I may discuss it further inside Wednesday’s print edition of the News Journal, but I have so many thoughts after Friday’s Corbin versus Louisville Central Class 3A state championship game that I wanted to go ahead and post something now, the day after, while it’s all still fresh in my mind.
– First and foremost, congratulations to the Redhounds on another great season, especially this outgoing senior class that has reached the state semifinals each year of their high school careers. Of course, the last two seasons have ended with trips to Kroger Field and state runner-up trophies.
– I spoke to a friend after the game, and said, “I don’t know which is worse – losing a game by one point like this one (20-19), or getting walloped like last year (40-21 against Boyle Co).” He replied, “Definitely the one-point loss, because you know you had a chance to win it, but didn’t.” I would have to agree with that assessment.
– Sophomore Dylan Massingill getting injured early in the game was very unfortunate, both for him personally, as well as for the team as a whole. He could’ve contributed some big plays on both sides of the ball that might have helped Corbin come out on top. I hope that the damage done to his knee wasn’t too severe.
– The play of the game as far as I’m concerned was the Central defensive stop on fourth and goal with only seconds remaining in the first half. I have seen and heard some folks criticizing the decision to not kick a field goal here, and with the benefit of hindsight I would have to agree that going for it in that situation was probably the wrong call. However, Corbin kicker Will Childers had already missed an extra point earlier in the game, and the narrower goal posts at Kroger Field were probably a consideration as well. In the end, I’ll just say that I’m glad it wasn’t me having to make that decision from the sideline.
– And speaking of big decisions, there has also been much discussion about Coach Justin Haddix opting to go for a two-point conversion late in the game instead of kicking an extra point that could’ve tied the game at 20-20, probably resulting in an overtime period.
I will say that, personally, I don’t fault him for making this call. I get it. I think the play itself, a QB keeper up the middle, was a bit questionable considering the strength of the opposing defense, but hey, I’m not a coach. And as I said above, I do not envy being the one in those high-pressure situations where one outcome will make you look like a genius, and the other will just make you look crazy.
– Probably the biggest critique that I have to offer of Corbin’s game plan last night is that I don’t feel we saw enough of junior Nick Yeager running the football. Yeager had just five carries for 30 yards in the championship game, which is about half as much as he had in last week’s semifinal round contest against Boyle County, and far less than his 78-yard, two touchdown performance two weeks ago in the regional finals against Bell County.
Meanwhile, senior quarterback Chase Estep ended up with 20 carries for about 100 yards against Central. Estep is a special athlete, no doubt about it, but maybe he was being depended on a little too much in the ground game? I don’t know. Just my opinion.
– Freshman Treyveon Longmire showed a flash of brilliance with his touchdown reception against the Yellow Jackets, didn’t he? This guy is going to do big things for Corbin athletics in the years to come.
– Regardless of what happened during the course of the game Friday, Justin Haddix stood in the middle of the field when it was all said and done and told all of us media folk, “I made the decisions, and that’s on me. The kids gave great effort, though. It was a good ball game, but you win some, and you lose some. I am just super-proud of those kids. They have nothing to hang their heads about.”
Talk all you want about all the “what ifs,” but one thing is for sure… Coach Haddix has done amazing things during his time leading the Redhounds football program. He has always been helpful to me as well, answering texts and phone calls whenever I need him to, and I certainly appreciate that. I have a great deal of respect for him, and I commend him for the level professionalism that he displayed last night in what was undoubtedly an extremely difficult, and bitterly disappointing, moment in his coaching career.
– As for the brawl that took place directly after the game, well, that was just an all-around unfortunate development, wasn’t it? Regardless of why it happened, or who started it, the fact is it put a black mark on the entire evening, and that’s really too bad.
– In the end, Corbin just wasn’t able to overcome Central’s raw athleticism. The Yellow Jackets seemed to have three “plays” in their repertoire: 1) QB takes the snap and finds somewhere to run, 2) QB takes the snap, hands the ball off to another player and then HE finds somewhere to run or 3) throw the ball downfield and hope that one of the receivers in gold and black comes down with it.
With that being said, Central is your 2018 Class 3A state champions, and I congratulate them on that achievement. They certainly beat a good football team to earn the title.
– Finally, as we begin to look ahead to 2019, the Redhounds are about to make the jump up to Class 4A along with Central, Boyle County, Lex Cath and others. The road to state won’t get any easier. If anything, it’s about to get more difficult. Corbin is a program that has simply been reloading with capable talent from year-to-year, however, and I have no doubt that they will experience a great deal of success in 4A just as they have in 3A, and in the 2A ranks before that.
– Oh yeah, I almost forgot… Way to come out show support for your team, Big Red Nation! There was a huge crowd of Redhound fans in attendance last night, and they remained loud and proud from pregame all the way through to postgame. I know the players and coaches appreciated that very much. Awesome job.
Top photo: Dylan Massengill’s reception in the championship game Friday, just moments before he sustained an unfortunate injury that forced his early exit form the contest.
Middle photo: Senior Noah Taylor is consoled after Corbin’s one-point loss to Central, 20-19.
Bottom photo: Redhound fans cheer on their team as they make their entrance at Kroger Field.
Teaser image: The Corbin offense attempts to move the ball against a tough Yellow Jacket defense.