CC reaches final after winning thriller, 29-28
Brown County had been there before.
In a Oct. 26, 2001, sectional semifinal football game against North Harrison, the Eagles trailed by a touchdown with four minutes left in the game. With 15 seconds remaining, they scored a touchdown and then added a two-point conversion to win a thriller, 15-14.
Fast-forward nearly three years to the day to the Corydon Central football complex. Brown County trailed the Panthers 29-22 on Friday with just a couple of minutes left in the 2004 Sectional 23 semifinal.
The Eagles took the ball 46 yards in 14 plays and scored on a two-yard pass from Jordan Jacobs to Jeremy Carson with just 24.8 seconds left to set the score at 29-28.
Corydon’s faithful were stunned. Forty years of separating football futility from pigskin prestige would come down to 36 inches.
A surprise to no one, Brown County coach Danny Tieken, the winning coach in the North Harrison sectional contest, elected to go for the win on a two-point try.
Corydon’s heralded defense would have to make one last stop.
‘We told them, ‘Guys, this is for all the marbles. It’s what you’ve waited for your entire life, to win a sectional championship,’ said Corydon coach Jason Timberlake. ‘You’ve got to stop them here. You’ve got to play like it’s your last play.’
After each side swapped timeouts, 22 players lined up for the most important play of their lives.
Jacobs took the snap and ran to his right, with Corydon’s linemen in pursuit. As Jacobs crossed the right hash mark, he spotted a small gap between Panther defenders Anthony Mellado and Kyle White and dove for the opening.
Corydon’s duo latched onto Brown County’s quarterback and brought the junior to the ground just inches from the goal line to effectively end the game.
The visiting Eagles attempted an onside kick, but the ball was smothered by Corydon senior Aaron Motsinger. One kneel by sophomore quarterback Josh Windell was all it took to end the affair, 29-28, and punch Corydon’s ticket to its first sectional championship game in the program’s 40-year history.
‘When they scored that last touchdown, our kids’ first reaction was to let down, but we still had one more play. I told the kids that they had to believe,’ Timberlake said. ‘I think the last couple of games have shown a lot about this team and its character.’
Two weeks ago, Corydon came from behind to end Greensburg’s season. On Friday, the Panthers had to overcome a slew of injuries to pull off the victory.
Starting quarterback Josh Windell (hand), running back Kyle White (leg cramps), lineman Casey Tuchscherer (dislocated finger) and linebacker Anthony Mellado (dislocated and lacerated thumb) were all tended to on the sidelines.
Tuchscherer’s injury forced him to the sidelines in the second quarter. While he was being worked on by Dr. Bruce Burton, Windell scored on an eight-yard run. Since Tuchscherer is the long-snapper, Corydon was forced to go for two points, and Windell delivered the goods with the conversion run.
The extra point turned out to be huge.
‘We were down to our third snapper, so no one knew how big that point would be later,’ Timberlake said. ‘Sometimes things just work out that way and for a reason.’
With its seventh win in a row, Corydon Central (9-2) advances to the championship game of Class 3A’s Sectional 23 this Friday at 8 p.m. at Batesville (6-5). The Bulldogs advanced to the title game with a 38-6 win over Edgewood in the other semifinal.
Corydon Central had just one player over the 50-yard mark in rushing, but six had more than 20 yards each on the ground. White led the way with 52 yards, followed by Motsinger’s 45, David Terhune’s 36, Windell’s 32, Brandon Wood’s 25, and Jason Ward’s 21.
The Panthers threw for 74 yards, with a large chunk of that coming on a 60-yard touchdown pass from Windell to Billy Saulman in the second quarter.
Corydon’s first touchdown was the only score of the first period.
White finished off the Panthers’ first possession with a 16-yard run at the 5:44 mark. Freshman kicker Chad Salomon, who had three point-after kicks to become the program’s most productive kicker, booted one through for a 7-0 lead.
Salomon is 39 of 43 on the season to eclipse the mark set by his older brother, Brent, who had 37 kicks last year.
After Terhune blocked a Brown County punt, Corydon pushed the lead to 15-0 on Windell’s 8-yard dash and two-point conversion.
Brown County answered on its next possession as Jacob Redmond pulled in a 30-yard strike from Jacobs. Carson caught a pass from Jacobs for the two-point play.
Two plays later, Saulman had his long touchdown pass to make the score 22-8.
The Eagles drove to the Panthers’ 21 before turning the ball over on downs.
Corydon’s possession was short-lived, however, as Matt Lockall picked up a fumble and rambled 36 yards with 1:19 left in the first half. The PAT kick was missed and the two clubs headed into the intermission with the hosts on top, 22-14.
A trio of penalties killed Corydon’s first drive of the second half, with the squad turning the ball over on downs at their own 33.
One play later, Brown County’s 5-5, 135-pound indestructible scatback, Remy Heller, sprinted 33 yards around left end and hit paydirt at the 8:33 mark of the third quarter. A two-point run by Jacobs tied the game at 22-22, where it would remain until the final frame.
The Panthers would take the lead and cap the game’s longest drive in the fourth quarter.
Starting from their own 21, Corydon Central used its powerful backs to march to the Eagles’ 6-yard line, where Terhune dove across the goal line for a 28-22 lead.
Salomon’s kick turned out to be the game-winner, tacking on one more point and setting the score at 29-22.
‘They just didn’t quit,’ Timberlake said of his team. ‘This team and this group of seniors, I tell you, they are a great bunch. The seniors have been together and played together and are the best of friends off the field. They’ve been together since the third grade in Frank Czeschin’s youth league, and they have confidence in each other like brothers.’
Defensively for the Panthers, Ward had a whopping 13 tackles. Motsinger was close behind with 12. Tuchscherer wound up with six take-downs, and four others had four apiece: White, Saulman, Mellado and the team’s vocal leader, senior Eric Hoehn.
Both Terhune and Windell chalked up interception catches as well.
Heller rushed for 110 yards to push Brown County’s ground total to 152. The Eagles threw for 109 yards, with Jacobs going 8-for-13 with two interceptions.
Each club was stymied by infractions: Corydon was hit eight times for 80 yards while Brown County was flagged nine times for 80 yards.