Penix did a lot in Danville's 63-6 win over Carroll County here Oct. 10. He rushed 10 times for 162 yards and one touchdown. He also returned an interception 50 yards for another touchdown.
"If he was the feature back like some teams have and ran the ball 25 or 30 times a game, he would have some phenomenal statistics," Harp said. "He gets stronger as the game goes on."
That's because of his strong legs. Harp says he can squat "450 pounds for five or six reps" and he also bench presses 275 pounds. He runs the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds and once was timed in 4.5 seconds.
Penix has rushed for 964 yards and 16 touchdowns this season. He also has six catches for 149 yards and three touchdowns.
"He averages almost nine yards per carry," Harp said. "He's an excellent receiver, too. He does not drop the ball. He can do a lot of damage when he has the ball."
College recruiters have noticed Penix
College recruiters, as well as opposing coaches, have noticed.
"He already has a scholarship offer from Eastern Kentucky and Indiana, South Carolina and a lot of small colleges are really recruiting him," Harp said. "Eastern wants him as an outside linebacker. They like his size and speed. They think he can cover the pass as well as be a run stopper. At their level, they think he can be a difference maker."
Harp hopes he can continue to be a "difference maker" Friday when the Admirals try to advance in the Class A playoffs. Carroll got to the second round with a 34-31 win at Bardstown Bethlehem Saturday.
"They really did not play very well Saturday," Harp said. "It was a Saturday afternoon game and the atmosphere was not very festive. They made the plays to win, but they are a lot better team than what they played in that game."
Carroll managed just 152 total yards against Danville, including only 50 through the air as quarterback Jarrod Williams was 6-for-13 with one interception. Carroll averaged only 3.2 yards per rush.
"They still have a lot of weapons that can do damage, especially if we let them hang around and gain some confidence," the Danville coach said. "They can do some things to hurt any team, including us.
"They are doing a couple of things different, like we all do, from when we played before. It's nothing drastic, just minor changes. But they seem to be playing a lot better than when we played them before. They've played better since we played them."
Danville might be playing even better, too. The Ads have outscored their last four opponents 237-16. Danville is averaging 48.3 points per game and allowing 10. However, only two teams - Boyle County and Highlands - have scored more than one touchdown against the Ads.
Junior Kelvin Turner has now rushed for 1,519 yards and 19 touchdowns to lead Danville's offense. He's averaging 12 yards per carry.
"I just don't think a team that relies on one running back can go deep into the playoffs," Harp said. "Either a team figures out how to stop you, or the back gets banged up. That's why we are fortunate to have two good ones this year."
Quarterback Ronnie Hawkins has completed 43 of 84 passes for 997 yards. However, 18 of his completions have gone for touchdowns.
"He's really been playing well and making good decisions for us," Harp said.
History tells Harp to not take win for granted
Danville would face the winner of unbeaten Louisville Holy Cross and Frankfort in the regional title game Nov. 21 if it beats Carroll. However, past history tells Harp that his Admirals should not take a win for granted.
The Admirals lost playoff games to Boyle County in 1996, Lexington Catholic in 1997 and Somerset in 1999. Each time Danville had won regular-season games before losing the playoff rematch.
"I'm really not worried about our focus because that has not been a problem for the last three weeks," Harp said. "Our guys know what is at stake - or they better.
"It's very tough to play a team the second time whether it is in high school, college or the NFL. It's tougher to beat a team the second time. We just have to make sure we come out and play our best from the start. We don't want to give Carroll County a chance to gain any confidence because if we do, they could make it a much longer night than we want it to be."