Turnaround rolls into postseason
The Corydon Central turnaround football trek continued into the post-season with a 27-7 win over visiting Edgewood Friday in the first round of Class 3A Sectional 23 play.
The Panthers ran their record to 7-3, a complete turnaround from a 1-9 finish a year ago. The turnaround is second in Indiana to Norwell, in terms of most improved season. Corydon Central coach Darin Ward told his players after the game that seven wins was nice, but the goal is to keep playing on Friday nights.
This past friday night, the Panthers enacted revenge on Edgewood, a team that eliminated them from play each of the previous two seasons. Corydon Central used what brought the team success during the recent run: sound defense and a power running game mixed with an efficient passing game.
Scoring came from the power running game, a long Tyler Jones run and a pair of Dylan Harl passes to Brandon Dunaway.
Things appeared to start shaky for the Panthers. On the opening drive, Edgewood marched the ball to the 30-yard line with ease. Edgewood quarterback Tyler Cross found an open James Ridge over the middle. Ridge seemed destined for the end zone, but Dunaway caught up to the receiver and stripped the ball at the 3. Corydon Central’s Garett Ross pounced on the recovery, spoiling the drive.
‘We caught a break there,’ Ward said. ‘But you know, good teams work hard and good teams catch breaks. The whole thing is, the harder you work, maybe the luckier you get. We stress playing sound and stuff, and sometimes you catch breaks like that. It was a pretty pivotal thing, they were ready to walk in and score on us, but we turned it into a touchdown.’
Corydon Central quickly put together a nine-play, 80-yard drive for the game’s first score. In the drive, Ross caught a 10-yard pass and Lucas Windell carried the ball for a 36-yard pickup. The drive was capped by Harl finding Dunaway on a post for a 23-yard touchdown. Jeremiah Windell ran in the 2-point conversion for an 8-0 lead.
Edgewood had a strong drive from the end of the first quarter well into the second. The visitors put together a 13-play drive, but were stopped short on a fourth-and-four at the 17.
Two plays later, Corydon Central fullback Tyler Jones carried the ball through the line of scrimmage and 77 yards for a touchdown. The score gave the Panthers a solid halftime lead.
Out of halftime, Edgewood posted its lone score of the game. Cross and Ridge connected on two passes in the drive, the second resulting in a 19-yard score. The touchdown cut the Panther lead to 15-7.
‘We shot ourselves in the foot with the opening drive of the second half, letting them roll down the field and score,’ Ward said. ‘Really, that drive was a post they hit on third-and-long and a fade route. Our guys were in good coverage, it was just good plays by (Edgewood).’
When the Corydon Central offense came back on the field, it lined up tight and ran the ball hard. Twelve consecutive running plays marched the Panthers 66 yards to the end zone. With the offensive line giving a big push, Lucas Windell scored from 5 yards, putting the Panthers back up two scores, 21-7.
‘To come out after that score with our line and use our double-bone tight set to run the ball for 12 to 13 consecutive runs without passes really set the tone for us taking the game over,’ Ward said.
After forcing a three-and-out, Corydon Central lined up again in a power formation. Two running plays into the drive, Harl dropped back for a quick pass to Dunaway, who was lined up at tight end. The quick strike was over the top of the Edgewood defense and led Dunaway to a 62-yard score.
‘When you got 11 guys in the box, it is just a matter of making a good call, and coach (Jeff) Durham made a good call, and he was wide open for us,’ Ward said.
Edgewood was led by Kyle Williams, who finished with 73 rushing yards on 21 carries. Cross completed 8 of 22 passes for 83 yards.
Corydon Central’s Lucas Windell led the offense with 94 yards rushing. Jones added 87 yards and Jeremiah Windell 37. Harl completed 5 of 9 pass attempts for 90 yards. Dunaway had two catches for 86 yards. Ross had two catches for eight yards and had an interception on defense. Jones led the defense with 11 tackles.
With the win, Corydon Central will make the two-hour journey to Trafalgar to face undefeated Indian Creek (10-0) on Friday at 7 p.m. The Braves defeated Charlestown, 20-0.
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