Scrolling through the list of games for this coming Friday night there is one matchup that really caught my attention, on September 23rd 3A Ashland will travel to Hazard, KY to take on the Class-A Hazard Bulldogs. It’s not the 2 hour drive that peaked my interest, I have lived in Eastern KY/Southern WV for 40 years and never remembered these two programs meeting, so I put my information guy Ryan Martinez to work.
Apparently Hazard and Ashland has met but it’s been nearly 50 years since their last meeting in 1975. From 1934 to 1975 these two teams played 15 times over a 41 year span. Ashland has dominated the series with an 11-3-1 record, the Tomcats largest margin of victory came in the second meeting in 1935, it was a 69-0 thrashing over the Bulldogs.
The 69 point output matched Ashland’s score last week as the Tomcats broke the school record for the most combined points in a game, the Tomcats defeated West Jessamine 69-63.
These two schools are coming into this game on different paths, Ashland has a 2-3 record and has been outscored 119-175. Hazard on the other hand is setting at 3-1 with their lone loss being a 2 point defeat to Breathitt County, the Bulldogs have outscored their opponents 161-123.
Both teams will look to air it out with stellar quarterback play and a strong wide receiver room. Look for Ashland’s LaBryant Strader will spread the ball around, hitting targets Terrell Jordan, Asher Adkins and Brandon Houston. On the Hazard side Max Pelfrey really likes working stud wideout Landon Smith, occasionally going to Hank Pelfrey.
The advantage in the running game will definitely go to to Hazard with Max Johnson in the backfield, Johnson has accumulated 750 yards and 13 touchdowns through four games. Braxton Jennings will get the lions share of the workload for Ashland, he has carried the ball 65 times for 361 yards and 6 touchdowns in 5 games.
On defense both programs have showed the tendency to give up points but the edge will probably go to Hazard, due to the Bulldogs creating 9 turnovers compared to Ashland’s 4. Hazard has 8 interceptions on the season and Ashland has picked off 2.
If your looking for a good solid football game on Friday night we highly suggest you think absolutely it going to this one. Hazard is a “dark horse” threat to win Class-A and would like to add a win over the Tomcats to their résumé. Ashland is looking to get back to .500 and prove they are going to be a dangerous opponent come playoff time, a win over the Bulldogs could get that respect back. Kickoff is set for 7:30pm at Daniel Field in Hazard, KY.