Sept. 19, 2009
Rome, Ga. - Shorter College senior slot back Jordan Hazard had already established himself as a big play threat with his performances in the Hawks' first two outings of the season.
On Saturday against Mid-South Conference foe Pikeville College, Hazard made another statement: it is not if he will make a game changing play during the course of a game, but when.
The East Providence, R.I. native scored three touchdowns, two receiving and one rushing, to power No. 12 Shorter (2-1, 1-0 Mid-South) to a 33-6 win over the visiting Bears in front of soggy crowd at Barron Stadium.
"Everyone did their job," said Hazard, who finished with 223 total yards and was the Hawks' leading receiver (two catches for 102 yards) and rusher (six attempts for 74 yards). "It just goes to show the preparation and execution that we worked on all week."
Hazard's first score came on the Hawks' fourth possession of the game, courtesy of a 42-yard strike from quarterback Ben Williams, staking Shorter a 6-0 lead.
He added a 22-yard run in the third quarter and a 60-yard touchdown catch in the fourth period to turn a 14-point halftime advantage into a 33-6 sleeper with 12:15 remaining in the game.
"The linemen gave us great pass protection and I just ran my routes," said Hazard of his two long scoring receptions. "Ben put the ball right there."
"Jordan has speed and he really ran right by [the Pikeville defense]," said Shorter head coach Phil Jones. "We saw that their safeties were coming up on the option and Jordan did a great job of keeping his routes."
In addition to Hazard, Shorter's defense turned in its third straight solid effort, holding Pikeville to 186 total yards of offense and forcing five turnovers.
Senior linebacker Logan Lollis returned a second quarter fumble 44 yards for a score to hand the Hawks a 20-6 lead. It was his second defensive touchdown of the year following a 45-yard interception return last week against LaGrange.
A.J. Baker's fourth interception of the season set up Hazard's first touchdown catch and Garrett Hochstetler picked off Bears' quarterback Chase Ellis at the goal line to halt a promising Pikeville drive to open the second half.
Shorter held Pikeville (0-3, 0-1) to 97 yards on the ground, the second consecutive game in which the Hawks have kept an opponent under the 100-yard rushing mark.
"The defense really played well and turned them over," Jones said. "Logan just seems to rise up and make plays and Hochstetler's play on their first drive of the second half was a game-changer."
The Hawks compiled 227 yards on the ground, but got only 38 from preseason All-American A.J. Cooley, who was once again the focal point of an opposing defense.
"Everyone wants to see A.J. break out and do the things we know he can do," said Jones. "They really overplayed him and were keeping their inside linebackers in on our option pitch. A.J. understands that and has been really unselfish."
Ben Williams enjoyed another career performance, this time passing for 121 yards and a pair of scores. He also rushed eight times for 30 yards. Sophomore Antwon Appleton rushed for 59 yards and a score.
Lollis and Hochstetler each had a game-high eight stops while Baker added seven tackles and pass break up to his interception.
But the story was Hazard, who lightened the mood of all Hawk fans under the gray afternoon sky with his long range fireworks.
"The defense and offense really played well together," Hazard said. "The offense fed off of the defense and the defense fed off of us.
"This was a great team win."