25 LB/FB made his case for the All-State team, we were both listening and watching
Kory Combs is one of the best linebackers in the ’25 class. We have known this for quite a while. His dad, “Shorty” Combs, is among the better linebackers to ever play at EKU, so Kory’s being good at football surprises no one. What Kory did this last Friday night, in the Regional Championship game in Erlanger, Kentucky, took guts, took fortitude, took courage. It was among the more outstanding performances I have ever seen on a high-school gridiron.
Is this kid an All-State, high school football player? Yes sir!Fletcher W. Long, KPGFootball‘s Head of the Scouting Division
Around 1800 or so, the word “gutsy” meant “greedy.” By the end of the 19th-century, “gutsy” came to be defined as “brave and plucky.”
It is formally an adjective meaning “…marked by courage and determination in the face of difficulties or danger; robust and uninhibited.” The meaning may not have changed after this last Friday night, but it just might have acquired a new spokesman.
Kory Combs is a tough kid. We knew this when he was aligning at ILB for the Tennessee-Kentucky Future Stars Classic. We knew this when he had close to 100-tackles starting for Breathitt County while still a freshman.
We have known the surname, “Combs” is a synonym for “tough” for years. Folks around Breathitt would tell you it meant “tough” when Kenneth “Shorty” Combs was a two-way star for the Bobcats. It means roughly the same now.
Kory ’25, his little brother Kylan ’27, even the youngest of the three boys, Kenton ’32 (third grader), are all tough as nails. Even tough guys can have a night which surprises fans and critics alike. Even tough guys can exceed expectations, however lofty those expectations may be.
Friday night, for Kory Combs, was one of those nights. Friday night our expectations, though lofty, were exceeded. Friday night, on the grandest stage he has played on in his young football career, Kory Combs showed all who cared to watch what “guts” resemble, what “courage” looks like, what it really means to really be an All-Stater.
Kory Combs put his team on his back and darn-near pulled it out for the Bobcats. Combs had over 140-yards rushing, in only 14-carries, and scored four (4)-TD’s in addition to what he provided defensively.
The thing is, he’s been doing it all year. Matter of fact, he’s been doing it since leaving the eighth-grade and stepping straight into the starting lineup as a freshman.
On the year, Combs carried the ball 59-times, gained 344-yards rushing and carried the pigskin across the goal-line 11-times. Combs caught 7-passes out of the backfield, two of which he scored. Combs led his team in scoring on the year, just like he did this past Friday night.
Remember, the splendid sophomore is a defender primarily. Combs had a second consecutive season of more than 100-tackles, leading the defense this year like he did the last. Combs also led his team in TFL’s and QB-sacks.
Combs forced three (3)-fumbles this season. Combs recovered one (1).
The Bobcats finished 9-3 on the year. They played a fine game against Lloyd Memorial and darn near advanced to the Semis. Quite a turnaround for a team which was 4-7 a year ago.
Now, everyone is going to want me to weigh in on the officiating. It is not the policy of this magazine to discuss officiating.
Officials are human. They are fallible. They make mistakes.
This particular crew majored in humanity and fallibility. They had a doctorate in “mistakes” and “misses.”
Humanity and fallibility aside, the play where the player from Lloyd was tackled on a kick-return, thrown to the ground (clearly), but allowed to get up and continue his run resulting in the crew seeing a touchdown; that was a missed call, that was a terrible call, that was a near-inexcusable call. In fact, it was the worst call I have ever seen.
It was on par with the officials giving The University of Colorado a “fifth-down” in the game with The University of Missouri on October 6, 1990. It will be remembered around Breathitt County just as long, let us assure you.
How did the entire crew miss that call? I can’t tell you how, but I can tell you they did.
However, missed calls aside, what neither that crew, nor anyone else who watched the game Friday night (regardless of for whom they were cheering), missed was the spectacularly gutsy performance of a certain linebacker/fullback wearing number “29.” It was as plain as the nose on old Coach Lyon’s face.
We doubt the All-State voters missed it. This one here didn’t.
This is Coach HB Lyon, reporting for KPGFootball, and we’re JUST CALLING IT LIKE WE SEE IT!
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