Playoff preview: Williamsburg takes on Hazard
Something has to give Friday night when the Williamsburg Yellow Jackets travel to Hazard to battle the Bulldogs in the Class A state football playoffs.
The question is, will it be the Williamsburg's passing attack that averages 254 yards and three touchdowns per game, or will it be Hazard's passing defense that gives up an average of 109 yards and comes up with at least one interception each game?
Hazard, the defending Class A state champion, has lost to Somerset, Lexington Christian and Breathitt County. The three losses were by a combined 23 points.
Since losing to Breathitt County on Sept 21, the Bulldogs have reeled off seven straight wins.
The two teams have played four common opponents: Berea, Harlan, Jenkins and Pineville. Harlan, whom Williamsburg defeated last Friday in the second round of the playoffs, lost to Hazard, 56-19. Pineville, whom Hazard took down last Friday, 45-14, was knocked off earlier in the year by Williamsburg, 70-22.
The Bulldogs are an evenly balanced team offensively, putting up 2,346 yards rushing and 2,250 yards through the air.
They have four primary weapons on the ground, including Brandon Jones (542 yards and eight touchdowns), Nathan Higgins (498 yards and eight touchdowns), quarterback Evan Whitaker (350 yards and seven touchdowns) and Kody Arnett (340 yards and three touchdowns).
Through the air, Whitaker has completed more than half of his passes, 123 of 213, for 2,113 yards, with 16 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
His favorite targets are Jordan Ollinger, who has caught 49 passes for 757 yards and six touchdowns. Austin Johnson has added 21 catches for 333 yards.
Nathan Higgins only has 12 receptions on the year for 370 yards, but four of those receptions have gone for touchdowns.
Six other Bulldog receivers have caught touchdown passes.
Defensively, the Yellow Jackets mush account for Josh Meehan, who leads the team with 98 tackles and Nathan Stupart, who has 73.
Higgins will be roaming in the secondary, looking to make the tackle or pick off the pass. He has 63 tackles on the year and six of the Bulldogs' 13 interceptions.
The winner of the game will advance to the state semi-finals to take on the winner of the Fairview-Pikeville matchup.
Game time is 7:30 p.m.
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