For the third time in the last four seasons, Corbin is off to a 3-0 start on the football field.
The Class 3A Redhounds, ranked second by media members and eighth in the Cantrall Ratings, visit Danville — a Class 2A title favorite — on Friday.
Last year the Admirals halted Corbin’s 12-game regular season win streak on the road with a 20-0 blanking. Losses to Class 5A Southwestern (14-10 at home) and eventual 2A titlist Mayfield (28-14 at Lindsey Wilson) followed the Danville defeat. It was Corbin’s worst losing streak since a three-game skid in 2012.
If we can play in that 15th game and win it, it doesn’t matter what we did in the rest of ’em.
Justin Haddix, Corbin football coach
Coach Justin Haddix would like for that record to not repeat itself this year — the Redhounds again play Southwestern and Mayfield after meeting Danville — but said this edition’s destiny has little to do with last year’s squad that ended up in the state semifinals.
“We don’t harp on that because every year’s completely different,” Haddix said. “These kids, you don’t know if they’re gonna come back the same or come back worse. This is a completely different team. That’s what we stress: ‘Hey, this is the 2016 team. What are you gonna do?’”
Physicality and depth are Corbin’s calling cards. Haddix said the Redhounds go at least 40-deep with players he feels great about putting on the field Friday night. In the immediate future, a 28-member sophomore class that won state titles as seventh- and eighth-graders should keep Corbin in the Class 3A conversation. A still-thriving middle school program will keep that conversation going even longer.
Those numbers make it easier for Corbin to identify athletes and spread the wealth, especially on offense. It didn’t boast any 1,000-yard rushers last season, but Corbin did trot out three guys — Jonah French, Tucker Jewell and Cameron Sizemore — who finished with 500 or more yards apiece and two more — Drew Carter and Cameron Maguet — who reached triple-digit yardage.
They’re all back, including Sizemore, a 6-foot-1, 220-pound junior quarterback who’s further along as a passer this year than this time last year, Haddix said. He’s improved his patience when it comes to making reads and his confidence to let his receivers make plays.
“Sometimes when you’re younger, you only throw if they’re wide open,” said Haddix, who was a prolific signal caller during his time at Breathitt County and Western Kentucky. Haddix threw three TDs and rushed for two when Breathitt County routed Corbin 51-0 in the 2002 Class 2A finals.
“When I first started out I had some assistants who probably didn’t care much for me because they played in that game and knew me from that,” he said with a laugh.
That trip was Corbin’s last to the state finals. Any road to Bowling Green likely will include another bout with Belfry, which ended its season last year. There’s a ton of work left to put in just to get ready for Danville, let alone a hypothetical state championship game.
“If we wanna win 15 games, we’ve gotta take it one game at a time,” Haddix said. “If we can play in that 15th game and win it, it doesn’t matter what we did in the rest of ’em.”