By Les Dixon / Sports Editor
HAZARD — It was a game of missed opportunities for the Williamsburg Yellow Jackets.
The Yellow Jackets drove deep into Hazard territory five times, but couldn’t come up with any points, as the Bulldogs picked up a 7-0 win to defeat Williamsburg in the Class A Region 3 title game.
After three scoreless quarters, Hazard’s Jordan Olinger found paydirt with an 80-yard run with 2:54 left in the game, but the Yellow Jackets drove down to the Bulldog 23-yard line with less than a minute left before Dalton Sizemore was picked off for the third time of the contest, wrapping up the win for Hazard.
“We really battled,” Williamsburg coach Jerry Herron said. “Coach Hatcher’s defense did a good job. They really played really hard and I’m proud of them. They just relaxed that one play and gave up that touchdown — it’s hard to believe.
“Man alive, the offense came together in the second half and got some drives going and we had a chance and it’s just one of those things,” he added. “One play got us. I’m proud of the seniors and we’re going to miss them. We knew going into it these kids could play. These kids came out and played tonight. We just had that one play — one play.”
Many expected a lot of offensive fireworks in the first half, but it turned into a defensive show instead.
The Yellow Jackets (11-2) entered the game averaging 46 points a game while Hazard was averaging 35 points a game, but neither team could get anything going during the game’ first 24 minutes.
Williamsburg turned out to be its own worst enemy during the first half, as they drove deep inside Bulldog territory, but couldn’t come up with any points.
The Yellow Jackets drove down to the Hazard 28-yard line late in the first quarter, but Sizemore was picked off by the Bulldogs’ Olinger. On its next possession, Williamsburg got as far as the Hazard 35-yard line, but Sizemore was picked off for the second time during the game, as Mason Higgins was credited with the pick.
The Bulldogs couldn’t muster much offense either, as they reached the Yellow Jacket 21-yard line, but were stopped on a fourth and one situation and turned the ball back to Herron’s squad.
Williamsburg ran for 33 yards on 13 carries during the first half, as Sizemore connected on 4-of-7 pass attempts for 45 yards while Hazard had 80 yards of total offense with 50 yards coming through the air.
Both teams continued to struggle to move the ball in the third quarter, but for the third time during the game, the Yellow Jackets failed to score any points after driving deep into Bulldog territory.
Herron’s squad faced a fourth and three situation, but was stopped at the 29-yard line, allowing Hazard to take over.
It didn’t take long for the Bulldogs to take advantage, as a 57-yard pass reception by Olinger set up a 37-yard field goal attempt by Kevin Eversole, who came up short with 10:27 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Williamsburg responded with its best drive of the game, as Sizemore directed a 16-play, 74-yard drive, but the Yellow Jackets came up short when their 23-yard field goal attempt fell short with 3:15 left in regulation – and it didn’t take long for Hazard to take advantage of the situation.
On the ensuing play, Olinger broke free for an 80-yard touchdown run that turned out to be game-winning score at the 2:54 mark.
Williamsburg had one final chance to tie the game, but the Yellow Jackets’ third turnover of the game wrapped up the win for Hazard.