Hazard lost quite a bit from off its 2019 roster to include its fantastic head coach, Mark Dixon, who took the cross-town job at Perry Central. They also lost two of its leading rushers and two of the team’s better defenders, Trajon Campbell and Reece Fletcher, who have both now graduated.
The Fletcher kid was one of the most versatile football players and athletes, frankly, Kentucky had among its graduating class of 2020 commonwealth-wide. He will be missed and extremely difficult to replace.
Still, Hazard consistently is a threat to win the classification in football with the talent it is accustomed to stockpiling. Of course, it plays in the toughest district in the classification, having to get past Pikeville just to make the third round.
Zane Deaton was one of the best OLBers in the 2022 class a year ago. He (No. 12, above) had 78 tackles in 2019, though only a sophomore, with 2 TFLs. He was a leader in the classification in both fumbles forced (FFs) with 4 and fumbles recovered (FRs) with 5. Translation, he’s always seemingly around the football, as the FRs statistic would indicate, and routinely knocking the crap out of people as the 4 FFs would surely support.
Hazard is always big, brutish, and ugly upfront. They just seem to grow them big up in the mountains. They return leading passer Garrett Miller and look for Elijah Gayheart, a former Team Kentuckian and KPGFootball MS All-Stater and ranked No. 16 in our Top-20 prospects in the 2023 graduating class, to explode onto the scene this fall with big numbers in carries, yards gained from scrimmage, and rushing TDs.
Though only a freshman in 2019, Gayheart still logged 228-yards on 22-carries with 4-rushing TDs. Those are respectable numbers from a freshman on a roster which was laden with upperclassman talent in the offensive backfield a year ago.
Now, Hazard struggled in 2019 by their standards. They were 7-5 on the year, losing to Pikeville in round 2. However, that being said, one could argue they were the 2nd best team in 1A in 2019.
Hazard lost to 2A State Champion, Somerset 21-9 in a game much closer than the final margin would indicate. Hazard was down 14-9 with the football and driving in the forth quarter of that tilt with a chance to win it. Hazard lost to Pikeville at Pikeville, 42-15 in round two. Okay, that doesn’t sound too good, but three weeks later the same team beat Paintsville to win it all 43-0 on a neutral field.
Calpreps.com has Hazard entering the 2020 season ranked 3rd in 1A. They will play Danville at home September 18, a 2A perennial power Hazard beat down there by one point a year ago, before traveling to Paintsville, Somerset, and Pikeville over a three-week period from September 25th- October 16th.
First year head man, Daniel Howard, has his work cut out for him, that’s certain. However, if history holds true, he’ll have plenty of dogs for the fight.
This is Coach HB Lyon, reporting for KPGFootball, and we’re JUST CALLING IT LIKE WE SEE IT!
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