Big plays, blown assignments unravel Panthers’ plan, 27-12
An inability to stop the big play turned out to be Corydon Central’s undoing on Friday night as host Clarksville posted a 27-13 home victory.
The Generals’ longest sustained drive was only six plays, and at halftime the squad led, 14-6, despite gaining just two first downs.
Of the victors’ four scores, three came on plays of more than 28 yards and two were on runs of 76 and 77 yards. Even the final trip the end zone ‘ a short, two-yard jaunt by sophomore quarterback Alex Knerr ‘ was set up by runs of 39 and 17 yards.
Corydon head coach Jason Timberlake said the breakdowns were not the result of the entire team, but by individual players.
‘We looked at the tape and on all of their big runs, we showed exactly what happened and why it happened. Football is a game where 11 guys have to do it right. It works when you do what you are supposed to do,’ Timberlake said. ‘We had some guys who wanted to take matters into their own hands and stand out and they stood out, alright. (Clarksville’s) guys up in the booth sent the play right at them. You might get away with it once, but most of the time, they are going to find you and key on you.
‘Personnel-wise, sure we have some questions. But as a team, we are better than what we’ve shown the first two games. And that’s just it. We have to execute as a team.’
The last time the Panthers started a season 0-2 came in 2000 while the club was in the midst of what would eventually become a 23-game losing streak. The last time Clarksville defeated Corydon was in the same year, 48-0.
On the Panthers’ (0-2, 0-1 Mid-Southern Conference) opening possession on Friday, the team took the ball seven plays and 51 yards to the end zone.
Junior quarterback Josh Windell connected with sophomore running back Mat Carver for a 23-yard touchdown strike. The point-after kick failed as Corydon led in the early going, 6-0, with 8:12 showing.
Clarksville’s next two possessions ended with a punt and an interception by the visitor’s Shaun Walker.
The Panthers’ ensuing drive started at the 27 and methodically went to the Generals’ 39 yard line before stalling out when Windell was sacked on fourth-and-three.
‘That was another situation where we had a couple of missed assignments,’ Timberlake said. ‘If we convert that fourth down, it’s an entirely different ball game.’
That’s when things started to fall apart for Corydon.
Clarksville went 53 yards in six plays, capped by a 28-yard TD run by Kent Lewellen. Adam Conaway added the PAT kick for a 7-6 advantage with 7:25 left in the second period.
Corydon worked its way to the Clarksville 20 before being stopped on fourth-and-one with just under a minute left.
Two plays later, the Generals struck again as Masters faked right, cut back left and dashed 77 yards to the end zone with 20.4 seconds remaining in the half. The point-after kick was good for a 14-6 lead at the half.
‘We had two drives there in the second quarter that we probably could have and would have scored on,’ Timberlake said. ‘Even if we score on one of those drives, it’s a different game.’
Clarksville wasted no time finding the end zone again to start the third period, with Lewellen going 78 yards on the third play from scrimmage. This time, Corydon senior Kenny Nickels blocked the kick to push the host’s lead to 20-6.
A pass interference call helped the Panthers two possessions later, as the team was able to claw its way to the one, where Jason Ward dashed in for the score. A conversion pass failed, as the deficit was trimmed to 20-12.
Corydon got no closer, and Clarksville was able to extend the lead on Knerr’s two-yard keeper with 8:06 left.
‘Clarksville took advantage of our mental and physical mistakes. We had them on fourth and short and had them pinned deep at their end and twice we jumped on hard counts,’ Timberlake said. ‘It’s things like that we need to avoid if we are going to win. I told the guys the two things we have to do are limit our turnovers and cut down on our mistakes.’
Windell, who has a broken left hand and a strained ligament in his throwing hand, finished 5-14 for 61 yards, throwing for one touchdown as well as one interception.
Kyle White, a junior, rushed for 70 yards on 16 carries, Windell ran eight times for 12 yards and Carver rushed six times for 18 yards.
On the injury front, David Camp had an MRI on his right knee, which he injured in the second quarter of the loss.
Corydon was 4-11 on third down conversions.
Knerr was 0-4 with one interception, with Masters leading the Generals’ attack with 16 rushes and 180 yards. Lewellen ran six times for 115 yards.
The Panthers kick off their home slate on Friday night as the club returns to league play in a date against Salem (1-1).
‘They won’t have guys like Masters who have breakaway speed. They have two sophomore running backs who’ll run hard and aren’t afraid to take a hit. And they have a Top 26 player in Andrew Hudson, so you expect good things from him,’ said Timberlake. ‘They are pretty good across the board.’
Kickoff is at 8 p.m. (fast time).