Bulldogs take down Panthers on gridiron
Brandon Miniard, Sports Writer, [email protected]
The last time the Corydon Central football team set foot on Enlow Field in Evansville, Darin Ward’s Panthers continued a historic 2011 campaign as they defeated Evansville Memorial in an overtime slugfest in the Indiana High School Athletic Association regional, advancing to semi-state against top-ranked Indianapolis Bishop Chatard in the process.
A decade later, current skipper Aaron Humphrey led his Panthers into Evansville for the first round of the IHSAA Sectional 32 as they confronted Evansville Bosse. After battling injuries throughout the season, the winless, short-handed Panthers hoped to pull off their first victory of the year over a Bulldogs’ team that hasn’t won a game since Aug. 27, when they defeated Evansville Central 36-34 in Week 2 for their second win of the year.
Instead of victory No. 1, the Panthers were on the receiving end of the Bulldogs breaking their seven-game losing streak courtesy of a 60-10 win.
It didn’t take the Bulldogs long after receiving the opening kick to take the lead. In fact, they needed only one play and 11 seconds into the contest to score courtesy of a Jaiden Thomas 65-yard rushing touchdown. After both squads fumbled the ball and Panthers’ senior quarterback Nolan Adams threw an interception, Thomas needed only a minute and a half to strike again on a 44-yard rushing score.
Despite already leading 16-0, the Bulldogs kept the offense going in the opening frame when Thomas recorded his third touchdown of the period on a 30-yard score. The Bulldogs scored two more touchdowns in the period, starting when Joseph McElroy recovered a fumble before traveling 35 yards into the end zone. The first-quarter assault ended with about 3-1/2 minutes to go in the period when David Hildreth took a Panthers’ punt 65 yards for the Bulldogs’ fifth score of the contest.
When the period finally came to an end, the Bulldogs had a 40-0 lead.
After leading the way for three of the Bulldogs’ five two-point conversions in the first quarter, quarterback Breylin Behme took to the air for a pair of passing touchdowns. The first came almost a third of the way through the period when he found Amari Hope for a 21-yard pass. With less than two minutes to go in the first half, Behme fired a pass to McElroy to complete a 26-yard passing score. After converting on the two-point conversion for the sixth time in the last seven attempts, the Bulldogs retreated to the locker room with a 54-0 advantage.
Not desiring to be shut out for the fourth time this season, the Panthers kept the Bulldogs’ offense at bay for the entire third quarter. With 19 seconds remaining in the period, Panthers’ freshman kicker Bryce Gerlach lined up his shot before firing a 29-yard field goal between the uprights to get the Panthers on the board, for a 54-3 score.
After that, the Bulldogs made it to 60 points courtesy of a Behme 19-yard touchdown pass to Adrian Jackson.
With just more than 2-1/2 minutes remaining, Adams scored the final touchdown of his high school career with an eight-yard rushing score. Gerlach’s PAT brought the score to its final of 60-10.
The Panthers were almost completely stifled on the offensive end, recording just 98 yards of total offense; 74 of those came courtesy of the throwing arm of Adams, who went 5 for 15. Adams was also the only Panther to record a positive number of yards on the ground, scoring the Panthers’ only touchdown while recording 41 rushing yards on nine carries. Senior tight end Michael Basham received 65 of Adams’ 74 passing yards.
With the loss, the Panthers go winless in a season for the first time since 2000. Much of the season’s struggles could be attributed to the long list of injuries the Panthers’ have suffered since the season opener at Brownstown Central.
The loss also means the careers of a dozen Panthers’ seniors — Adams, Basham, wide receivers Bruce Beard, Owen Shireman and Jacob Deardorff, running back Jaxon Wright and linemen Kalob Herthel, Wesley Wolfe, Bryce Gentry, Dakota Jones, Austen Ayres and Dylan Welch — have come to an end.