Dixon is a legend in the mountains.
He won a Class A state title and took Hazard to numerous Class A state title appearances in his tenure.
Dixon has a new challenge as he tries to bring Perry Central back to being one of the top programs in the mountains.
Last season, Pike Central freshman running back set the tone for the Hawks rushing for 155 yards on 21 carries. That set up Noah Iricks rushing for three TDs on six carries.
Perry Central had all of its success against the Hawks through the air as quarterback Chanse McKenzie was 13 for 19 passing for 278 yards and three TDs.
The Commodores only rushed for seven total yards against the Hawks.
Look for that rushing total to change under Dixon. Dixon’s teams have been known to be prolific through both the air and ground attacks, but the offensive line is always key for his teams.
Both teams return a number of talented players, so it should be an interesting matchup.
Who 2 Watch: For Pike Central, Matt Anderson. For Perry Central, Chanse McKenzie.
Anderson had an outstanding freshman season for the Hawks.
He rushed for 1,385 yards and 14 TDs as a freshman.
Anderson is a big power back with surprising speed.
That speed allows him to break some big runs after powering past the defensive line.
He is hard to bring down for some linebackers and anyone in the secondary once he gets in the second level.
Anderson is going to be key for the Hawks offense.
Pike Central is looking to settle on a new quarterback and without experience under center, look for coach Eric Ratliff to rely on Anderson early and often.
If Anderson can move the chains and keep the offense on the field, it will help the other playmakers around him settle in.
Anderson needs to have a big game if the Hawks want to escape with the win.
For Perry Central, McKenzie had a good season before injuries got to him.
He only played in six games last season, but was 78 for 122 passing for 998 yards and eight TDs with five interceptions.
McKenzie will have to have some help from the running game.
The Commodores lost several talented running backs from last season, but return Kobee Eldridge.
Eldridge showed the ability to catch and the run the ball.
McKenzie will have to make his throws and will have top receiver Cade Miller back.
If he can get the offense going and connect with his receivers, look for that to open the Commodore run game.
If the Commodores want to pick up a big season opening win, McKenzie will have to step up and deliver.
Floyd Central at Hazard
Who: Floyd Central (0-0) at Hazard (0-0).
Kickoff: Saturday, 8_ p.m.
Location: at Perry Central’s Commodore Field, Hazard. The game will be played at Perry Central on Saturday because Hazard is having some work done on their home field.
Coaches: Shawn Hager, Floyd Central; Dan Howard, Hazard.
Notes: Floyd Central is set to visit Hazard for a 2020 high school football season opener.
Former Class A state champion Hazard defeated Floyd Central 34-8 when the two teams met in 2019.
After being sidelined with an injury for nearly half of the 2019 high school football season, Floyd Central quarterback Caleb Hager will be looking to finish his career strong with a productive senior campaign.
Limited on the gridiron as a junior, Hager played in six of Floyd Central’s 11 games during the 2019 high school football season.
With Hager sidelined, classmate Brant Potter took over under center for the Jaguars. In 10 games, Potter completed 24 of 43 passes for 321 yards and one TD. Finishing second in rushing for the Jaguars, Potter rushed 66 times for 390 yards and three TDs. Potter is also a tight end/linebacker.
Floyd Central lost its leading rusher to graduation. But the Floyd Central backfield isn’t empty. Three of the top five rushers from 2019 are back for the Jaguars.
Finishing as Floyd Central’s fourth-leading rusher, Jordan Akers rushed 53 times for 229 yards and two TDs. Akers is another senior.
Doing most of his damage on the ground during the 2019 season, Hager rushed 23 times for 186 yards and three TDs to rank as the Jaguars’ fifth-leading rusher.
Defensively, junior Bryce Thacker is back for the Jaguars. Thacker ranked as the Jaguars’ fourth-leading tackler in 2019.
After falling to Belfry in the opening round of the 2019 Class 3A State Football Playoffs, Floyd Central concluded the 2019 season 3-8.
Dan Howard is prepared guide Hazard in his first season as the Bulldogs’ head coach. Howard replaced longtime Hazard head coach Mark Dixon.
Senior quarterback Garrett Miller is Hazard’s offensive leader. As a junior in 2019, Miller completed 77 of 130 passes for 1,188 yards and 10 TDs while throwing only four interceptions. Miller completed 19 of 26 passes for 197 yards and two TDs while throwing a pair of interceptions in Hazard’s 34-8 win over Floyd Central in 2019.
Third-leading rusher Elijah Gayheart (So.) is back for the Bulldogs after both Trajon Campbell and Reece Fletcher graduated. Gayheart rushed 22 times for 228 yards and four TDs as a freshman in 2019.
Leading receiver Andrew Ford is back for the Bulldogs as well. Ford hauled in 36 receptions for 496 yards and two TDs in 2019.
Junior linebacker Zane Deaton is expected to lead Hazard defensively. Deaton ranked as the Bulldogs’ second-leading tackler in 2019, making 78 tackles.
Fletcher led Hazard defensively in 2019, recording 100 tackles.
After falling to eventual state champion Pikeville in the second round of the Class A State Playoffs, Hazard ended the 2029 season 7-5.
Kickoff for the Floyd Central-Hazard football game is set for 8:00 p.m. on the Bulldogs’ home field.
Who 2 Watch: For Floyd Central, senior quarterback Caleb Hager. Healthy, Hager will be a leader for the Jaguars in his senior season.
For Hazard, senior quarterback Garrett Miller. One of the most under rated high school quarterbacks in the state, Miller thrives as a signal caller.