Buck slings ball past Salem
The return home for Corydon Central was a sweet one Friday night.
Lannis Buck completed 82 percent of his pass attempts, tossing three touchdown passes and running for another against Salem. One of many seniors honored before the game, Buck’s offensive performance, along with key defensive stops, landed the Panthers a 27-15 win over Mid-Southern Conference foe Salem.
‘This win gives us a lot of confidence with a bunch of young guys stepping up,’ Buck said. ‘We have to keep moving forward and prepare ourselves to make a run in the playoffs.’
First-year coach Andrew Smith was fired up post-game with his players.
‘I don’t do a good enough job telling the guys ‘good win’ because so often we move to the next week so fast,’ Smith said. ‘I wanted to make sure the kids enjoy this one because they did a good job. It’s a real solid win and gets our confidence back going forward.’
Salem was brimming with confidence after its first scoring drive to go up 8-0. Quarterback Seth Hobson struck with a 69-yard TD pass to Christian Lamb.
From that point on, the Corydon Central defense adjusted to the veer offense and any time Hobson dropped back to throw.
Starting to find rhythm on offense, the Panthers got going to score on three of its next four drives before halftime.
Facing a third-and-15, Buck scrambled toward the sideline for 19 yards. Two of the next three plays went to wide-out Jordan Watson. The senior had a grab of eight yards then caught a big one. Heading vertically along the Panthers’ sideline, Buck hit his classmate in stride for a 43-yard score. Tailback Austin Kopp ran in the two-point conversion to even the score at 8.
A quick three-and-out for Salem sent the Corydon Central offense back to work. A 2-yard run by Kopp on fourth and short at the Lions’ 34-yard line picked up a key first down. The drive ended with Buck rolling out to find sophomore Weston Goodman for a 40-yard TD strike over the middle of the gridiron.
Goodman had a breakout game for the Panthers. He caught four passes for 70 yards and two touchdowns. His second TD came with 1:23 to go before the half. Corydon Central ran 11 plays featuring runs by Kopp and Buck to advance the drive. After a holding penalty, the Panthers used pass plays to Zack Paden and Kopp to set up a fourth-and-3 at the 10.
Creating a score, Buck found Goodman for a touchdown pass out of a five-wide look to put the Panthers up 21-8 at half.
‘We have athletes all over the field with several explosive guys,’ Buck said. ‘The sophomores made some plays for us. It showed we came together as a team. The young guys are getting their feet wet at the varsity level, but we know they can play.’
Smith said he had confidence in the young players, who were filling in for a handful of starters who sat out.
‘A few of them were out there for the first time on a Friday night, and you wouldn’t have know it by the way they played,’ Smith said. ‘I knew they would be good because we have confidence in them. You never know how they will respond the first Friday night.’
Midway through the third quarter, Salem cut the deficit to 21-15 when Hobson passed for 33 yards to Spencer Meadows.
The rest of the way, Corydon Central’s defense had Hobson and the Lions struggling to score. Watson had a key pass break up when the Lions were in the red zone in the third quarter, leading to a turnover on downs.
Senior linemen Curtis Miller and Cameron Ayres teamed for a sack on Salem’s next drive. The Lions continued to move the ball, thanks in large part to Meadows completing a pair of passes out of his tight-end position.
On fourth down at the 2, linebacker Jacob Johnson stopped Hobson for a loss. The junior closed with nine tackles and an interception.
‘Jacob is playing really well this year,’ Smith said. ‘Earlier this week, he was inside (linebacker) then some things happened and we moved him outside. He’s getting better.’
Sliding to inside linebacker in the 4-4 scheme alongside senior standout Ben Woodward was freshman Justin Richardson. Both piled up stats; Richardson had seven tackles, two for a loss, and one sack, while Woodward had eight tackles.
‘We put our tackles down inside a bit, and it helped me as a middle backer to come up and make plays,’ Woodward said. ‘I owe all the linemen for holding up the guards long enough for me to go make plays.’
Chris Saulman and Miller also had two tackles each for losses.
‘We talked about being focused,’ Smith said of the game. ‘Even before fall break, we talked about that not being a distraction. Last year on senior night, we weren’t focused the way we needed to be. We learned from that experience.’
Buck added one more score in the second half, a 15-yard run in the third quarter. He finished with 205 yards passing and 71 on the ground.
‘Whenever I’m back there, I think about us scoring on every play, passing or running,’ Buck said.
Salem (3-5, 2-5 MSC) was able to slow Kopp for much of the game. He carried the ball 23 times for 78 yards.
‘They tried to take away Kopp, and we showed we have other guys,’ Smith said. ‘We have to keep trusting each other and others to step up.’
To go with Goodman’s receiving yards, Watson (65 yards), Paden (49 yards) and Ben Johnson (22 yards) had four catches each.
Corydon Central (5-3, 4-2 MSC) will hit the road for its final regular-season game at Brownstown Central (6-2, 5-1 MSC).
‘We want it to be perfect, but I don’t think we’ve hit our ceiling yet,’ Smith said. ‘We have a long way to do that, but we showed tonight we continue to get better.’
Salem 8 0 7 0 ‘ 15
Corydon Central 8 13 6 0 ‘ 27
S ‘ Christian Lamb 69 pass from Seth Hobson (Hobson run); CC ‘ Jordan Watson 43 pass from Lannis Buck (Kopp run); CC ‘ Weston Goodman 40 pass from Buck (Trevor Wiley kick); CC ‘ Goodman 10 pass from Buck (kick failed); S ‘ Spencer Meadows 33 pass from Hobson (Hobson kick); CC ‘ Buck 15 run (run failed).