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Zeroes to heroes: Panther had the season of a lifetime

Life is full of endings, but every ending is a new beginning.
Or something like that.
Corydon Central’s magical season of football came to a cold (literally) and bitter end Friday night at the hands of a formidable Franklin County squad, 28-13.
The Panthers, losers of 23 straight games just one year ago, finished the regular season with an unthinkable 8-1 record and went 9-2 with the loss to the Wildcats on Friday night.
What made Corydon so fun to watch? For me, the “zeroes to heroes” transformation was one reason. Another was probably epitomized best by senior running back and linebacker Jon Windell.
Hardly a game went by when there wasn’t a train wreck-like hit delivered by the defense, namely by No. 42 (Windell). Sometimes, he moved in so quick that I couldn’t see who made the hit. When I asked who scored the tackle on the ear-splitting shot, I was often answered, “Who do you think?”
I’m all about defense and Corydon certainly had it. The Panthers’ defense took a ton of pressure off the offense, but that’s not to say Corydon couldn’t score.
If it wasn’t fleet-footed Corey Thatcher tip-toeing his way down the line to find an opening, it was Windell punishing linebackers, or Zac Robson working the iso. Corydon scored through the air, too, with scoring passes from Justin McPherson to Aaron Dougherty, Eric Haub, Nevin Dunaway and Steven Walker.
For the year, Corydon outscored opponents 320 to 114 and recorded an astonishing six shutouts, falling one short of tying the bunch from 1973 (they had seven). The only losses were to Franklin County (9-2 heading into Friday’s game against Batesville) and powerful Brownstown Central (11-0)
And how about the yeomen of the bunch: the offensive and defensive lines.
Game in and game out, the workhorses in the trench – Casey Tuchscherer, Michael Tuchscherer, Jimmy Ward, Eric Hoehn, Chris Newton, Justin Albin and Haub – wore down the opponent and made life a lot easier for those behind them.
Congrats to Corydon on one remarkable, record-breaking season.

Burnin’ the barn

Anyone who knows me knows that I love the Internet.
For the past four years, one of my favorite Web sites, HickoryHusker.com, has sponsored the Barn Burner Traveling Trophy.
For three seasons, there was no “real” trophy, so Leigh Evans (aka Hickory Husker) kept track of owners of the trophy through his site. Last year, Champion Awards and Trophies crafted a real trophy to be passed around.
The Barn Burner is awarded to the victorious team (Gary West Side, defending 4A champion, currently has the trophy), and then must be defended each successive game with a win or is passed on after a loss to the victorious team.
If this all sounds familiar, basketball gurus might recognize this format as similar to the old Evansville Press “Dope Bag” traveling trophy that’s on display at the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame Museum in New Castle.
The Austin-Crothersville boys game was chosen to begin this tradition because it was the first game to tip-off the 1998-99 season.
From Austin (where it stayed for one game), it went to Silver Creek (where it was successfully defended six times, including North Harrison), then Jeffersonville, then Bedford, then Evansville Harrison and so on. Since the first game, the trophy has passed through 29 teams and 109 games.
This season, it’s the girls’ turn for a Barn Burner.
Starting with next Monday night’s game between Providence and Henryville in the second annual Southern Indiana Tip-Off Classic, a girls Barn Burner trophy will bounce around the state.
The winner of that game will become the first holder of the trophy. Whoever beats that team will be the second, and so on.
With South Central in the tournament, there’s a chance the Lady Rebels could even hold the girls Barn Burner.
While the Indiana High School Athletic Association continues to tinker with the lackluster multi-class basketball system, at least there’s still something that’s winner-take-all remaining in the Hoosier heartland.
I think the whole concept is wonderful as it’s a way to tie the smallest of small schools with the biggest of the big.
(To track the paths of the trophies, log on to HickoryHusker.com and click on “Barn Burner Trophy” in the left menu bar.)
Lineup set for
Tip-Off Tourney

The second-annual Southern Indiana Tip-Off Classic gets underway beginning next Monday at both Providence and Clarksville High Schools.
Game times during the week (pool play) are 6 and 8 p.m., with tournament game times on Saturday at 10 a.m., noon, 2:30 and 4 p.m.
Pool play at Providence: Nov. 11 – South Central vs. Austin, Providence vs. Henryville; Nov. 12 – Henryville vs. South Central, Austin vs. Providence; Nov. 14 – Henryville vs. Austin, Providence vs. South Central. Pool play at Clarksville: Nov. 11 – Charlestown vs. Madison Shawe, Clarksville vs. Trinity Lutheran; Nov. 12 – Madison Shawe vs. Clarksville, Trinity Lutheran vs. Charlestown; Nov. 14 – Clarksville vs. Charlestown, Madison Shawe vs. Trinity Lutheran.
Tournament play at Providence on Nov. 16: (13) – Providence 3rd vs. Clarksville 4th; (14) – Providence 1st vs. Clarksville 2nd; (17) – Loser Game 13 vs. Loser Game 15; (18) – Winner Game 13 vs. Winner Game 15. At Clarksville – Clarksville 3rd vs. Providence 4th; (16) Clarksville 1st vs. Providence 2nd; (19) Loser Game 14 vs. Loser Game 16; (20) Winner Game 14 vs. Winner Game 15.

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