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Two Perry Central opponents semistate bound this weekend

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By Larry Goffinet

Perry Central’s football team finished with a 5-5 record this year, which nearly everyone connected with the team called a disappointment.
That tied the Commodores’ worst record in the last 17 years (the 1998 team also went 5-5).
But it would have been considered great 30 years ago, when the Commodores completed back-to-back winless seasons.
One of the reasons the Commodores’ record wasn’t quite as good as they had hoped this year, though, was they played a really strong schedule.
Corydon, once an easy opening game, is headed for the Class 3A semistate. The 11-2 Panthers have knocked off perennial powers Heritage Hills and Evansville Memorial in the tourney and will host 11-2 Bishop Chatard of Indianapolis Friday at 6 p.m. Perry County time.
Linton-Stockton, which was ranked No. 3 in the state in the final Class A coaches poll and beat the Commodores in the first round of the sectional, should be favored to beat 10-3 Indianapolis Scecina in their semistate game at Indianapolis Friday at 6:30 p.m.
The 13-0 Miners’ undefeated streak will probably end in the state championship game, though. There they will likely face Lafayette Central Catholic, which was a unanimous No. 1 in the final coaches poll.
The 13-0 Knights have a 42-game winning streak and have won the last two state titles. They probably have their strongest team this year since the 1999 squad that beat Perry Central 59-7 in the state championship game.
Paoli, another team to beat the Commodores this year, lost a close game to Triton Central in the Class 2A sectional championship game.
Mater Dei, which beat Triton Central in the regional, is 12-1 and favored to beat Guerin Catholic in the semistate Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Reitz Bowl.
Forest Park, another team to beat Perry Central this year, had a strong squad and might have gone further in the tourney if star receiver Ben Braunecker, the PAC’s Most Valuable Player, had not suffered a late-season injury.
As for Springs Valley, Perry Central simply didn’t play well in its loss to the Blackhawks. That happens to every team at every level occasionally.
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Some people think I have been sports editor of the News forever, and it has been 33 years.
Heritage Hills has had the same football coach in that entire time, though, until Bob Clayton announced his retirement a week ago.
A lot of rumors have been circulating about who will replace him. One is that Corydon’s Darin Ward will be his successor. Another part of that rumor has Perry Central Coach Mike Spencer going to Corydon to replace Ward.
Because Ward is a Boonville graduate and a former Jasper assistant, he has obviously watched Heritage Hills’ program closely through the years and knows that is a great position. And some might think Spencer would be interested in the Corydon job because his grandson, Nathan Schmitt, will be a sophomore for the Panthers next year.
But both moves are highly unlikely. Ward’s wife has an excellent job at a hospital in Louisville, Ky., which is a short commute from Corydon but a really long one from Heritage Hills. And though Corydon has 10 senior players, including many of its top athletes, the Panthers had strong seventh and eighth grade teams this year so Ward should be able to keep a strong program going there.
Even if Ward does move, when I asked Spencer last Thursday about the Corydon rumor, he said, “If I was going to take that job I would have taken it the last time it was open when I knew they had this group of (senior) athletes coming up.”
Instead Spencer recommended Ward for the job.