|Thu, Apr 17, 2014 12:03 AM
September 18, 2013 | 10:06 AM
Some things are becoming ordinary for the Corydon Central football team through the 2013 season.
One is the ability to load up on safeties, not the position, rather the points for a stop in their opponents' end zone. For a school-record third time, the Panthers picked up two points via safety Friday night.
Another prevalent stat thus far is the ability of cornerback Oscar Serrano to pick off opposing quarterbacks. Against Clarksville Friday, the senior snagged his fourth pick of the year.
Although those two stats have stood out, the most common trend to date this season is winning. For the third consecutive year, Corydon Central is off to a 4-0 start after defeating Clarksville, 34-14, by wearing down the host Generals.
"Our kids are playing hard and competing," Corydon Central coach Darin Ward said. "We still have stuff to clean up and continue to move forward."
Corydon Central held on to a 13-8 lead when the second half started but turned around to score three straight touchdowns to put away the Generals.
Out of the locker room, the Panthers put together a 57-yard touchdown drive. Cody Catlett caught a first-down pass from Lannis Buck. Later in the drive, the Panthers decided to go for it on fourth-and-2 at the Clarksville 37. Buck scrambled for seven yards to keep the drive going. Two plays later, Buck hooked up with Brayden Lander on a curl route. The catch and run went for 30 yards and a touchdown, helping give Corydon Central a 20-6 lead.
Lander had a big night at the receiver position, catching eight passes for 127 yards. He also had 5-1/2 tackles.
Defensively, Corydon Central had two key defensive stands. Before the half, Clarksville drove the ball inside the 5 but saw the clock wind out on an inadvertent kneel down following being stuffed on a run play. Clarksville's first drive of the second half ate up plenty of yardage but had no points to show for it.
The speedy Marquise Parrish had runs of 15 and 5 yards on the drive that led the Generals to the red zone. Clarksville had four shots to score inside the 4 but could manage one yard. Corner back Chris Tucker had a key breakup in the end zone on the stop.
"You'd like to not put yourself in those situations, giving up a few big plays," Ward said of the stops on fourth down. "They've got speed and, if you're not taking good angles against speed, it can creep up on you."
Facing 96 yards to score, Corydon Central chewed up clock on its way to another touchdown. Alex Newton had a run of 11 yards before Buck-to-Lander pass plays. The duo connected three times on the drive, picking up 20, 11 and 17 yards. Fullback Ben Woodward had big plays as well, with carries of 17 and 12 yards.
The 12-yard pickup put the ball at the 1. Then, for the fifth time this season, Buck scored a rushing touchdown, this time with a sneak.
"I was pleased here with our effort in the second half, getting a score right off the bat," Ward said. "That 96-yard drive where we mixed in run and pass with Brayden Lander making some nice plays, picking up first downs was key for us."
Clarksville's next drive was cut short with an acrobatic interception that saw Shane Brown tip a pass that Alex McAfee stretched out to get his hands under before the ball could touch the ground.
The pick led to another scoring drive for the Panthers. Corydon Central was set to settle for a 33-yard field goal attempt, but a pair of defensive offsides penalties scrapped the play. Instead, Newton carried the ball for a 5-yard score with 2:37 left to put the visitors up 34-6.
Clarksville would score a TD late on a 63-yard catch and run between Kissel and Andrew Wright.
"It's nice getting production out of (Woodward) at fullback and Ezra Paden," Ward said. "(Paden) was hot in the first couple of weeks, and it was nice to see Ben, a big, strong, young kid that wants to play hard, get a push tonight. His second and third effort on runs was good to see."
Against Clarksville, the Panthers didn't have to touch the ball on offense to score to open the game. Forcing a three-and-out, Clarksville snapped the ball well over punter Wyatt Kissel's head, toward the end zone. When Kissel corralled the pigskin, Corydon Central's Nathan Schmitt jumped on his back to ensure a safety.
"It's one of those things, you never think about safeties. At Perry Central, we thought about how we hadn't repped a kick-off return after a safety; now, it's part of what we do," Ward said with a laugh.
With the short field after the safety, Corydon Central drove to the 7 before Cory Thomas knocked a 25-yard field goal through the uprights.
Clarksville's scoring drive came in the first quarter when Nate Knight intercepted Buck and returned it 62 yards to the Panthers 22. Five plays later, Knight took a reverse from Parrish to the end zone, 11 yards out.
Corydon Central's offense scuffled for several drives in the second quarter. It wasn't until Serrano's interception that the Panthers got going. Putting together a seven-play, 65-yard drive, Paden scored by bouncing a run to the right and sprinting to the goal line untouched.
"We've got to take off and go play," Ward said of the start of the game. "(Clarksville's) effort was good and probably better than ours in the first half, and that's discouraging the last two weeks. We've been outplayed in the first half the last two weeks."
Buck completed 10 of 14 passes for 155 yards. Five different players got carries, led by Woodward (eight for 65 yards), Newton (20 for 56 yards) and Paden (nine for 45 yards).
"We're still trying to figure out what he likes to throw and what he feels comfortable with," Ward said of the sophomore QB. "You'd like to think four weeks into it we'd have that figured out, but we need to do a little bit better job as coaches putting him in better situations."
Defensively, Tucker led the team in tackles with six.
Corydon Central (4-0, 3-0 MSC) seeks to go 5-0 when the Panthers travel to Eastern (Pekin) Friday to face the Musketeers (1-3, 1-2). The Panthers lead the head-to-head series 6-0, including a 66-21 triumph a year ago. Kickoff will be at 7 p.m.
In the MSC, Corydon Central is tied with Brownstown Central at the top with 3-0 conference records. Charlestown and Salem are 2-1.