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First test a tough one for Panthers

First test a tough one for Panthers
First test a tough one for Panthers
Corydon Central's Canaan Mercer looks for open field Friday night to pick up yards for the Panthers against Brownstown Central. Photo by Alan Stewart

Frequently in college football, programs find a couple of tomato-can teams they can work out kinks against before they hit the all-important conference slate. High school football is substantially different, with athletic directors tugging and tweaking to find a schedule that will work no matter how strong the opponent may be.
Corydon Central High School’s schedule-maker certainly could have done a better job of finding a more suitable match-up for the lid-lifter of the season as the Panthers had to face off against one of the Mid-Southern Conference’s juggernauts ” Brownstown Central ” on Friday night in Corydon.
Knowing the task at hand, second-year coach Aaron Humphrey said he figured his squad couldn’t afford to have any errors or mental letdowns and had to play near-perfect football if it hoped to have any shot at competing against Brownstown Central.
The Braves had no problem overcoming 100 yards of an uncharacteristic 12 penalties and shut out Corydon Central, 49-0, for their 28th win over the Panthers in the past 30 years.
‘When you have a young team like we’ve got, you can’t mess up. I told the team all week that we can’t win the game in the first quarter but we can definitely lose it in the first quarter,’ Humphrey said. ‘Last year, we throw a pick six, we snap a punt over our head that they scoop up and score and score on their first play. Tonight, I just wanted to keep us in the game until half.’
By and large the Panthers did just that, trailing 21-0 with two minutes to go in the second quarter, but the deficit ballooned to 35-0 in just under 60 seconds of play late in the second quarter.
After Brownstown Central’s Matthew Bell scored from one yard out with 1:45 left, the Braves recovered an onside kick and scored three plays later on a 24-yard run by Derek Thompson with 54 seconds left. Corydon Central fumbled the resulting kickoff, and the Braves recovered, driving the ball to the Panthers’ one-yard line with a few ticks remaining before Braves head coach Reed May called off his crew and allowed time to expire in the first half.
The Panthers’ defense was better in the second half and allowed only two scores ” both with the varsity units still in the game in the third quarter ” but the first half was the ultimate reason for the setback.
‘We didn’t help ourselves defensively by the way we played offensively in the first half,’ Humphrey said.
That’s not to say Corydon Central didn’t have its moments of success, with Chandler Money and Canaan Mercer having nice kick returns throughout the night, Jaeden Singleton picking off a Brownstown Central pass deep in the Panthers’ territory and Alex Lee pulling in a 41-yard pass from Noah Windell on the Panthers’ only completion of the contest.
Bell and Kinsler both had a pair of touchdowns for the Braves, who had 22 first downs to Corydon Central’s four.
The Panthers, who had four penalties for 35 yards, rushed for 56 yards and were paced by 50 yards on the ground by Money.
‘Cramps and fatigue; obviously, it’s going to be important until it cools off. It’s something everybody fights. We’ve got six guys going both ways, and most of them are linemen. I thought our fatigue really showed at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. That’s where you win and lose football games, and that’s where we lost tonight, was the fatigue on the line of scrimmage,’ Humphrey said. ‘(Chandler) Money ran hard and did a good job as a sophomore. I thought special teams-wise we did pretty well with a couple of long returns. We continued to play in the first half, and that’s one thing we talk about on a daily basis is continuing to play. Take one play at a time.’
Looking to Friday night’s tilt at Paoli, which is coming off a 34-7 victory over Madison, Humphrey said his group needs to block and tackle better.
‘We didn’t do either one of those very well tonight,’ he said. ‘We have to get back to work Monday and get better at blocking and tackling, and I promise you we’ll be better next week.’

Brownstown Central 14 21 14 0 ‘ 49
Corydon Central 0 0 0 0 ‘ 0
BC ‘ Hayden Kinsler 2 run (Ethan Sevakis kick); BC ‘ Liam Kries 4 run (Sevakis kick); BC ‘ Kinsler 4 run (Sevakis kick); BC ‘ Matthew Bell 1 run (Sevakis kick); BC ‘ Derek Thompson 24 run (Sevakis kick); BC ‘ Bell 17 run (Sevakis kick); BC ‘ Braeden Walker 9 run (Sevakis kick).

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