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Panthers upend Cougars, 48-16


September 01, 2010
It was a night of Panther domination Friday as Corydon Central ran away with a 48-16 win over visiting North Harrison in the Big Cat Classic. The game was filled with big play after big play for the Panthers while the Cougars never really got any momentum going.

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Both North Harrison’s Matt Bruderle, above, and the rest of the Cougars were upended Friday night as the host Corydon Central Panthers kept the Big Cat Classic trophy with a 48-16 win. Photo by Wade Bell
"They were better up front than we were tonight," North Harrison coach Jason Mullis said. "We couldn't run inside. We definitely can't go outside. We knew that coming into the game. We couldn't get outside on this squad. We watched Perry Central (Corydon Central's opponent the previous week), and they couldn't get outside."

"If you had asked me pre-season through the summer, I felt like we could have been 1-1 or 1-2 after week three," Corydon Central coach Darin Ward said. "We play two good teams in the first three weeks, and you just don't know how things will be. It's not a cushion, and it's not a buffer zone."

Corydon Central's first big play came early in the opening period. North Harrison's front line kept the Panthers slowed down, and quarterback Chase Burton came up short of a first down on a pass to Brandon Dunaway, leaving Corydon Central with a fourth-and-three. Brandon Dunaway then faked a punt and ran for four yards for first-and-10. Three plays later, Seth Rennirt ran into the end zone from 27 yards to give the Panthers a 7-0 lead.

"We were hoping to do a little bit better, and I thought we came out all right defensively," Mullis said. "We slowed them down. Dunaway ran that extra and kept that drive alive. To start it off, we didn't have big plays, and they started making big plays and our kids weren't doing their jobs."

The Panthers scored three times in the second period. Lucas Windell ran in from 19 yards for the first score. North Harrison then had to give the ball up on its next possession, and, three plays later, Rennirt scored again, this time from 37 yards. With 4:46 to go, Jeremiah Windell ran 45 yards for a touchdown as Corydon Central took a 28-0 lead.

North Harrison had no return on the next kick, to begin its next drive on its own 28-yard line. On the fifth play of the drive, Matt Bruderle had a big run for 56 yards down to the 3-yard line and a first down. The Cougars used all four of their downs to try to get in the end zone, but the Panther defense kept North Harrison from scoring. Burton then took a Panther knee with 20 seconds left, and Corydon Central took its 28-0 lead to the locker room at halftime.

"It was big there right at the half," Ward said. "If they punched that in and get the ball the second half, they could potentially get a little momentum. But it's a pride thing, too, when your kids are playing well. We don't want them to give up anything."

"I wanted to take it in there and maybe get some momentum going into the second half," Mullis said. "We had the ball coming out and maybe get another one up. When you're down there six feet away from the goal line, you've got to be able to pound it in, especially with our offense that we run and a big old back like we've got. We couldn't do it. We couldn't move them."

Things got worse for the Cougars at the start of the second half, when North Harrison fumbled the ball on the kick-off return, with the Panthers diving on the ball. Five plays later, the Panthers scored again as Burton threw to Ross for 10 yards and, following the extra-point kick, a 35-0 lead. Corydon Central got two more scores in the period, with Rennirt scoring on a 17-yard run and Jeffrey Durham throwing to Ross for 32 yards, to take a 48-0 lead into the fourth quarter.

The Cougars did get on the board in the fourth. Mitch Bolin scored on a 1-yard run with 7:26 left. With 2:23 left, the Cougar defense forced a Corydon Central safety for two points. The Cougars got their final touchdown with 16 seconds left, when Jason Parker scored on a 3-yard run, leaving a final score of 48-16.

"They're a sound football team, offensively, defensively," Mullis said of the Panthers. "If you slow them down on one play, then they've got something else they can go to. Unfortunately, we're not there yet."

North Harrison tallied 287 yards of offense, including 275 rushing yards on 48 carries and 12 yards on 2-of-3 passing. The Cougars had 12 first downs but lost both of their fumbles. Bruderle had 140 yards for the game.

"Valley (Bruderle) runs hard every time," Mullis said. "We just couldn't get anything rolling. They had good defense up front. We just couldn't get anything going."

Corydon Central finished with 337 yards of offense. The Panthers carried the ball 38 times for 251 yards and completed 6 of 9 passes for 86 yards. Corydon Central lost one fumble and had 11 first downs.

"We've just got to keep getting better," Mullis said. "It's a long season, and I've told a lot of people and our boys that our first two games might be our toughest games. It don't get any easier next week with Salem. Our schedule starts off very strong."

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