Pigskin Preview: Hazard Bulldogs

Last season, the Hazard Bulldogs came up just short in their quarterfinal match up with eventual 1A runners-up Raceland, finishing with an 8-5 record.

However, many of those faces are gone, and a young but talented Bulldog squad will look to continue Hazard’s tradition on the gridiron.


The Bulldogs replace a lot of starters, including Max Johnson and his 2,243 yards from scrimmage and 27 combined touchdowns, but the offensive side of the ball will be led by returning quarterback Max Pelfrey. Pelfrey is entering his junior year after completing 132-of-227 passes for 1,821 yards, 21 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. The signal caller also had 193 yards rushing and 4 touchdowns.

Pelfrey will have junior wide receiver Jayvon White back. White had 20 catches for 254 yards and 5 touchdowns. Leading the charge up front will be returning offensive linemen Gavin Fultz, Hudson Johnson and Kenyon Higgins.

“We will probably start a few freshmen,” said Hazard head coach Dan Howard. “We have a very strong middle school program, and they come here knowing that we expect them to be able to play. They’ll need to contribute right away.”


The defense will also feature a lot of new faces, but defensive line should be a strength for Hazard. Higgins will be the nose tackle. Last season, Higgins had 49 tackles, including 2 tackles for loss. On the ends will be Kyle Barnett and Davion Strode. Last Season, Barnett had 55 tackles, including 1 tackle for loss and 1 sack. Strode had 54 tackles with 2 tackles for a loss and 1 sack.

White should start in the defensive backfield. He had 49 tackles and 2 interceptions last season. Pelfrey may offer some support at the safety position.


The Bulldogs’ schedule will once again be loaded as they look to challenge themselves week in and week out in order to prepare for the 1A playoffs.

“They work really hard, and we try to challenge them every week,” said Howard. “If we go 5-5 but are well prepared for the playoffs, that’s all that matters.”

8/18 – @ Martin County

8/25 – Harlan County

9/01 – @ Paris

9/08 – @ Letcher Central

9/15 – Breathitt County

9/22 – Corbin

9/29 – Raceland

10/06 – @ Paintsville

10/20 – Pikeville

10/27 – @ Clay County


The Bulldogs are going to have a lot of fresh faces this season. And while there may be a few growing pains, Howard is a proven coach and Hazard is a proven program. Combine the two, and you can expect the Bulldogs to be in the thick of things when November rolls around.

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