Back in MSC hunt, Corydon blanks Eastern
The Corydon Central Panthers football team brought a new attitude to Pekin Friday night, and it showed. The Panthers were firing on all cylinders leading to a 46-0 shut out of their Mid-Southern Conference foe Eastern (Pekin) (1-4, 0-3).
‘We hit a bottom point with effort last Friday night,’ said Panthers coach Jason Timberlake. ‘We had an attitude adjustment (after the Clarksville game). We knew we better be ready to make a change.’
A change was definitely made, as Eastern never threatened to add to the zero on its side of the scoreboard while playing without starting quarterback Nate Wade. Corydon (3-2, 3-1) used a balanced offensive attack and solid defense to crush the Musketeers.
Excitement on fourth down became a theme throughout the first half. Junior Dakota Cassell’s punt on fourth-and-one was bobbled by Eastern and recovered by the Panthers, continuing their opening drive. On fourth-and-two from the 6-yard line, Corydon opted to go for it. Senior running back Jared Applegate scored behind solid blocking on the right side of the line to take the early lead. Applegate was hurt on the score and did not return.
On Eastern’s first offensive play, junior quarterback Bradley Stewart tossed the ball to a running back, who tried a half-back pass, but Corydon defensive back Cassell would have none of it. He intercepted the pass, the first of many big plays made by the junior.
Cassell then ran for a 22-yard gain to put the Panthers in scoring position. Quarterback Nolan Brightman, out of the shotgun, ran for a first down on fourth-and-four from the 16-yard line. Brightman continued the success on fourth down with a score from the one-yard line on fourth-and-goal. Corydon led 14-0 at the end of the first quarter.
The defense forced a three-and-out for Eastern, a reoccurring theme throughout the night. Eastern again had fourth down/special teams trouble. A bad snap led to sophomore Jordan Lynton recovering the ball for Corydon.
Dylan Harl made his first appearance at quarterback, and it didn’t take long for him to find junior wide receiver Steve Albin for a score.
A couple of bizarre plays followed Corydon’s third score. An inadvertent onside kick was recovered by Corydon, but Eastern’s defense held and forced what looked like a punt situation. Corydon faked the punt, a direct snap to senior Stu Stark, but the Panthers were unable to gain the necessary seven yards.
The defense came up big, with two back-to-back sacks from Andrew Simler and Phillip Carter. The two sacks sent Eastern reeling, a loss of six yards on each.
Corydon put the ball in Cassell’s hands on its next scoring drive. He had an impressive 17-yard gain while breaking a few would-be Musketeer tacklers. The Panthers were aided by more fourth-down success, this time drawing the Eastern defense into the neutral zone on fourth-and-one. Harl then connected again with Albin, this time going for an 18-yard touchdown score. Corydon was unsuccessful on the two-point conversion try.
Eastern continued to struggle with special teams, fumbling away the next kick return. Harl continued his solid play at quarterback with a 12-yard completion to senior wide receiver Chad Shireman. Corydon went back to its fourth down magic with an eight-yard, pass-catch combo to Cassell but would have to settle for a 26-0 half-time lead.
The Panthers’ defense began the second half as dominate as the first, forcing a punt, helped by a sack from Simler. Cassell made a nice move on the punt return, finally being brought down after a 20-yard return. Senior fullback Mat Carver fumbled it back to the Musketeers, but the Panther defense would hold strong. Carver, Simler and Carter, the heart of Corydon’s defense, combined to sack Stewart for a loss of 12. The ball appeared to come loose on the play, but an official’s whistle blew the play dead.
Brightman returned to the game to lead Corydon on two scoring drives. The first touchdown drive ended with a pass to Shireman for the score. Brightman completed passes to Cassell and Albin on the drive as well.
On the next scoring drive, Brightman and Stark connected for three completions including a 37-yard gain and a one-yard touchdown pass.
The Panthers’ last scoring drive was jump started by a 40-yard completion from Harl to fellow sophomore Garett Ross.
Freshman Brandon Dunaway took over at quarterback the rest of the way. Dunaway completed a pass to Ross, and freshman fullback Tyler Jones did the rest, taking it in from seven-yards out, rounding out the scoring for Corydon.
The Panthers finished with 207 yards in the air, and 202 on the ground, including 114 from Cassell on 16 carries.
‘We were coming off two losses, everyone was down, but we brought a new attitude that carried over tonight,’ said Carver. ‘Our passion was the best it has been all season.’
Timberlake attributed the turn around to a great week of practice.
‘Things kind of snow-balled for us this week. We had a great effort on Monday, even better on Tuesday, then we learned about Clarksville (forfeiting Friday’s game),’ he said.
Corydon returns home Friday to face one of the areas hottest teams in MSC- and Sectional 23-foe Charlestown (5-0, 3-0) at 7 p.m.
The Corydon junior varsity team continued its success with a 28-0 win over Eastern Monday night. The team stands at 5-0 on the season.
Corydon 14 12 7 13 ‘ 46
Eastern 0 0 0 0 ‘ 0
Scoring summary: Corydon – Applegate, 6, run (Brandon Dunaway kick); Corydon – Brightman, 1, run (Dunaway kick); Corydon – Albin, 14, pass from Harl (kick failed); Corydon – Albin, 18, pass from Harl (pass failed); Corydon – Shireman, 6, pass from Brightman (Dunaway kick); Corydon – Stark, 6, pass from Brightman (Dunaway kick); Corydon – Jones, 7, run (kick failed).