, Corbin, KY

June 20, 2013

It's never too early to talk football

The Way It Is

The Times-Tribune

CORBIN — It’s never too early to begin to talk about high school football. Heck, before you know it, the gridiron season will be right up on us.

Things should be interesting in Class 3A’s District 4 this season. The past couple of years, the district has been Bell County’s to lose, but things are a bit different coming into this season.

Shawn Thompson’s Wayne County Cardinals could very well be the team to beat in 2013 after coming off an impressive 10-win season.

Quarterback Tyler Guffey returns along with a handful of wide receivers that make this year’s Wayne County squad very dangerous. The Cardinals have a quick-strike offense, and Guffey is the reason why.

Guffey threw for 1,535 yards and 17 touchdowns last season and ran for 421 yards and six touchdowns on the ground.

But Wayne County has a lot more weapons than just Guffey. Jason Perkins returns as the Cardinals’ top receiving threat (24 receptions, 565 receiving yards and seven touchdowns) along with Alan Brown, who finished last season as one of the team’s top receivers and corner backs, and tailback Junior Ruiz.

Challenging Wayne County for the top spot will be Bell County and Corbin. This could very well be a three-team race the entire season.

The Bobcats return only four starters on both offense and defense and their roster only has six seniors on it. So they’re going to be a bit inexperienced, but you can never overlook the team from Log Mountain.

Coach Wayne Mills will have his team ready to go along with Corbin coach Steve Jewell, whose Redhounds are coming off their first losing season since 1995.

Corbin lost some very good talent off last season’s squad, but returns enough to surprise many this fall. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Jewell’s squad win the district championship this season, but to do so, players such as Taylor Waddle and Tanner Powers will have to lead the way.

A team to keep an eye on might just be Casey County. The Rebels won only three games last season, but return nine starters on both sides of the ball, including linebacker Rance Carman.

McCreary Central looks to be rebuilding after a 1-9 season in 2012 and will battle things out with Casey County for the final playoff spot in the district.

So who will win the district?

I’ve got to give the edge to Wayne County, but don’t count out Bell County or Corbin. The Redhounds have beefed up their schedule again this season and will be battle-tested by the time district games and post-season play roll around.

Now let’s take a look at Class A’s District 5.

Jerry Herron’s Williamsburg Yellow Jackets reached the region title game last season before losing a 7-0 heartbreaker on the road to rival Hazard.

Many believe this could be the season Williamsburg captures the elusive region crown while making a run to a state title game appearance and I agree.

The Yellow Jackets return most of its firepower from last season’s squad that scored 541 points in 13 games in 2012.

Granted, Herron’s squad did lose some key players in Logan Hamblin, Jacob Jeffers, Dakota Loy and Chris Sawyers. Herron has also beefed up his schedule a lot with games against North Laurel, Pike Central, Wayne County and Harrison County, so his group will be battle-tested as well.

The key to Williamsburg’s success rests on the offense, which is led by quarterback Dalton Sizemore (3,133 passing yards and 39 touchdowns and 626 rushing yards and five TDs) along with players such as Skyler Griffith (1,176 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns) and junior Corey Shelton, who had 1,084 receiving yards and 20 touchdown receptions. Jefferson Patrick (499 rushing yards and nine touchdowns) will play a key roll, too.

The Yellow Jackets are the easy choice as the team to beat in the district, but things are a bit tougher to figure out after Herron’s squad. Campbellsville is always athletic and will be tough to beat while Berea won only two games last season, but graduated nine seniors and keep an eye on Lynn Camp.

Phil Russell worked wonders during his first year as head coach and looks to create even more magic in 2013. The Wildcats graduated seven seniors off last season’s three-win team and return nine seniors this season.

So how will this district fall into shape?

Williamsburg has to be considered the hands down favorite and after that, the two spot along with a home playoff game is up for grabs.

2013 should be very interesting for many of our teams this season.