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By LARRY GOFFINET
LEOPOLD—Corydon put together an 85-yard touchdown drive in the last 10 minutes to edge Perry Central 8-7 in season-opening football Friday.
Perry Central played strong defense throughout. But eight fumbles—three of which it lost—and an interception hamstrung its offense.
Corydon fumbled five times and had two passes intercepted in the defensive battle.
But the Panthers lost only one fumble. And most of the others came after they had gained ground (most of Perry Central’s came right after the center snap), so they enjoyed better field position most of the game.
That field position led to their first score, a safety with 1:30 left in the third quarter.
Perry Central’s Dacota Schaad intercepted a Panther pass at his own 7-yard line in the closing minutes of the third quarter.
But a false-start penalty moved the Commodores back 31⁄2 yards and a fumbled snap moved them back to the 1.
On the next play Austin LeClere was tackled in his own end zone for a safety.
Perry Central still led 7-2 thanks to LeClere’s 42-yard touchdown run and extra-point kick with 5:33 left in the third quarter.
But the safety meant the Panthers would need to scored only one touchdown to take the lead.
Which they did with 3:35 left in the game when quarterback Buck Lannis broke through the middle for an 11-yard touchdown run.
“I’ll have to watch that on tape to see what happened because we should have had guys in the A-gap and (line)backers covering the B-gap,” said Gibson.
Perry Central had two short possessions after that, but both ended with fumbles.
Gibson said having new starters at center and quarterback contributed to some of the fumbles. He also said a pulling guard’s being out of position contributed to one or two fumbles.
Still “I thought our offensive line for the most part did a good job,” said Gibson. “We made some mistakes, but there was a big improvement from Southridge (in a preseason scrimmage (a week earlier).”
LeClere led Perry Central rushers with 130 yards on 15 carries. Fullback Nathan Shaw added 52 yards on 24 carries.
Alex McAfee, a quick senior with shifty moves, led Corydon with 108 yards on 23 carries.
All the other Panthers combined were held to 85 yards on 24 carries.
“Their first drive we gave up some things because we were lined up wrong,” said Gibson. “But after that it was lights out. It was probably the best defensive game we’ve played in about three years.”
Besides Schaad, Jacob Braun intercepted a pass for the Commodores. Ethan Emmons recovered a Corydon fumble.
Perry Central will visit Forest Park Friday at 7 p.m.