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Panthers season ends against speedy Devils

Corydon Central’s boys’ soccer season came to a close Saturday in the Class 2A Floyd Central Sectional final against Jeffersonville.
The Red Devils defeated the Panthers 4-1 to claim their third sectional title in four years.
Jeffersonville scored early to take a 1-0 lead. Isaiah Salazar scored off an Alex Duckworth corner kick to give the Red Devils the lead inside the first few minutes.
Midway through the first half, Jeffersonville struck again when Jordan Vejar scored his first of two goals. The first came off another set-piece, a Duckworth corner kick.
Jeffersonville eventually made the score 3-0 when Vejar scored a goal that was assisted by Austin Ali.
Corydon Central took 13 shots in the game, seven by way of Cory Thomas. The Panthers, however, weren’t able to score until the final minute when both teams added goals.
‘It was probably one of the best games we played all year,’ said Corydon Central coach Jeff Salomon. ‘We had trouble at the beginning of the ballgame. Jeff took advantage of two arial balls we misjudged and scored.’
Corydon Central had an opportunity down 1-0, when a shot beat the keeper but was on the wrong side of the post by inches.
Leonard Kwitonda scored an unassisted goal for Jeffersonville in the closing minute, while seconds later Corydon Central scored.
Taking the ball after the Kwitonda goal, Corydon Central’s Austin Leupp raced downfield and beat the keeper to prevent the shutout.
‘We played really well,’ Salomon said. ‘I think we were outnumbered on speed and aggressiveness but not skill. Skillfully, we can play with anybody.’
Leupp got the start in goal for 23 minutes, then Jay Brent took over. Each gave up two goals with Brent finishing with seven saves and Leupp two.
The Panthers finished the season with an 11-5-2 record, while Jeffersonville (13-5-2) moves on to regional play. The Red Devils won the regular season meeting between the clubs, 4-2.
‘Once we got into the flow of the game, you could see Jeff respected us,’ Salomon said.
Corydon Central closed the season with its fourth Mid-Southern Conference title, which has been contested the previous six years. Not only did the Panthers go 6-0 versus MSC competition, they also outscored conference opponents 31-4.
The season also included Corydon Central’s first win over Floyd Central (2-1) on Aug. 30.
The crop of Panthers are the first to post a winning record in nearly 10 years.
‘It was a really good season and all the players did a good job,’ Salomon said. ‘They finished with their best game of the year.’
Thomas, one of the top goal scorers in the state, led Corydon Central with 26 goals (four hat tricks) and 10 assists in 16 games played.
‘I strongly feel that we had arguably the best player on the field in any game that we played this year, and I’m glad Cory is on our side,’ Salomon said. ‘But I think people need to realize that it takes a team to win and Cory can’t do it by himself. Yes, he certainly makes us much better, and I wouldn’t want him on any other team because he would make those teams arguably better as well, but he can’t win by himself; he needs the team and they need him. I think we all finally realized and committed to this for the last game, which is why we played so well.’
As a team, the Panthers maintained an undefeated record at home, going 5-0-2.