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Panthers focused on line, consistency

Panthers focused on line, consistency
Panthers focused on line, consistency
Football coach Darin Ward instructs the defense during practice Monday. The defense is focusing on depth on the offensive line and utilizing experience in the secondary for its strength. Photo by Brian Smith (click for larger version)

The Corydon Central Panther football team is set to do battle in the trenches.
Darin Ward returns to the head coaching duties, a title he held for three years until 2003, with an early mindset of instilling consistency and depth along the offensive and defensive lines.
‘Our main objective, and knew coming in, was that we needed to focus on the offensive and defensive lines,’ Ward said. ‘The way we want to play football, and with some consistency, is we have to control the line of scrimmage. We’re really going to practice and preach that. I know a lot of coaches say it and give up on it, but we’re going to work hard at it.’
Establishing depth has been a focus along each side of the line. On the offensive side, sophomore Jordan Crosier and senior James Shireman will serve as the anchors. Crosier was converted from a tight end to the o-line. Shireman’s brother, junior Daniel Shireman, is also coming along well on the line, said Ward.
‘Sam Kintner is our senior center,’ Ward said. ‘He has stepped up when we transitioned him to the center spot, but he brings playing experience, which is key.’
Sophomore Greg Carver and junior Nathan Lawton also bring support to the offensive lines.
On the defensive line, Ward’s key was to bring an athletic presence while still having good size.
Sophomores Jackson Wilkerson and Dakota Fessel will be on the line.
‘It gives us concerns starting sophomores at the varsity level,’ Ward said. ‘But we’ve transitioned Seth Rennirt, the running back from last year, a good athlete with decent size, at the defensive end spot.’
Rennirt will line up with sophomore Jordan Crosier on the opposite side. Depth will be provided by Taylor Wolfe and Brian Mays.
‘The type of football we want to play, we need to be physical at the line of scrimmage,’ Ward said.
At his use is a plethora of experience at the skill positions. Rennirt returns as a junior running back and can be backed up by sophomore twins Jermiah and Lucas Windell.
Seniors Garett Ross, Michael Beauchamp and Casey Saulman and juniors Tyler Jones and Brandon Dunaway bring that experience at the skill positions on offense and defense.
‘We have experience in the secondary, and we’ve preached not to give up the big play,’ Ward said. ‘All and all we should go to battle with 18 guys with some guys going both ways. But that is what I expected coming in. What we want is athletes who take pride in doing their job. We want that physicalness on the line of scrimmage and to limit turnovers.’
Ward said he learned a few things during his three years as an assistant at Jasper. On offense, he said the passing game at Corydon Central has improved, and, with quarterback Dylan Harl, he feels confident the senior can do what is asked of him.
‘From a defensive perspective, it is probably the most I brought from Jasper,’ Ward said. ‘We had the philosophy of challenging people on the line of scrimmage instead of being aggressive, aggressive, aggressive. We don’t want guys to work their butts off and blow an assignment because we are too aggressive.’
Overall, Ward said the team felt good about itself after a solid scrimmage against Southridge Friday. He said he told the guys they competed hard, but they needed to continue working to be in proper position on defense.
‘We have to understand teams aren’t going to feel sorry for us because we were 1-9 last year. We are going to see a lot of big efforts from opponents because no one wants to lose to a team that was 1-9 the year before. Our outlook is to get better each day in practice and not be completely satisfied with the previous day’s performance. Our goal, when it is all said and done, is to outwork teams.’
Corydon Central opens the season Friday on the road against Perry Central at 8 p.m. The Commodores went through the regular season undefeated for the second consecutive year in 2008. A year ago, they finished 10-1. Avenging a 43-6 loss last season to Perry Central is the hope for the Panthers.
Ward said he expects both teams to run the ball hard.
‘Usually, in my opinion, if you’re playing defense, running the football, working hard, taking care of the ball and being sound in the kicking game, you’ll compete and will be in games in the second half. We aren’t going to roll over for anybody,’ he said.