Boyle County football squares off against ‘unique threat’ in state finals

Published 3:24 pm Friday, December 1, 2017

Boyle County hasn’t faced a test quite like they will Friday against Corbin.

The Redhounds are led by a bruising dual-threat quarterback in Cameron Sizemore and a staunch defense that has allowed fewer than 200 yards per game.

“I think he’s kind of the center of their team, he’s just a really good football player,” Boyle County head coach Chuck Smith said. “He’s a big kid, he runs the ball extremely hard and extremely determined. And he can throw the ball as well, he’s a left-handed quarterback, throws it well and has a nice touch on the ball. He’s got experience, he’s just one of those guys that are a winner. He just finds a way to win.”

Email newsletter signup

The challenges on defense start with Sizemore, but he’s got threats all over the field. Thirteen different players have scored multiple touchdowns on the ground and through the air for Corbin.

“We’ve got to be able to, first of all, tackle him. He’s a big kid, I think he’s about 225 pounds. He’s going to be hard to bring down. We’ve just got to read our keys and play our game. We’ve got to get after him. It’s as simple as that.

“He’s got a lot of guys that can go make plays for him. One guy kind of sticks out, (Chase Estep) is kind of the go-to guy. But truly, he’s able to go to a lot of guys who can step up and make plays that were needed to win games. They played a tough schedule.”

Estep leads the Redhounds with 611 rushing yards and nine rushing touchdowns, and he’s caught the most passes — 47 for 626 yards and six scores.

Defensively, Corbin and Boyle are remarkably similar: Corbin has given up 176 points this year, an average of 12.6 per game. Boyle has given up 178 points, averaging 12.7 per contest. Both teams limit opponents to about 200 yards of offense per game. Boyle has turned opponents over 38 times this year (23 interceptions and 15 fumble recoveries); Corbin has 26 turnovers (14 interceptions and 12 fumble recoveries).

“They’re very aggressive on defense. They’re physical, they get after it and stay after it,” Smith said. “Our offense has got to be productive. We can’t score 14 points like we did last week and expect to win. We’ve got to be able to score more points and that’s going to be difficult to do. They move their front around, their linebackers are aggressive, their skill guys really are the same ones who play on offense so they can cover a lot of ground. We’ve got to be able to hit our timing routes in the passing game and things like that.”

Smith said that Corbin is unlike any team that the Rebels have faced this season.

“I think they’re kind of a unique challenge because of the way they control the tempo on offense,” he said. “They’ve got a really good quarterback that makes good decisions and keeps the chains moving and knows how to get the ball in the end zone. I think their defense is as aggressive as any defense we’ve seen all year long. They’re physical, aggressive and just come at you.”

It’s been a unique week for the Rebels, being back in the state finals for the first time since 2010. But Smith said his team has handled the added attention well.

“They’ve practiced well,” he said. “When you’re playing for a state championship, I’d be really disappointed if they weren’t practicing well. It’s going to come down Friday to what team makes the most plays, which players step up to make the plays. If it’s theirs, they’ll win. If it’s ours, we’ll win.”