Corydon strong in all facets of the game in win at Eastern
George Browning, Contributing Writer
Corydon Central grabbed momentum on the first play of the game Friday at Eastern High School in Pekin and never looked back on its way to a 44-6 Mid-Southern Conference win.
Panthers’ coach Aaron Humphrey said he was pleased with how his team showed up ready to play in all facets of the game.
“I thought we executed really well,” he said. “We threw it, we ran it and really have done a pretty good job of mixing those up, and we continued to do that tonight.”
The Panthers’ special teams set the tone out of the gate when they recovered an on-side kick to start the game.
Five plays and 32 yards later they made the Musketeers’ turnover pay off when sophomore quarterback Tyler Fessel scored from one yard out.
Corydon Central failed to connect on the point-after touchdown attempt but were up 6-0 just 1:29 into the game.
The Panthers’ senior Drew Smith recovered a fumble on Eastern’s next possession, and a few plays later Corydon Central capitalized again, this time with a one-yard touchdown run by senior Chandler Money. Fessel connected with a pass play to Smith on the two-point conversion, giving them a 14-0 lead with 6:59 remaining in the first quarter.
Corydon Central added two more scores. The first one came on a 38-yard run from Fessel, which was followed by a two-point conversion by Money.
The next score for the Panthers was the play of the night.
Sophomore Anthony Martin intercepted a pass from Nathan Teusch and fought off a severe face-mask penalty to score on a 54-yard pick six. The Panthers didn’t convert the two-point try but were up 28-0.
“We have some athletic kids and, when the ball is in the air, they can go make plays,” Humphrey said. “That was a heck of a play by Anthony, and then he finished it by scoring, even after he about got his face mask ripped off.”
As good as the Panthers were playing, the offense did stall in the second quarter.
Martin’s score was the only time Corydon Central found the end zone. They threatened with a second score in the quarter but turned the ball over deep in Eastern territory.
Humphrey said he got a sense that his team got the three quick scores and then lost a little bit of its intensity.
“I think we probably took our foot off the gas pedal,” Humphrey said. “We can’t do that. If we do, moving forward, it will come back to bite us. We have the ability to be a good team, but we turned it over in the red zone in the second quarter. You can’t do those kind of things against good teams. We have to clean those things up.”
It was another solid performance by Fessel, who Humphrey said has all the tools to be a special player.
“Fessel is doing really well,” he said. “Tyler has a tremendous upside. He is a dual-threat guy. He didn’t have to run it a lot tonight, but we have confidence in him whether he is passing or running.
“One of the biggest improvements I see is that he is maturing,” the coach continued. “A couple of weeks ago against North Harrison, he made some sophomore mistakes but he didn’t hang his head. He responded by taking the coaching and has come back with two good weeks of practice. I expect to see him to be better next week than he is this week. That’s the kind of player he is.”
Corydon Central added two scores in the second half, both coming in the third quarter.
Fessel scored on a four-yard scamper, and Money added the two-point try. Then, just for good measure, Fessel showed off his arm when he dropped a 38-yard pass into the hands of sophomore Jalen Fowler. Martin carried the ball and scored on the try for two.
With a running clock, Eastern managed to score midway through the final quarter.
The Panthers haven’t started 3-1 since 2014. They will try to maintain the early season momentum Friday against visiting Salem.
For many on the Corydon Central sideline, it’s just another game. But, for Humphrey, it’s a homecoming of sorts. He grew up a Lion and even started his coaching career there.
He said the Lions’ program has a special place in his heart and he only roots against them when they play the Panthers.
“Obviously, Salem week is special for me,” he said. “I root for them and want to see them do well every week but one, and it’s this one. I know most of their players and have a nephew playing.
“They are a physical football team,” Williamson said of Salem. “They started slow this year, and that’s to be expected with a new coach and a new offense. Obviously, any time you can beat Brownstown, you must have a pretty good team. We are looking forward to the challenge.”
Kick off Friday is set for 7 p.m.
Corydon Central 22 6 16 0 – 44
Eastern 0 0 0 6 – 6
Corydon Central – First quarter: Tyler Fessel 1-yard run Nathan Lisher kick failed) 10:31, CC 6, E 0; Chandler Money 1-yard run (Fessel pass to Drew Smith) 6:59, CC 14, E 0; Fessel 38-yard run (Money run) 4:15, CC 22, E 0; Second quarter: Anthony Martin 54-yard interception return (Fessel pass failed) 11:12, CC 28, E 0; Third quarter: Fessel 4-yard run (Money run) 6:12, CC 36, E 0; Fessel 38-yard pass to Jalen Fowler (Martin run) :20.4, CC 44, E 0; Fourth quarter: Nathan Teusch 11-yard pass to Brant Farris (run failed) 7:23, CC 44, E 6.