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Humphrey era gains footing in Corydon

Humphrey era gains footing in Corydon
Humphrey era gains footing in Corydon
Corydon Central's Weston Goodman goes through a scoop-and-score drill at a recent practice. Photo by Brian Smith

When you walk up to a swimming pool, do you jump in or do you stick your foot in to see what the water feels like?
It’s an analogy first-year head coach Aaron Humphrey has used with the Corydon Central football players as he builds for the upcoming season.
‘Just jump in and go compete,’ Humphrey said he tells the Panthers. ‘From the first of June, we had to feel things out. Toward the end of July, in 11-on-11s, we started to come out and compete. It clicked.’
Having taken over the program, which went 3-7 a year ago, Humphrey had the summer to get acquainted with the players and to organize. During the first few weeks of practice, Humphrey has been pleased.
‘We’ve had a good two weeks,’ he said. ‘There is a good nucleus of kids that are working hard and doing all that has been asked of them. They are learning how to practice to our expectations. Our group of seniors want to be successful and want to win.’
Humphrey is no stranger to the Corydon Central program, having served as an assistant coach, including the lone sectional and regional title won in 2011.
‘It’s a change, but a change I have enjoyed and am ready for,’ said Humphrey, who most recently was an assistant coach at Boonville. ‘You are always still trying to grow and learn more. We want to do things for the better of the program. It’s a different spin defensively than the players are used to. Jason (Timberlake) has done good things as a defensive coordinator, and those guys are doing good things on that side of the football … We have a lot of alumni on the coaching roster. They are good football coaches and people to put around our kids.’
Through the summer, the coaching staff installed the offense and defense quickly to compete in various summer competitions with neighboring schools. Once fall camp began, Humphrey said they slowed down and went to work on fundamentals.
‘We wanted to clean some things up over the first few weeks,’ he said. ‘The challenge is having the players understand the pace we want to practice at to get things done. They’ve done a good job understanding and doing it.’
While a team’s identity can change during the course of the season, Humphrey said they have an idea of where the team needs to be.
‘How polished we are going to be week one is to be determined,’ Humphrey said. ‘We want to be a fast, physical football team on both sides of the ball. In high school football and at really any level, you’ve got to be able to run the football and stop the run to be successful. That’s what we want to do.’
Taking over for Andrew Smith, who spent two seasons as the Corydon Central head coach, Humphrey has to replace a few notable skill players. Austin Kopp, holder of several offensive rushing program records, is gone to graduation along with two-year quarterback Alec Saulman.
‘(Senior) Braydon Weathers is going to get snaps at running back along with (sophomore) Canaan Mercer and (senior) Weston Goodman,’ Humphrey said. ‘All of them are doing a good job and bring something different to the table. They each have a different style of running and will be a nice change-up when one comes in the game.’
Humphrey said he is big on sharing carries, viewing the nine-week regular season and playoff as a marathon, not a sprint.
‘Weathers is our strongest kid,’ Humphrey said. ‘Weathers has done a good job leading the running backs. He’s a senior that knows it’s his time to step up and take charge. He has individual goals he wants to achieve, which I see fitting with our team goals this season.’
Elevating on the depth chart at quarterback is junior Noah Windell. Improvements from the signal caller have come with making better reads, understanding the throwing game and game management.
‘He’s been a leader in the huddle,’ Humphrey said of Windell. ‘Noah will move around. He’s a good athlete we need to get to the edge. He can run it some but also throw it.’
Experience returns on the offensive line as well. Seniors Noah Hartman, Brian Jones and Wyatt Hoehn are among the players slated to see time.
‘They have grasped the new scheme and are understanding they need to lead the younger kids in practice,’ Humphrey said.
Zach Wiley, a junior, and sophomore Christian Wilkerson also return with varsity experience.
‘We have some big guys up front,’ Humphrey said. ‘Our offensive and defensive lines are what is going to win us some football games. We stress that on a daily basis, to be physical up front and get off the football. We want to establish the run and stop the run.’
A few of the offensive line guys shift to the defensive front as well. Jesse Wolfe, along with Wilkerson, saw action in the front four as freshmen. Both are back for their sophomore season.
‘Right now, (Wilkerson) is still a sophomore that doesn’t understand yet what he is capable of. I’ve seen vast improvements out of him. We are going to lean on him,’ Humphrey said.
At the skill positions on offense, senior Ben Johnson is among the top returning players at the wide receiver spot. He’s joined by junior Alex Lee, who missed much of last season with an injury, along with senior Braydon Beauchamp. Sliding into the tight-end slot is Kurt Strubler, a first-year player as a senior.
