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Little big in 42-7 win over Panthers

Little big in 42-7 win over Panthers
Little big in 42-7 win over Panthers
Corydon Central junior running back Anthony Martin, left, turns on the jets and pulls away from Ike Baker of Paoli during Martin’s 59-yard touchdown run in the first quarter of Friday night’s home opener for the Panthers. Photo by Alan Stewart
Alan Stewart, Contributing Writer

Corydon Central scored the first points of Friday night’s gridiron contest here, but after that it was all purple and gold.

Visiting Paoli, which was playing its first game of the season after its lid-lifter against Boonville the prior week was canceled due to COVID-19, went on to score 42 unanswered points and headed back to Orange County with a 42-7 victory over the Panthers.

In a game postponed an hour due to heavy rain and lightning earlier in the night, the Rams proved to be mudders, tallying 426 yards of offense, including 391 on the ground, with senior quarterback Carson Little accounting for four rushing scores.

“We knew what their schemes were going to be and, obviously, with them not playing last week you don’t get that film. Scrimmage film isn’t a true test or judge of what a team is. I knew coming in that with 17 seniors, that’s going to be a tough battle,” Corydon Central coach Aaron Humphrey said. “Our depth has shown the last two weeks. We get guys nicked up here or there, and it’s tough to overcome. We just have to try to get better for next week.”

Corydon Central (0-2) led at the first stop, 7-6, after a five-play, 74-yard drive that was highlighted by a 59-yard touchdown run by junior running back Anthony Martin. Bryce Gerlach’s point-after boot was true for a 7-0 lead with nine minutes remaining on the opening possession of the game.

Paoli bounced back with a quick touchdown of its own just under two minutes later on a 10-yard romp by senior quarterback Carson Little. The Rams’ PAT run failed, however.

Little went on to score three times in the second quarter for a 28-7 half-time lead on a pair of one-yard dives and another from two yards out.

“I challenged them at halftime to come out and play and do our jobs,” Humphrey said. “The first half we didn’t do that. I told them that there’s nothing they are doing that we didn’t practice for this past week. Let’s just go out there and play, and I think that’s always the challenge with high school kids is to get them to go out there and do what they are taught on the practice field to the game field when the bright lights are on for the game.

“I don’t think we did a good job of that in the first half, and we settled down in the second half and did a much better job,” he said. “The bad part was, by that point, the game was kind of out of reach for us.”

The Panthers’ defense stepped up in the third quarter and limited Paoli to six points on a four-yard run by Paoli’s leading rusher, Trey Rominger (18 carries for 132 yards), with 7:36 showing. The point-after run failed for a 34-7 lead. The final touchdown of the evening came on a 3-yard reception by Sawyer Livingston from Braxton Elliott with 8:11.

Corydon Central’s offense was hampered by a trio of fumbles, including one inside the red zone after a long gain. The other four possessions ended twice on downs and three times on punts.

“We’ve got to do a better job taking care of the football and be better from an offensive standpoint and defensive standpoint,” Humphrey said. “The season is a marathon and not a sprint, and we just need to come back to work Monday and try to get better.”

Martin led all rushers with 139 yards on the ground that included runs of 59, 37 and 21 yards. Hunter Schmitt had 14 yards. Senior quarterback Nolan Adams was 3 of 10 for 33 yards with junior Jalen Fowler accounting for two caches for 25 yards and Martin with one reception for eight yards.

Paoli also got 112 yards rushing from Braxton Elliott, 86 yards on the ground from Livingston and 49 from Little.

The visitors gained 18 first downs to Corydon Central’s seven while being penalized four times for 40 yards compared to two times for 20 yards for the hosts.

Corydon Central hopes to get on track Friday night in Ramsey in the annual county rivalry game against North Harrison, which also is winless on the season after dropping a 42-30 decision to Scottsburg.

It’ll be the first time that the two ball clubs enter the contest winless and with a losing record since 2009 when they were both 0-1. The Cougars have won the last six regular-season meetings in the series.

“It’s a big game for everybody in the county, obviously, but right now we’ve got to take care of ourselves and get better fundamentally,” Humphrey said. “North Harrison is a well-coached team, and it’ll be a great atmosphere up there and, hopefully, we’ll be ready to play.”

Paoli                                                 6   21     6     8 – 42

Corydon Central                            7     0     0     0 – 7

Corydon Central – Anthony Martin, 59, run (Bryce Gerlach kick); Paoli – Carson Little, 10, run (run fail); Paoli – Little, 1, run (Sawyer Livingston run); Paoli – Little, 2, run (Trey Rominger run); Paoli – Little, 1, run (run fail); Paoli – Rominger, 4, run (run fail); Paoli – Livingston, 3, pass from Braxton Elliott (Marcus McGuire run).