Panthers bounce back with big W
Ross Schulz, Contributing Writer
The Corydon Central Panthers bounced back from a gut-wrenching rivalry loss a week ago by making an emphatic statement with a wire-to-wire 43-7 beat down of Scottsburg.
A season ago, it was the same scenario: Corydon Central lost an overtime thriller to North Harrison and the next week had to regroup to face conference-foe Scottsburg. After three overtimes, the Panthers came up on the wrong end of the scoreboard in 2019. It didn’t take long to realize the Panthers were not going to let that happen again.
“I thought they did a good job coming back,” Corydon Central coach Aaron Humphrey said. “All week we talked about our coachable mistakes, and I thought we did a good job correcting the turnovers from last week.”
After both teams’ defenses forced punts on their respective opening possessions, Corydon Central pulled out the trick play book for a reverse pass back to the quarterback. Back-up QB Nolan Adams handled the reverse and tossed it to quarterback Tyler Fessel, who cut and weaved for an 80-yard touchdown. It was just the start of a big night for Fessel and the Panthers’ offense on Scottsburg’s field.
After another stop by the Panthers’ defense, a promising offensive drive ended with an incompletion on 4th and 2, giving the ball back to Scottsburg. Corydon Central’s defense stood tall again, forcing a three-and-out and a punt attempt. That’s when senior Drew Smith, for the second consecutive week, came up with a big play. Smith blocked the punt and recovered the football, setting up the offense with excellent field position.
On fourth down from the 21-yard-line, Fessel rolled to the right and patiently waited for fellow sophomore Jalen Fowler to find an opening in the secondary. Fessel hit Fowler, who outran the defense for a score.
Jaeden Singleton made the next big play for the Panthers, picking off quarterback Kent Paris’ pass attempt around midfield.
From that point, the offenses traded touchdowns before halftime with Fessel again connecting with Fowler for six, while Mason Busick completed a touchdown pass from Paris for Scottsburg. The Panthers’ defense picked off another pass, this time with senior Kolten Kaiser coming down with the pigskin.
Scottsburg junior Traven Crawford found running room all evening for the Warriors, including just before halftime as the Warriors threatened.
Fowler, however, came up big again for the Panthers, this time on defense, with the third interception of the half.
The second half was all Panthers. The opening drive saw sophomore running back Anthony Martin take over and complete the drive with a 9-yard scoring scamper.
Fessel added to the Panthers’ lead with a QB-keeper from the 2-yard line, and a botched snap on the extra-point attempt led to two points as Adams found Kaiser in the end zone.
The touchdown gave Fessel a rare triple: a rush TD, a pass TD (2) and a TD reception.
The final score again came from Martin, this time from 11 yards.
Crawford led all rushers with 146 yards.
The Scottsburg air attack had some success, completing 15 of 27 for 133 yards and a score, but the Panthers’ defense took advantage of the flying football with three interceptions.
“Defensively, I was really impressed; we had three interceptions, the secondary did a good job because they throw it a lot,” Humphrey said. “Overall, well pleased with the guys.”
Humphrey said he wanted to establish the run a little better in the first half.
“But we kind of settled down and talked about it at halftime, and we established the run much better the second half,” he said.
Chandler Money led Corydon Central with 76 yards, with Fessel on his heels with 75. Martin, doing his damage in the second half, totaled 55 yards.
Fessel finished the contest 11 for 22 for 139 yards and two touchdowns. Adams was 2 for 2 for 83 yards and a score.
Fowler hauled in the most passes with six for 81 yards and two touchdowns.
“We were all excited and happy to play, and we were ready to play,” Fowler said. “I was a little upset about the North Harrison game, but that’s in the past and you’ve got to look forward to the next game.”
Kaiser had two catches for 16 yards, Martin had two for 33, Money one for 10, Singleton and Drew Smith had one for six yards each and Fessel had the longest play of the night with one catch for 80 yards for a score.
“We manned up as a team, I’m not going to talk about myself but it was a team thing; we manned up and we got it done,” Smith said. “We did what we were supposed to, what we were coached to do and, when you do that, that’s how it comes out, you know, you win football games … That’s what we were told before the game, just man up four quarters and we’re going to win, and that’s what we did. We manned up four quarters, and we won.”
The Panthers (2-1, 1-1) will look to continue a strong start to the season with a trip Friday night to winless Eastern (Pekin).
In the Mid-Southern Conference race, four teams (Corydon Central, North Harrison, Brownstown Central and Clarksville) sit with one loss chasing undefeated Silver Creek. Charlestown and Salem have two losses each.
“You’ve got to go play, you never know week to week,” Humphrey said of the MSC.
Corydon Central 14 7 15 7 – 43
Scottsburg 0 7 0 0 – 7
Corydon Central-Tyler Fessel 80 pass from Nolan Adams (Nathan Lisher kick); CC-Jalen Fowler 21 pass from Fessel (Lisher kick); Scottsburg-Mason Busick 35 pass from Kent Paris (Noah Smith kick); CC-Fowler 19 pass from Fessel (Lisher kick); Anthony Martin 9 run (Koleton Kaiser pass from Nolan Adams); CC-Fessel 2 run (Lisher kick); CC-Martin 11 run (Lisher kick).