‘Kurt and Braydon have done a great job for not having played football, coming out as seniors, and give us great effort,’ Humphrey said. ‘You wouldn’t know they haven’t played football for a long time. I don’t think Kurt has played before, while Braydon has played some youth and middle school ball.’
On the defensive side, New Albany transfer T.J. Scalf is looking to fill the linebacker role in the middle. The senior, according to Humphrey, ‘is a vocal kid that brings a different dynamic to our football team.’
Johnson and Weathers will be at linebacker as well. Johnson is an outside backer who can play anywhere on the field.
‘Ben is the player you’d love to have 11 of on the field,’ Humphrey said. ‘He puts people in the right position and not only knows his responsibilities, but everyone else’s. He’s a quality kid and one of our captains.’
Sophomore Max Hendryx is a player emerging as a linebacker and secondary option. In the secondary, a host of skill players ‘ Beauchamp, Goodman, Lee and Beauchamp ‘ are seeking to provide options.
‘I like our skill guys,’ Humphrey said. ‘Like anything, you have to stay healthy. We have the skill guys I think can go compete with anybody else in the conference.’
At special teams spots, sophomores Dylan Higginbotham and Gavin Nuanez are seeking the place kicking duties. Windell is in line to handle the punting.
Numbers-wise on the roster, Corydon Central boasts 12 seniors, five juniors and a host of freshmen and sophomores.
‘I love the way, from a program standpoint, we have great numbers in the seventh and eighth grades along with the freshmen and sophomores,’ Humphrey said. ‘We’re laying a good foundation for the future around here. I’m excited about those young kids.’
One area the Panthers need to improve on is defense after giving up 36.9 points per game a season ago. Time each practice is devoted to fundamentals of tackling and defense.
‘Takeaways and tackles for loss, we are going to work hard on those things,’ Humphrey said.
Stepping into the head coaching role, Humphrey has a tough task in week one: defending Mid-Southern Conference and Class 3A Regional champion Brownstown Central.
‘They don’t rebuild; they reload,’ Humphrey said of the Braves. ‘(Coach) Reed May set the bar for the conference over the last 20 to 25 years. He’s made the Mid-Southern Conference better … At the end of the day, to win a conference and win a sectional, you have to go beat Brownstown. As a program, we want to go up there and compete. It’s not every day you make your head coaching debut against a future Hall of Fame coach.’
Corydon Central Football Roster
No. Name Pos. Grade
2 Avery Timberlake QB/DB 10
3 Weston Goodman WR/DB 12
4 Drew Smith WR/DB 9
5 Canaan Mercer RB/DB 10
8 Ethan Riley WR/DB 9
9 Jagger Holton QB/DB 9
10 Alex Lee WR/DB 11
11 Braydon Beauchamp WR/DB 12
12 Noah Windell QB/DB 11
15 T.J. Scalf RB/LB 12
19 Houston VonSchmittou TE/DL 9
20 Gavin Nuanez K/TE/DB 10
21 Koleton Kaiser WR/DB 9
23 Chandler Money RB/DB 9
24 Braydon Weathers RB/LB 12
26 Max Hendryx WR/DB 10
27 Hunter Smith WR/DB 9
28 Jaden Singleton RB/DB 9
29 Dylan Higginbotham K 10
31 Ben Johnson WR/LB 12
32 Brenden Ayres RB/LB 10
34 Jesse Wolfe TE/DL 10
41 Brad Pitts OL/DL 9
44 Chase Straub TE/LB 9
51 Blake Lawson OL/DL 9
52 Jacob Stanley TE/DL9
54 David Friese OL/LB 10
56 Jonathon Martin OL/DL 10
57 Will Barnett OL/DL 12
58 Christian Wilkerson OL/DL 10
59 Hayden Ruby OL/DL 9
62 Josh Hill OL/LB 10
65 Colby Jones OL/DL 10
66 Zach Wiley OL/DL 11
67 Jordon Harris OL/DL 10
68 Taeghan Deitsch OL/DL 9
69 Tanner Bolen OL/DL 10
70 Nathan Ems OL/DL 10
71 Noah Hartman OL/DL 12
72 Grayson Shartzer OL/DL 9
73 Eric Lewis OL/DL 9
74 Ricky Cross OL/DL 11
75 Brian Jones OL/DL 12
76 Wyatt Hoehn OL/DL 12
77 Drake Woodlock OL/DL 12
78 Brad Albin OL/DL 12
79 Braydon Gibson OL/DL 11
87 Kurt Strubler TE/LB 12
88 Tucker Gentemann WR/DL 10