Posted on

CC’s Thatcher takes to field at N-S game

CC’s Thatcher takes to field at N-S game
CC’s Thatcher takes to field at N-S game
Corydon Central graduate and Franklin Colleg signee Corey Thatcher (28) lines up at the cornerback spot against the North's Louis Johnson (Muncie Central, Ball St.). (Photo by Alan Stewart)

Corydon Central High School grad Corey Thatcher saw plenty of playing time at Saturday’s Indiana Football Coaches Association North-South All-star game at North Central High School in Indianapolis. He just didn’t see much ‘action.’
Maybe it was the Panthers’ well-known defense that had the North team’s quarterbacks timid. Or maybe it was simply luck.
Either way, Thatcher, a cornerback in the IFCA game, never had a ball thrown his way and never made a tackle. Nevertheless, the Franklin-bound athlete said he still relished the experience.
‘It was nice meeting some of the guys who were there. It was special to get on the ballot, and then to be on the team was great, too,’ Thatcher said. ‘Corydon football has come a long way.’
The two squads took part in several off-the-field activities, including going to an Indianapolis Indians baseball game, visiting the Indiana Football Hall of Fame in Richmond, and meeting patients at Riley Hospital for Children.
‘(Visiting the kids) was different,’ Thatcher explained. ‘It was a learning experience, seeing how those kids have to live. It makes you feel fortunate.’
Thatcher said he chose Franklin College because of its focus on academics (he wants to major in business) and because it’s closer to his father.
As for Saturday’s game, Thatcher admitted he had to provide a bigger cushion defensively, as the players he was facing were typically taller and a touch quicker.
‘I knew before I came in for the practice week that the players were going to be good,’ he said.
Among the friendships made on the team were Tri-West’s Keenan Wilson (who’s headed to Wabash) and the South’s offensive lineman of the game, Lawrence Central’s Eli Hannoy (Franklin).
‘It was an experience that I’ll remember for the rest of my life. I can sit at home with my kids and say that I played against that guy in high school and now he’s in the NFL,’ the ex-Panther said.
Thatcher, who stands 5-10 and tips the scales at 170 lbs. (up from 150 lbs.) and rushed for more than 1,200 yards last season, is noticeably thicker since Corydon was eliminated in the opening round of the state football tournament in the fall of 2003. He’s dedicated himself to the weight room in anticipation of college ball.
He said that it wasn’t until his high school career was almost over that he realized he needed to become stronger.
‘In track, our coach split us into two teams in one of the relays, and I realized how hard I had to push to win. I think it’s fun being in the weight room now. You go in there, lift, and it gives you a lot more energy and you feel better about yourself,’ Thatcher said.
‘I played to a good enough level that I’m not real regretful about how I played, but I wish I would have lifted weights sooner. It’s made me hit people more and made me not so scared of taking a hit.’
— The South squad was narrowly defeated in the all-star tussle, 23-21.
North quarterback Wally Cirafesi of Munster (Illinois State) connected with Louis Johnson of Muncie Central (Ball State) with 4:46 left in the second quarter to give their team a 14-0 lead. The first score came from LaPorte’s Jerome Vann (Western Michigan), who hauled in an 82-yard bomb from Cirafesi.
The South rallied from a 17-0 first-half deficit to close to 17-14 on a 70-yard punt return by Carmel’s Andrew Fritz (Indianapolis) in the third quarter. After a 76-yard romp by Elkhart’s David Link (Indianapolis), which proved to be the game winner, the South got within two on a 27-yard scoring toss from Tri-West’s T.J. Siple (Wabash) to Hamilton Heights’ Seth Pickett (Indianapolis) with 8:26 left.
A short time later, South missed a field goal attempt from inside the 5-yard line.
The South had one last drive, but Vincennes Lincoln’s Curtis Painter (Purdue) was intercepted by Fort Wayne Harding’s Reggie Smith (Grand Rapids C.C.) at the North 26-yard line with 1:47 left.
Cirafesi won the Tyler W. Roth Most Valuable Player Award after completing 4-of-9 passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns. Lawrence Central tight end Eli Hannoy, who is headed to Franklin, was the South’s most valuable lineman. He caught four passes for 86 yards and had a touchdown. He may have contributed more, but had a front tooth knocked out in the second half while doing a celebratory head-butt with Brandt Hollander, who had just blocked a field goal. Hollander was still wearing his helmet while Hannoy was not.
Former Broad Ripple High School and Purdue University standout Rosevelt Colvin, now a member of the 2004 Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots, was an honorary captain during the coin toss. He sported his Super Bowl ring, which looked about the size of a small import vehicle, at the game.
Among the colleges landing some of the all-stars are: Yale, Purdue, Indiana, Notre Dame, Michigan, Illinois, Penn State, Western Kentucky, Kentucky and Georgetown,
Proceeds from the game benefit the Indiana Football Hall of Fame and Camp Riley for physically handicapped children.