Experience pays off. Just ask Williamsburg coach Jim Black or any member of the Yellow Jackets football team. With the clock running down under thirty seconds and the Jackets trailing 8-7, senior quarterback Andy Greer found the hole he had been looking for in the Harlan defense. He ran to the right side and found the end zone nine yards down the field for the touchdown that saved the game.
The TD allowed Williamsburg its second undefeated regular season and gave the Yellow Jackets a 15-8 win and District 7 championship.
The Yellow Jackets have an opportunity to play two home playoff games before hitting the road. The second season begins with the Hazard Bulldogs Friday night.
“Hazard is real athletic, a lot like us,” said Black. “They have the same type offense and the last two weeks they have some people back that had been injured.”
“They are a very dangerous team,” said Black. “They will mix it up with the run and pass. One game they will run a lot and the next time you see them they will pass.”
Hazard will be led by quarterback Durrell Olinger and wide receiver D.J. Hoskins along with running back Preston Smith.
The Bulldogs can bring an explosive team to Williamsburg. They average 30.2 points per game but give up 33.0. They finished 4-3 in District 8 with wins over Fleming-Neon 45-0, Allen Central 65-26, Jenkins 56-20 and Phelps 41-6. The losses came to top-seeded Pikeville, 49-6, South Floyd 56-20 and Paintsville 29-22.
Hazard is winless on the road where they lost four games this season. They were defeated at Perry Central 49-34 as well as Pikeville, South Floyd and Painstville. They have averaged 20.5 while giving up 45.7.
However, Black cautions fans about this team. “They have really improved over the last several weeks.”
A wet, muddy field played a big role in the low-scoring affair last week along with one of the top (Harlan) defensive teams in the state. How much did the field conditions effect the Yellow Jackets? “I think it had an effect on both teams,” said Black, whose team came into the game averaging 49 points a contest. “It was an equalizer both ways, it just didn’t affect us, it affected them to, so from that standpoint it affected both teams.”
The Yellow Jackets drove the ball down the field on its first possession but the drive ended on a Will Pope interception but the Dragons had trouble moving the ball in the mud and turned the ball over three plays later on a punt.
Greer hooked up with senior Tyler Ayers for a long pass to the 24 yard line of Harlan. Greer followed with a 10 yard run to the 14 yard line but was shaken up on the play. Backup quarterback, Thomas Frazier , came in and threw a 14 yard pass to Matt Jones and Williamsburg was on the scoreboard. Chase Hamblin added the PAT with 2:29 on the clock for a 7-0 lead.
The teams sputtered in the mud before Harlan found some dry field and made a run at the end zone. However, a Jon Lundy pass to Pope at the end of the half was incomplete and the Jackets held on for a 7-0 lead.
The Dragons struck paydirt on their first drive of the third quarter. Lundy plunged through a muddy defensive line to score with 6:36 on the clock. The extra point was fake all the way as Lundy hit Thomas Farrow in the end zone for the one-point lead, 8-7.
Things began to look dismal for the Jackets as they turned the ball over the first two times they had the pigskin in the fourth quarter. One by fumble and another by a Greer interception with 4:25 left in the game. A couple of first downs and the game would be over.
But the Jackets defense rose to the occasion and stopped the Dragons once inches short of a first down. Harlan was forced to put with 1:59 left in the game and a bad snap resulted in a downed ball at the Harlan 37 yard line.
Greer used his two-minutes of fame to prefection. A screen pass to Frazier gave the Jackets a first down at the 19 yard line. Three plays later the Jackets were inches short of a first down. It was do or die. Senior Will Hill pushed ahead while the crowd was silent as the officials stretched the chains for what proved to be a first down.
Greer slapped his way forward for a yard before finding his game winning hole in the Harlan defense.
“To finish undefeated and to win the district is very hard for teams to do nowdays,” said Black. “It was a huge accomplishment for us. It allowed us two home game for the playoffs and now its our job to carry those out.”
Williamsburg 7 0 0 8- 15
Harlan 0 0 8 0- 8
W- Matt Jones, 14 pass from Thomas Frazier (Hamblin kick)
H – Jon Lundy, 1 run (Farrow from Lundy)
W- Andy Greer, 9 run (Tyler Ayers from Greer)