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CC takes charge out of Generals

CC takes charge out of Generals
CC takes charge out of Generals
With the entire Panther bench looking on, Corydon Central's Corey Thatcher (9) got by Leroy Wilson (19) of Clarksville and scored a touchdown thanks to a little help from his mate in the backfield, Zac Robson (23), who flattened the Generals' senior with a powerful block. (Photo by Alan Stewart)

A Picasso it was not, but Corydon Central’s football team, ranked No. 9 in Class 3A by Associated Press and 11th in the Indiana Football Coaches Poll, continued its winning ways Friday by using its heralded defense to shut out host Clarksville, 23-0.
With three fumbles (two were on special teams) and a somewhat stagnant offense, Corydon looked like it might cut its own ear off in the snoozer. But Clarksville suffered its own bout of fumblitis, coughing up the ball six times (recoving four) and throwing an interception on the first play from scrimmage to set up the Panthers’ first touchdown of the game.
An 11-yard run by Corey Thatcher scored all the points Corydon would need to pull out its third-straight win over the Generals. For good measure, he added a dazzling 79-yard romp in the fourth quarter, fellow senior Zac Robson tacked on a four-yard plunge in the first frame and Brent Salomon booted a 26-yard field goal with just over a minute left to play.
Corydon Coach Darin Ward told his team in its post-game huddle that he didn’t expect it to play flawlessly each time out and that the Panthers showed great fortitude in holding Clarksville scoreless while deep in their own territory.
‘You just can’t turn the ball over like that,’ Ward said. ‘You give your opponent a short field, and we gave several short fields tonight. We’re lucky to get through that without giving up a touchdown or another big play.
‘But Clarksville seems to make teams play sloppy games. Since I’ve been here, we beat them 7-6 in a game where I think there were about 10 fumbles. And last year, we beat them 27-0 but never could throw the knockout punch.
‘They play hard and they scrap. But when you make mistakes, and again you can’t take away from them … But sometimes they’re putting you in position to make mistakes. It was nice to see our guys regroup, put the play behind them, and go on to the next play.’
Friday night, the Panthers enter a tough two-game home stretch as they’ll face undefeated Salem, which will be looking for revenge after last year’s 42-34 double-overtime loss to Corydon. The Lions, who have defeated Edgewood (34-8) and county-rival West Washington (26-14), are led by senior back R.J. Hartsfield. He’s already scored four touchdowns and rushed for 312 yards.
Then, on Sept. 12, Corydon hosts Brownstown, which has had one of the best programs in the state the past few years.
‘We would have liked to have played better,’ heading into the Salem game, Ward said, ‘but we kept the (Clarksville) game in check and we’ll take a shutout any day.’
Robson picked off Leroy Wilson on the first play of the game. Six plays later, Thatcher found the end zone.
Clarksville fumbled and recovered twice on the ensuing possession, but was forced to punt.
Three plays later, faced with third-and-long, the Panthers’ freshman quarterback, Josh Windell, turned in one of the night’s most spectacular plays. On a busted bootleg that was probably going to be a loss of about 15 yards, Windell somehow shook off no less than five Generals in the backfield and zig-zagged his way for a 34-yard gain.
Thatcher followed with an 18-yarder, David Terhune caught a pass from Windell for 11 yards, and Robson got back-to-back calls and hit paydirt with 1:57 remaining. Windell hit Eric Haub in the corner of the end zone for the PAT and a 14-0 lead, which held up to the intermission.
Clarksville was able to drive down inside Corydon’s 10 late in the third quarter, but a hit by Justin Lynton on Brandon VanArsdale forced a fumble, which Thatcher scooped up to thwart the threat.
On the second play of the fourth quarter, Thatcher scooted his way to the left sideline and made off like a bandit for a 79-yard TD run.
The rest of the final frame was a see-saw affair, with Salomon’s 26-yard boot closing the deal and putting Corydon on top in the Mid-Southern Conference chase with a 1-0 record.
Players like Lynton, Haub and Casey Tuchscherer received plenty of praise from Ward for their defensive prowess.
‘Our defense made some timely plays. We got sucked in a little on the backside. They’d run up their sideline and pick up seven or eight. It’s just a thing (where) you look for your good players and leaders to make timely plays,’ Ward said. ‘And when they come out and throw it on the first play and we get a pick, you can’t beat that. We took it right down the field and scored. Those are opportunities that we’re looking for.’
Clarksville skipper Dennis Hawkins, who is in his 25th season with the Generals, said his team fell asleep on defense, referring to the long run by Windell and Thatcher.
‘I’m sorry, but I’m just a little bit too old to get out there and play, but I’d love to. You’re dealing with kids that go brain-dead real quick,’ he said.
Corydon, which had just one penalty on the night for 15 yards, rushed for 266 yards and completed 3-4 on passes for 40 yards. Thatcher led the rushing corps with 154, with Robson going for 75. Terhune hauled in two passes from Windell for 34 yards.
‘(Windell’s) a guy who we’re not asking to do a whole lot,’ said Ward. ‘When you’ve got some backs like we’ve got and we’ve got a pretty strong offensive line, we try not to put him in positions where he’s going to have to make important decisions. Composure-wise, he’s playing like a junior or senior,’ Ward said.
Clarksville was hit with three penalties, rushed for just 48 yards and threw for 46 on 6-11 passing. Kent Lewellen led the host’s ground attack with 17 yards.