, Corbin, KY

November 19, 2012

Friday’s game was a heavyweight title bout

The Times-Tribune

CORBIN — I didn’t know what to expect when the Williamsburg Yellow Jacket football team faced-off against Hazard this past Friday in the Class A, Region 3 championship game.

Many believed Jerry Herron’s squad was the heavy underdog, especially since they were going to play the Bulldogs at their place. Even though they were going against the defending state champion, I thought Williamsburg had a chance.

Heck, I picked the Yellow Jackets to win by six and if they were going to win, I knew they’d have to score a lot of points.

Little did I know what I was about to witness when the game kicked-off.

Both teams displayed some of the best defense that I’ve seen in a long time. It was two heavyweight fighters each taking the other fighter’s best punch until one could finally deliver the knockout blow.

For 45 minutes, both Williamsburg and Hazard battled toe-to-toe until the Bulldogs finally broke through with an 80-yard touchdown run by Jordan Olinger.

The touchdown by Olinger turned out to be Hazard’s knockout punch. The Bulldog tailback darted to his left and darted to his right before finding paydirt in the end.

Both coaches agreed as the game went on, one play might very well be the deciding factor.

“I knew this game was going to come down to one big broken down play,” Hazard coach Mark Dixon said. “That’s what happened. Both teams deserved to win this game. Williamsburg is so improved from last year and it’s dangerous to think what they have returning for next year.”

“We really battled,” Williamsburg coach Jerry Herron said. “Coach Hacker’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.”

The Yellow Jackets had the defending Class A state champions on the ropes the entire game, but just couldn’t put them away.

Since I’ve been using boxing terms the entire column, I guess you could say Hazard had a chin made out of steel because Williamsburg was delivering some big hits.

The Yellow Jackets turned out to be their own worst enemy on offense numerous times.

Five times Williamsburg drove deep into Hazard Territory and five times the Yellow Jackets came away with zero points. Herron’s squad’s lowest point output of the season was 20 points against Oneida, Tenn., and they entered the game averaging 45.7 points.

But it just wasn’t meant to be.

It looked as if Williamsburg was finally going to get on the scoreboard late in the game, but the Yellow Jackets failed to convert on a 23-yard field goal attempt.

They had another chance with less than a minute left to tie or even win the game, but Hazard’s defense came through with an interception.

When it comes to containing the Yellow Jacket offense, the Bulldogs have their number.

Why do I say that? Williamsburg has only been shut out twice dating back to the 2001 season and Hazard lays claim to accomplishing both of those feats.

Yep, the Bulldogs shut out the Yellow Jackets during the 2011 Class A, Region 3, title game by winning 28-0 and they accomplished the feat again this past Friday.

Herron’s squad has no reason to hang their head, though.

Williamsburg proved it is one of the best teams in the state and was just a play away from beating the Bulldogs. The Yellow Jackets won 11 games and should be proud of that.

I’ll go one step further and say they’ll enter the 2013 season as the team to beat in Class A, Region 3, while returning enough talent to make a run at the Class A state championship.