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Corydon wins fight of the 'Big Cats'

September 02, 2009
The Big Cat Classic turned into a Big Cat rout Friday night, as the visiting Corydon Central Panthers struck early and rolled to a 34-0 win over county- and Mid-Southern Conference-rival North Harrison

"We started slow again," Cougar coach Jason Mullis said. "We started the first possession with a turnover after the very first kickoff, and that didn't help. That got them on the board first. The next series, they drove down and did a nice job driving the ball down. They scored."

North Harrison’s Michael Cox, bottom, fails to distract Corydon Central’s Brandon Dunaway late in the first quarter as Dunaway focuses enough to catch this pass for a 14-0 lead. The Panthers went on to win, 34-0. Photo by Wade Bell
The ball got away from North Harrison's Mitch Bolin on the opening kickoff, and Corydon Central recovered on the North Harrison 35-yard-line. Eight plays later, Lucas Windell was in the end zone and the Panthers had a 6-0 lead.

North Harrison had the ball for only five plays before giving it up on downs.

For 15 plays, Corydon Central moved the ball down field. On fourth and goal, quarterback Dylan Harl threw to Brandon Dunaway in the end zone. North Harrison's Michael Cox tried to deflect the ball, which bounced several times off both players' finger tips, but Dunaway pulled it in for a touchdown. Harl then threw to Garett Ross for the two-point conversion, and the Panthers had a 14-0 lead.

"That's a pretty critical play because we had got down and foiled a drive," Corydon Central coach Darin Ward said. "The main thing is, we've got to continue to execute and not put ourselves at fourth-and-eight to have to throw. But when you've got some athletes like Garett Ross and Dunaway that can go up and catch the ball, and we can put a ball on them, it's a nice little weapon to have."

The North Harrison defense had a better second quarter and kept the Panthers from putting any more points on the board.

At the beginning of the third quarter, however, Harl threw to Dunaway again, this time for 62 yards, for another touchdown and a 21-0 lead.

"We got a nice offensive series going, and I thought maybe we had a chance to go in (at halftime) at 14-7, and it didn't come together the way we hoped," Mullis said. "It was a game of missed opportunities. The bottom line is, they beat us. They just lined up and beat us."

"A lot of times it's about being patient," Ward said. "Those outside backs were knifing all night and making plays in the backfield. You let them feel good about themselves doing that, but eventually you step up and make an adjustment and go for 60-something on a bubble. We threw the ball behind the line of scrimmage and beat that guy at one-on-one, made a block and accelerated down the sidelines. That definitely was a designed play."

Windell scored again late in the third quarter on a five-yard run.

The final touchdown came with 7:59 to go in the game when Seth Rennirt ran 33 yards to make it 34-0.

"We had a little crack in the foundation with some kids pointing fingers and stuff like that, and as soon as they started doing that, things started really going downhill," Mullis said. "We're a young group. We've got to get better. We've got to find a way to generate some points.

"Moving the ball down the field does not help. We've got to start putting it into the end zone, and defensively we've got to start taking advantage. When it's a third down situation, we've got to get them off the field. You can't be jumping offsides, giving people first downs. We can't do stuff like that, a lot of stupid mistakes."

"We were patient with it in the first half," Ward said. "They made a couple of adjustments in the second half, ran the ball weak a little bit with a little cross-hook action and started sagging off the bubble. We knew that stuff would be there all the time. We wanted to run the football and take control of the game that way."

North Harrison finished with just 156 offensive yards. The Cougars carried the ball 30 times for 100 yards and completed just 4 of 14 pass attempts for 56 yards.

"It was mainly a line of scrimmage battle, and they won it," Mullis said. "That's the story of this game. They won the field position battle. They won the line of scrimmage battle. Anytime you lose the field position battle and the line of scrimmage battle, you're not going to win too many games."

Corydon Central finished with 377 yards of offense, including 254 yards on 43 carries, with Rennirt running for 145 yards. In the air, Corydon was 7 of 13 for 123 yards, with Dunaway catching five passes for 111 yards. The Panthers had 14 first downs to North Harrison's nine.

"We've got six seniors," Mullis said. "When you're talking that young of a group, there's going to be mental mistakes. We've just got to get better. We've just got to keep working at it and keep practicing hard and get better every week."

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