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Early turnovers plague Panthers’ football

Early turnovers plague Panthers’ football
Early turnovers plague Panthers’ football
Corydon Central linebacker Ben Johnson pressures Brownstown Central quarterback Gus Hogan on a pass attempt. Photo by Brian Smith

The previous six Corydon Central regular seasons had ended with match-ups versus Mid-Southern Conference perennial power Brownstown Central. After a reshuffling of the schedule due to Scottsburg becoming the eighth football-playing member of the league, Brownstown Central was placed as game No. 1 on the Panthers’ slate.
Coming off a regional championship season, the Braves, despite graduating several key weapons, continued to be the same Brownstown Central MSC foes know all too well.
Playing at the partially renovated Blevins Memorial Stadium, the host Braves benefited from a big play on the opening drive followed by a pair of Corydon Central turnovers to lead 21-0 in the first quarter. Brownstown Central, ranked No. 9 in the preseason Class 3A poll, went on to win 44-14.
‘I talked to the guys all week on how you can’t win this game in the first quarter, but you can lose it,’ Corydon Central coach Aaron Humphrey said. ‘I’m not into moral victories, but, take away the 21 points off turnovers, and it’s a closer game.’
Humphrey, making his head coaching debut under the headset for Corydon Central, witnessed Caleb Bollinger take a hand-off over right end on the Braves’ first drive. Running up the sideline, Bollinger went for a 65-yard touchdown to set the tone.
Corydon Central’s first series didn’t go as scripted. Quarterback Noah Windell saw a quick pass to the direction of Braydon Beauchamp get intercepted by Payton Barker.
The miscue eventually turned into a Braves’ touchdown, a 1-yard run on a direct snap to Braeden Walker. Key to the drive was Colton Ritz picking up nine yards on a fourth-and-4 near the red zone.
A 12-yard Braydon Weathers run, along with a 14-yard pass to Weston Goodman, saw Corydon Central get its offense going for a bit on drive No. 2. The drive stalled around midfield, setting up a punt. The snap to punter Windell sailed high. Trying to gather the ball, Windell was hit by a swarm of Braves that forced a fumble. Scooping the ball along the Panthers’ 35, Brownstown Central lineman Lendon Underwood then rumbled down the center of the field for a TD.
‘(Brownstown Central) came out and punched us in the mouth,’ Humphrey said. ‘They showed their experience against our inexperience.’
Corydon Central put together a scoring drive in the second quarter but lost a key player. Weathers, the team’s starting running back and linebacker, left the field with a foot injury midway through the drive. The senior back fought hard for extra yards on a carry but was slowed to his feet.
‘It’s tough losing him, and we will always be a next-guy-up mentality,’ Humphrey said. ‘At the end of the day, Weathers is a starter at running back and inside backer. For a minute, we had to adjust. We handled it well. We ended up putting a freshman (at linebacker), Chase Straub, which is a tough start against that single wing.’
Despite the injury, Windell took a carry to the Brownstown Central 14-yard line, setting up a fourth-and-4. Dropping back, Windell threw a strike to Beauchamp, who marched in for a 14-yard TD reception.
‘He did a fine job,’ Humphrey said of his junior signal caller. ‘The pick on our first offensive series, he knew immediately what went wrong. We’d love to have it back, but he came to the sideline and knew how he messed up. He did a good job managing things and threw the ball well. He picked up rushing yards as well.’
Windell closed with a 6-for-14 performance, picking up 73 yards. He also carried the ball 10 times for 67 yards.
Cutting the score to 24-7 with 2:25 to go until half, Corydon Central couldn’t keep the Braves off the scoreboard before the break. A pair of key pass plays by quarterback Gus Hogan pushed the ball down field quickly. With 22 seconds until half, Colton Ritz carried the ball in from the 4, prompting a 31-7 halftime lead.
Hogan was 7-of-8 passing for 45 yards while rushing for 64 on 15 tries.
Corydon Central fumbled away its first possession of the second half and saw the ball recovered by Underwood. Capitalizing, Brownstown Central eventually put the game out of reach, 38-7, with a 2-yard TD from Matthew Bell. The Panthers were whistled for a pair of face-mask penalties on the eight-play, 52-yard drive.
‘There is a lot of positives on the defensive end, but, what I saw is, we didn’t help each other out,’ Humphrey said. ‘Our offense didn’t help our defense. Then, our special teams didn’t help the defense. For a big part of the game, our defense played with their backs to the wall. Brownstown had a short field too many times. When we made them put together a long drive, I thought we showed good things. We have to get better at it.’
A tackle for a loss by Corydon Central linebacker Ben Johnson forced the Braves to punt for the first time late in the third quarter.
The Panthers later added a second touchdown ‘ Canaan Mercer scored from the 5 ‘ with 6:26 to play.
In the series, Brownstown Central (1-0, 1-0 MSC) extended its win streak versus Corydon Central to six.
Goodman led Corydon Central in rushing with 70 yards, while Mercer added 37 and Weathers 17. Goodman caught three balls for 37 yards, and Beauchamp two for 29 yards.
‘We need to get better up front and, overall, we had lapses of not doing our job,’ Humphrey said of moving forward. ‘We talk about it on a daily basis ‘ do your job on that particular play ‘ and there were times we did not do that. It may have been fatigue or whatever, but we need to work on our focus play after play. It gets back to self discipline, and we need to become a more disciplined team.’
Corydon Central (0-1, 0-1 MSC) will face Paoli for the Panthers’ home opener Friday at 7 p.m. Paoli is coming off a 56-15 loss against Evansville Central.

Corydon Central 0 7 0 7 ‘ 14
Brownstown Central 21 10 7 6 ‘ 44
BC ‘ Caleb Bollinger (BC) 65 run (Ethan Sevakis kick); BC ‘ Braeden Walker 1 run (Sevakis kick); BC ‘ Lendon Underwood 35 fumble return (Sevakis kick); BC ‘ Sevakis 25 FG; CC ‘ Braydon Beauchamp 14 pass from Noah Windell (Dylan Higginbotham kick); BC ‘ Colton Ritz 4 run (Sevakis kick); BC ‘ Matthew Bell 2 run (Sevakis kick); BC ‘ Reece Covert 1 run (kick blocked); CC ‘ Canaan Mercer 5 run (Higginbotham kick).

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