The Phelps Hornets (4-7) saw their season come to an end in the first round of the Class 1A UK Orthopaedics/KHSAA Commonwealth Gridiron Bowl playoffs with a 36-8 loss to the Hazard Bulldogs at Daniel Field on Friday night.
Hazard would kick off the scoring with 8:59 left in the first quarter as senior tailback Trajon Campbell took a handoff and went 37 yards untouched to pay dirt. Junior place kicker Jonah Helm’s extra point attempt was blocked, and the Bulldogs lead 6-0.
Neither team would score for the rest of the quarter, but HHS would jump on the scoreboard again with 11:05 left in the second quarter as junor quarterback Nick Miller took the football himself and dashed 16 yards into the endzone. Campbell caught a pass for a successful 2-point conversion, and Hazard upped their lead to 14-0.
After Phelps junior tailback Dominick Francis threw an interception on their next drive, the home team would respond with points. Junior quarterback Garrett Miller would cash in on a two-yard touchdown run with 6:41 left in the first half. Helm’s PAT try was good, and the Blue and Gold now lead 21-0.
Campbell would intercept another Phelps pass on the next Hornet possession, and the Bulldogs would again capitalize. Sophomore fullback Brayden Thomas would take the ball and run it to pay dirt from 6 yards away.
Helm’s extra point was right down the middle, and Hazard’s lead was pushed to 28-0 with 41 seconds left in the second quarter.
Midway through the third quarter at the 6:01 mark, the hosts would add a defensive touchdown to their performance.
Francis dropped back to pass again and he was picked off by HHS freshman defensive back Max Johnson, and he would catch it and run 51 yards untouched, to the house.
Campbell threw a pass in the endzone to senior tight end Reece Fletcher for a successful two-point attempt, and Mark Dixon’s squad now held a 36-0 lead which started the running clock.
Phelps would finally dent the scoreboard on their next drive. Francis found his way to the endzone from 22 yards out after taking a handoff. Francis would also throw a pass to PHS junior fullback Seth Mayhorn for a successful two-point try, and the Hornets cut into the lead at 36-8, and that would be the final score of the night.
The Hornets came into this game as a huge underdog, but they didn’t let this faze them. The score was not indicative of the team’s overall effort. Head coach Andrew West’s team came in and gave maximum effort and kept fighting until the end.
Francis would finish the game with 183 yards rushing on 17 carries with one touchdown, while junior tailback Tyrell Hollis tallied 86 yards with 11 touches on the ground. Phelps had 294 rushing yards as a team on the night.
Phelps would finish the season with only 368 passing yards as a team. Dotson finished the season 15-33 passing for 264 yards, one pick, and no touchdowns.
However, they ended the 2019 campaign with 2,778 rushing yards and 27 touchdowns on the ground. Francis lead all Hornets in rushing touchdowns with 14, and in yardage with 1,310. He also had a passing TD and a pick six in 2019.
Hollis would add five rushing touchdowns, Dotson would add three, Mayhorn would tack on two and senior tailback Daniel Smith would add three of his own for the Hornets.
Phelps season ended with a 4-7 record in West’s first year at the helm.
Score by quarters
PHS (4-7): 0 0 8 0 — 8
HHS (7-4): 6 22 8 0 — 36
HHS: 37-yard run Campbell (PAT no good by Helm) 8:59
HHS: 16-yard run Nick Miller (Two-point by Campbell) 11:05
HHS: 2-yard run Garrett Miller (PAT good by Helm) 6:41
HHS: 6-yard run Thomas (PAT good by Helm) 41.2
HHS: 51-yard INT return Johnson (Two-point by Fletcher) 6:01
PHS: 22-yard run Francis (Two-point by Mayhorn) 1:31