Turnovers costly in rain for Panthers
Three second-half fumbles proved to be the difference Friday night in cold and rainy conditions at Corydon Central as the Panthers fell 34-29 on the gridiron.
â€śThe bottom line is we turned it over and they didnâ€™t,â€ť said Corydon Central coach Aaron Humphrey. â€śWhen you turn the football over, it makes it hard to win. We stopped ourselves and didnâ€™t let them stop us. You have to take care of the football, and we didnâ€™t.â€ť
Corydon Central had an ideal start to the game. Fighting through the rain, the Panthers didnâ€™t allow the Clarksville offense to touch the ball during the first eight minutes of play.
Through that time, Cory- don Central was able to build a 14-0 lead.
Facing a fourth-and-2 on its opening possession, Corydon Central drew Clarksville offsides to move the chains. Steady runs from Chandler Money and Noah Denbo pushed the ball to the 1 before Anthony Martin put in the score.
After making an extra point, Corydon Central kicker Dylan Higginbotham placed the ball on the tee and executed an onside kick recovered by teammate Drew Smith. Several plays later, Corydon Central went up 14-0 when quarterback Nolan Adams ran in a sneak from the 2 with 4:25 to go in the opening quarter.
â€śWe talked all week about controlling the clock and keeping their athletic offense standing on the sidelines,â€ť said Humphrey. â€śI thought the first half we played pretty well offensively. The first half played out the way we wanted to.â€ť
Clarksville moved the ball down field on its first possession. Smith came up with a tackle for a loss to put the Generals in a third-and-16 situation. The Generals squirmed their way out with Robert Lamar picking up a big gain. From 13 yards out, Clarksville quarterback Keyshawn Minor rushed in to the end zone.
Corydon Central was able to answer back with a score rather quickly. Denbo, carrying much of the load with Martin after Money left with an injury, carried a host of Clarksville players for a big gain to the 11. Denbo polished the drive off with a 4-yard score.
â€śMoney is our vocal leader,â€ť said Humphrey. â€śIt becomes the next guy up, and guys have to step up. I thought some of the guys did, but itâ€™s a matter of us taking care of the ball. We needed to handle the conditions better than we did.â€ť
Clarksville used a big play to get back within one possession as Minor juked and jived 48 yards for a TD with 3:25 to go before halftime.
â€śI thought we handled their speed pretty well for the most part,â€ť said Humphrey. â€śTheir second score, we were in good position to make a tackle and just didnâ€™t make it. (Clarksville) is exceptionally athletic, and we were worried about their speed all week. Itâ€™s tough to simulate it, but our guys did an OK job.â€ť
Corydon Central lined up for the first punt of the game near midfield and caught a break with a minute to go. The kick bounced off a Clarksville player and was recovered by Bradley Pitts for Corydon Central. Positive runs by Adams and Denbo put Corydon Central in the red zone.
With just 2.8 seconds left, Higginbotham nailed a 35-yard field goal to put the Panthers up 23-12 at the break.
â€śThat was a great kick by him to get us some momentum right there before half,â€ť said Humphrey.
The second half saw the Panthers held to six points as the Generals made a charge.
Clarksville running back Daeâ€™von Fuqua scampered 22 yards to pick up a fourth-and-7 near midfield. The Generals then moved offensive lineman Clayton Aranda to fullback and saw him power his way toward the end zone for a 5-yard score.
On Corydon Centralâ€™s next possession, the Panthers too picked up a key fourth down near midfield with a Martin run. Then, the Panthers coughed up the ball to the hands of Fuqua, who returned a fumble 75 yards down the left sideline for a defensive TD. The score gave the Generals their first lead, 26-23.
Fuqua later broke up a fourth-down pass, giving the ball back to the Generals. Adding an offensive score, Fuqua rushed in from the 19 to put Clarksville up 34-23 after an Aranda conversion run.
â€ś(Clarksville) went to a T (offense) in the second half, which is something they hadnâ€™t done this season,â€ť said Humphrey. â€śItâ€™s nothing that should have thrown us off, but we had trouble stopping it.â€ť
Pinned deep in Corydon Central territory, the Panthers were able to force a fumble on fourth down with three minutes to go. A few plays later, Corydon Central was back in the hunt with an Adams 1-yard run with two minutes remaining.
On Clarksvilleâ€™s next possession, the Generals fumbled on their own 27. The Panthers, however, were tackled by Fuqua for a big loss on the next play. On third-and-15, Corydon Central fumbled again, essentially ending the game.
â€śThey started blitzing through at the end, and we didnâ€™t pick it up,â€ť said Humphrey.
Corydon Central (2-6, 1-6 Mid-Southern Conference) had won 10 straight against the Generals (2-6, 2-5 MSC).
The Panthers will return to action Friday on the road at Silver Creek at 7 p.m.
Clarksville 0 12 14 8 â€“ 34
Corydon Central 14 9 0 6 â€“ 29
CC â€“ Anthony Martin 1 run (Dylan Higginbotham kick); CC â€“ Nolan Adams 2 run (Higginbotham kick); C â€“ Keyshawn Minor 13 run (run failed); CC â€“ Noah Denbo 4 run (run failed); C â€“ Minor 48 run (run failed); CC â€“ Higginbotham 35 FG; C â€“ Clayton Aranda 5 run (Aranda run); C â€“ Daeâ€™von Fuqua 75 fumble return (run failed); CC â€“ Fuqua 19 run (Aranda run); C â€“ Adams 1 run (run failed).