Batesville ends Corydon’s sectional quest, 28-7
Corydon Central wrote a new chapter in school football history Friday night at Batesville when it played in its first-ever sectional championship, but the new volume’s conclusion was bittersweet: the Panthers fell, 28-7.
Corydon Coach Jason Timberlake, who completed his first year at the helm for his alma mater, said his team, which posted a 9-3 record, had a great season, even though it was not able to deliver a sectional championship.
‘I don’t feel that this final game was a reflection of our season,’ he said. ‘They (Batesville) played a great game that night, and we didn’t play our best game.’
Timberlake said he felt his team was well-prepared and sharp in pregame warm-ups, despite a bus ride of more than two hours and chilly weather conditions. Corydon began its first possession at its own 35 and senior fullback Aaron Motsinger bulled his way for a 30-yard gain on the first play from scrimmage, igniting the Panther fans.
‘That’s what I expected to do all game,’ Timberlake said of his team’s ability to move the ball early.
After another Motsinger run and back-to-back carries by sophomore tailback Kyle White totaled 4 yards, the Panthers elected to go for it on fourth and six at the Batesville 31. Sophomore quarterback Josh Windell attempted a pass but was picked off by Batesville’s David Hortemiller, who returned the ball 39 yards. The interception was the first of four Corydon’s quarterbacks would throw and served as a lift for Batesville, turning the tide of the game, Timberlake said.
‘That was a big momentum change,’ he said.
Batesville took over at the Corydon 41 and mounted an eight-play scoring drive, aided by a pass interference call against Corydon and capped by a five-yard plunge by freshman tailback Jeremy Cook. Sophomore Justin Tucker nailed the extra point, putting the Bulldogs up 7-0, halfway through the first period.
After a Corydon punt on its next possession, Batesville took the ball at its own 37 and went to the ground on the next three plays, picking up 57 yards, including a 39-yard run by junior fullback Kyle Green.
The Bulldogs would total 227 yards on the ground for the game, the most surrendered this year by Corydon’s defense. With first and goal on the Corydon 5, disaster struck for Batesville, as Cook coughed up the ball. Corydon’s Anthony Mellado recovered at the 5.
Corydon went three plays and out on the next possession and was again forced to punt, giving the Bulldogs another chance at the Corydon 42. Batesville dug itself a hole after an incomplete pass and holding penalty made it third and 19, but it got a big play when it counted. Quarterback Korey Padgett hit split end Jimmy Moorman for a 44-yard gain, taking the ball to the Corydon 7. On the next play, Green scored from 7 yards out. Tucker was good on the extra point, giving Batesville a 14-0 advantage after one quarter.
The Panthers orchestrated a long drive on their first possession of the second period, covering 45 yards on 13 plays, but the offense stalled. Corydon was forced to punt on fourth and 11 at the Batesville 39.
A short kick provided the Bulldogs with the ball at their own 26. After an illegal procedure penalty made it second and 13, Padgett hit Moorman for a 62-yard touchdown toss. Tucker booted the extra point and Batesville’s lead bulged to 21-0.
Corydon would not have the ball long on its next possession. A botched handoff intended for Brandon Wood was recovered by Batesville at the Corydon 15. On the next play, Cook broke lose for a 15-yard TD scamper. Tucker’s fourth extra point made the score 28-0, with less than four minutes remaining in the half.
Corydon shot itself in the foot again on its next possession, when White fumbled the ball away on first down, giving the Bulldogs the ball back at their own 44. The Bulldogs moved to the Corydon 29 and went for it on fourth and two; however, Green was stuffed for a 1-yard loss, giving the Panthers the ball back at their own 28. After a first down run by White, Windell’s pass intended for White was intercepted by Batesville linebacker Michael Nobbe, just before the half.
Neither team scored in the third quarter. Batesville began with a punt on its first possession and Corydon quarterback Alex Zimmerman, playing in place of the injured Windell, who suffered a first-quarter concussion, was intercepted by Padgett. The good fortune was short-lived as Batesville fumbled on the next play and Corydon recovered at its own 21.
Zimmerman was sacked for a 7-yard loss on the first play, but he recovered with back-to-back completions to David Bradstock and Motsinger. He also converted a fourth and six, moving the chains with a 10-yard toss to Bradstock. Four plays later, Corydon again ran out of steam when it went for it on fourth and 15, and Zimmerman’s pass intended for Bradstock was incomplete.
Batesville gave the ball back after an unsuccessful pass on fourth and nine.
Timberlake said his team made some adjustments at halftime and was able to keep Batesville’s offense in check the rest of the game, although his own offense continued to have problems.
‘We couldn’t get anything going,’ he added. ‘It put our defense on the field way too much.’
Corydon ended the third period by giving up the ball on downs after Zimmerman was sacked on fourth and four.
Batesville was unable to convert in the red zone on its first possession of the final quarter, when Travis Cook fumbled on second and goal at the Corydon 8 and the ball was recovered by the Panthers’ Jason Ward.
Corydon mounted an 11-play drive that covered 59 yards and featured three first-down passes by Zimmerman; however, the Panthers came up short on fourth and nine, when a pass intended for Motsinger fell short.
The Panthers got their only score on the next possession, when cornerback Billy Saulman picked off Padgett’s pass on third and 21 and outran several Batesville players as he brought it back for a 39-yard touchdown. Freshman Chad Salomon, was good on the extra point, making the score 28-7, which would prove to be the final margin.
Motsinger led the Corydon ground game with 76 yards on 13 carries. Zimmerman completed six of 16 passes for 64 yards. The Panthers where held to 197 yards total offense and committed six turnovers.
Tackle Casey Tuchscherer led the defense with nine tackles, while linebackers David Terhune and Jason Ward made eight and seven stops, respectively. The Panther defense forced four Batesville turnovers.
Timberlake said he was proud of his team for winning two sectional games and felt his seniors provided leadership throughout the season, especially after a tough, season-opening loss to Perry Central.
‘Our kids never questioned what we were doing,’ Timberlake said of how the team stayed focused and kept good attitudes even after that loss. ‘I felt like we improved in every game we played.’
Timberlake said his team met yesterday to map out an off-season schedule, and he expects some sophomores and juniors who did not get much playing time this season to make an impact next year.
‘We’ve got some guys that didn’t get to show themselves this year,’ he added. ‘We’re confident about next year and looking forward to it.’
Batesville improved to 7-5 on the season and will host Heritage Hills, 12-0, and ranked No. 1 in Class 3A regional, Friday.