Patriots make it look easy in 49-0 blowoutOctober 26, 2019
By ZANE CLODFELTER
Special to The Herald
CORYDON — As No. 2 Heritage Hills arrived for its Class 3A football sectional opener Friday, the groundskeeper was putting the finishing paint touches on the field.
But before the paint could dry, the Patriots were already rolling en route to beating host Corydon Central 49-0 behind a dominant rushing attack that accounted for 238 yards.
“Defense played great, obviously, shutting them down,” Patriots coach Todd Wilkerson said. “They gave us plenty of opportunities to get going, and I thought we threw the ball well.
“I like it when we throw the ball well, it compliments our run game.”
It was Heritage Hills’ first victory over Corydon Central after the Panthers beat the Patriots in the first meeting between the two schools 13-12 in the 2011 sectional title game.
The rematch was never close.
Jacob Wetzel’s nine-yard touchdown run with 1:43 left in the first quarter gave Heritage Hills a 7-0 lead after Ethan Hill’s extra point.
Wetzel found the end zone again with 8:34 remaining in the second stanza on a 39-yard run, which put the Patriots up 14-0.
From there, Heritage Hills had the game in control.
On the Panthers’ next drive, Kaden Feldpausch intercepted Corydon’s Nolan Adams, which set up a Cole Sigler 21-yard touchdown pass to Wetzel.
Sigler then got into the defensive act on the Panthers’ ensuing offensive series. He intercepted Adams, which started a five-play drive capped by a 25-yard touchdown pass from Sigler to Feldpausch to make the score 28-0 with 2:07 left in the half.
The Patriots weren’t quite done scoring. After stopping Corydon Central three times and subsequently calling three timeouts, Sigler returned Chandler Money’s punt 33 yards for a touchdown to give Heritage Hills a 35-0 edge going into halftime.
After the break, Heritage Hills picked up where it left off when Gavin Vaal returned the half’s opening kickoff 88 yards for another touchdown.
“We work really hard on special teams, and pride ourselves on that,” Wilkerson said. “Good things happen when you catch a kick or punt in the air and not let it bounce.”
Phoenix Rodgers scored the Patriots’ final touchdown with 4:10 left in the third on a one-yard run after Vaal nearly found the end zone on a 42-yard scamper.
Sigler finished with 78 passing yards, going 4 for 5 with two touchdowns.
“Everyday in practice, working on that stuff and getting better everyday,” Sigler said. “We had a little slow start, but in the playoffs, you play teams you normally don’t play, so it was a good first win.”
Wetzel carried the ball eight times for 78 yards and two scores, and he also had 53 receiving yards on three receptions with a score.
For Corydon Central, Money ran the ball 20 times for 21 yards.
As a team, the Patriots allowed only 74 total yards defensively, and forced three Panther turnovers.
“Turnovers were big for us,” Sigler said. “We had some nice interceptions, and it got us into good field position.”
The Panthers’ season ends at 2-8, while 10-0 Heritage Hills will play at 8-2 Gibson Southern in the semifinal Friday after the Titans beat Salem 49-28.
It’s the second consecutive year the Patriots will play the Titans in the semifinal. Last season, Gibson Southern won — the only loss for Heritage Hills in its last 22 games.
“There are a lot of seniors on this team,” Sigler said. “We’re pretty experienced and we know what to expect, and we just have to keep ramping up the intensity, because the playoffs are a different animal.”
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The Pats remain unbeaten in conference play with Saturday's win over the Braves.