The 2014 football season was a season of firsts for Corinth Holders.
First victory over rival Cleveland. First conference championship (a share of the Two Rivers 3A title), first home playoff game. First playoff victory.
“These guys have put a bunch into what they have done for us,” Pirates coach Barry Honeycutt said after Corinth Holders’ season ended in the second round of the Class 3AA playoffs. “I can’t say enough about them.”
The Pirates have come a long way from 2011 when the new school outside of Wendell began playing football. And it has been a rapid progression.
“In four years we have gone from 0-11 to 9-4,” Honeycutt said. “I’m tickled to death for our team.
“We are super proud of our kids. Where our program is now is great. At this time to be here, we feel really good about what we’ve done.”
Senior quarterback Cole Sakowski was the leader this season, passing for 2,615 yards, including 225 yards and a touchdown in a season-ending 42-13 loss to Orange.
Junior running back Howard Watson gave the Pirates a one-two punch on offense this season, rushing for 1,643 yards and 18 touchdowns.
The Pirates are building a winning tradition. Since the 0-11 first season, when they had no seniors on the squad, Corinth Holders went 6-5 in the regular season in 2012 and 7-4 in 2013 before losing first-round playoff games each season.
This year, they improved to 8-3 and added a first-round playoff victory for nine wins.
Honeycutt is positive about the future. Watson is back and Kaelin O’Neal is set to step in at quarterback. The Pirates have more than 30 juniors and sophomores on the roster.
“Kaelin has been the JV quarterback for two years,” Honeycutt said. “He has quarterback experience. Everything will fall into place. There are a lot of good football players here (who will return) and a lot of good sophomores on the JV coming up. It ought to all mesh and be a good season next year.”
There is one ingredient that has been a constant since 2011 – hard work.
“The kids have put a tremendous amount of work into it,” Honeycutt said. “That is why we have been successful. They have really worked hard.”
Hard enough to produce a season of firsts in 2014.