Middlesboro drops season opener at Hazard

Published 9:10 am Sunday, August 21, 2022


Contributing writer

HAZARD – Two traditional mountain football powers opened their 2022 season at Daniel Field as the Middlesboro Yellow Jackets made the trip to Hazard to face the Hazard Bulldogs.

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Behind Max Johnson’s four touchdowns and two interceptions, the Bulldogs defeated the Yellow Jackets 42-24 Friday night in a game closer than the score indicates.

The Jackets (0-1) are coming off a magical 13-1 season in 2021 which saw Middlesboro win their district and region and advance to the Class 2A state semifinals.

The Bulldogs (1-0) used a potent running game to establish an early lead, a lead that Middlesboro threatened but never overcame.

For MHS, junior quarterback Cayden Grigsby threw for over 150 yards and a touchdown.  The dual-threat signal caller also added over 60 yds on the ground.

HHS quarterback Wade Pelfrey had an excellent game, as the senior signal caller had over 200 yards of total offense.  Pelfrey added two scores of his own for the Dawgs.

Hazard started the fireworks early as Johnson took the opening kickoff 67 yards for the score and staked the Bulldogs out to a 7-0 lead, a lead they would not relinquish.

The Jackets hung around for most of the night behind the play of Grigsby and the running of senior running back Vincent Smith, and receivers Kam Wilson and Rylee Foster’s receptions.

Wilson added a touchdown catch and a kick return for two Jacket scores.

Middlesboro will open their home slate next Friday night as another Class A power takes on the Jackets as 1-0 Williamsburg invades Bradner Stadium. The Yellow Jackets are coming off a 28-27 victory over Oneida (TN) in the Cumberland Falls Pigskin Classic in Corbin.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.