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Panthers improve in 57-42 TD-fest

Two weeks ago, Corydon Central’s offense coughed and sputtered as it ground out just one touchdown in a 55-6 blowout against Perry Central.
What a difference a week makes.
The Panthers still came out on the losing end on Friday, but they put up 42 points in the process in a 57-42 slugfest against Clarksville.
Several Panther records were matched, or broken, during the three hour-plus affair.
The 42 points were the most ever scored in a losing effort by the Panthers, and the 99 combined points were the second-most ever scored by CC and an opponent. The only one bigger was a 66-34 touchdown-fest against Huntingburg in 1964.
Corydon Central racked up 691 yards of offense, which is also a new record.
Individually, senior quarterback Josh Windell matched a 28-year-old mark set by Kerry Zimmerman in 1978 for most all-purpose yards (308) in a game. Windell rushed for 10 times for 131 yards and was 16 of 28 passing for 249 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.
And, as crazy as it may seem due to the inflated score, Corydon had several opportunities to take control, and possibly win the game.
‘I’d say most of (Clarksville’s) yards came due to a second effort on their part. We’d have them down for a four-yard loss and they’d break loose on us. I know one time we had them for a three-yard loss and they wound up with a four-yard gain,’ Panther skipper Jason Timberlake said. ‘As bad as that was, the effort is encouraging this week. After last week against Perry, we were happy to be in a situation where we could have someone for a three-yard loss.
‘Take that, and if you take out their kickoff returns, we probably win the game.’
The Generals (2-0, 1-0 Mid-Southern Conference) went to their big gun to start the game as senior Ryan Masters took the opening kickoff 85 yards, nearly untouched, to the end zone.
‘That was my fault,’ Timberlake said bluntly. ‘We just shouldn’t have kicked it to him.’
Clarksville’s PAT kick failed.
Corydon answered on its next possession as Chad Salomon blasted a 27 yard field goal to slice the deficit in half, 6-3.
After the first of four touchdown runs by Clarksville senior Kent Lewellen put his team up 12-3, Corydon made it a three-point game again as Windell connected with Kyle White from 10 yards out. Salomon’s kick was partially blocked and ricocheted off the goal post for a 12-9 score.
A 46-yard romp by Generals quarterback Alex Knerr set up Masters’ second TD of the night, this time on a 20-yard run. Lewellen’s two-point conversion run gave Clarksville its first double-digit lead, 20-9, at the end of the first quarter.
The Panthers were driving on their next possession, however Josh Fisher picked off Windell. Clarksville was unable to take advantage and punted away.
A 33-yard ramble by Windell was the big play in the Panthers’ next possession, which resulted in a one-yard dive by the quarterback with 4:15 left in the half.
With Corydon closing in once again, it was Masters’ turn to shine.
After Salomon’s kickoff slipped through the hands of Fisher, Masters picked up the loose pigskin and dashed 75 yards, nearly for the score.
Lewellen ran in from three yards out, and followed with the conversion run to set the score at 28-15.
The Generals scored one more time before the intermission as Masters ran in from 35 yards away. Knerr converted the point-after on a pass to Fisher for a 36-15 advantage at halftime.
‘It could have been easy for us to give up and fold our tents at that point,’ Timberlake said. ‘But we had some fight in us in the second half.’
Corydon’s defense nearly kept its opponent off the board in the third period, which allowed the Panthers to pull within seven points.
Windell connected with Sean Eastridge for a 42-yard TD strike with 8:24 showing. Salomon’s kick trimmed Clarksville’s lead to 36-22.
The Panthers struck again five minutes later as a couple of nice runs by Dustin Dones set up a 22-yard run to paydirt by Windell, on a nice fake option run. Salomon’s kick brought the Panthers even closer, 36-29.
But Corydon (0-2, 0-1 M.S.C.) could get no closer.
Masters scored his third touchdown of the game on a nine-yard run, which was followed by a two-point conversion by the visitors with six seconds left in the third period.
The Panthers had the Generals reeling on their next possession, using a 18-yard pass from Windell to Sean Conway, and a 32-yard pass to White, to bring up first and 10 from the visiting 11 yard line.
A pitch from Windell to Dones was muffed, however, and Clarksville’s Cody Cissell recovered.
Lewellen later scored, setting the score at 50-29.
The Panthers’ air game was again utilized, with passes to White, Eastridge and Conway used to set up an 11-yard pass to Eastridge for the score.
Masters punched in his final TD of the night, with a PAT kick making it a 57-36 ball game.
Corydon had the final say in the final outcome, however, as White took the ensuing kickoff 86 yards for the touchdown.
‘Eastridge by far had the best game of his career,’ Timberlake said. ‘He wouldn’t have made those plays last year. He really stepped up and showed us that we can really use him.
‘I think offensively, things really clicked for us. The things we need to work on right now are not giving up on a play and wrapping up our tackles. I think our guys are moving in the right direction.’
Dones ran for 43 yards and Mat Carver had 26 yards rushing.
Eastridge pulled down three passes for 73 yards, Conway caught five passes for 73 yards, and White grabbed seven passes for 101 yards.
Masters rushed for 132 yards on 14 tries while Lewellen tallied 96 yards to lead the Generals.
Corydon Central continues in league play Friday night as it travels to Salem in an 7 p.m. start.
‘Salem’s going to be a tough team. Their running backs aren’t as fast as Masters, but they are going to run hard,’ Timberlake said. ‘Also, their defense is something we don’t normally face. It’s similar to what Batesville runs and it’ll be something that we’ll be forced to adjust to. They’ll be a tough team and it should be a good atmosphere for a football game.’
The Lions (1-1, 0-0) are coming off a 27-26 win over rival West Washington.
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