Courier-Journal Southern Indiana Football Player of the Year is dynamic presence for Corydon
A year ago, Austin Kopp made his mark as one of the top running backs in Southern Indiana.
Kopp, who rambled for 2,087 yards and 31 touchdowns, said he knows he needs more of the same if Corydon has hopes of bettering last season’s 6-5 ledger.
“I know that’s my role on the team,” said Kopp, who in June was named The Courier-Journal Southern Indiana Football Player of the Year. “And, I just have pick it up and get the job done.”
Kopp isn’t one of the largest running backs in the state but he has packed power into his 5-foot-9, 185-pound frame.
“He’s thick,” Corydon’s second-year coach Andrew Smith said. “We’re not going to complain about his size.”
Smith has plenty of accolades to flood on Kopp.
“He’s very talented,” Smith said of Kopp. “He’s the most talented player I’ve ever had the privilege to coach, as an assistant or anything. He has everything you want in a running back. He’s fast. He’s strong. And, he can do all those things in one play.”
For his senior season, Kopp said he’s faster and stronger.
“We’ve been in the weight room as a team a lot,” Kopp said. “By myself, I do a lot of running and power drills to get faster.”
Smith said he’s not sure where he’ll play but he believes Kopp will play college football.
“He’ll get opportunities at the next level,” the Corydon coach said.
Even with the dynamic Kopp in the backfield, Smith said they’ll still throw the ball to keep the defense honest.
“People know that (he’s our main threat),” Smith said. “I’m not going to say we’ll lean on him 100 percent because some other guys have to step up. He’s going to get tired and they’ll set out to stop him.”
At quarterback, the Panthers have a dependable athlete in Alex Saulman, who played wide receiver last year and starred on the Corydon baseball team.
“He’s got a strong arm,” Smith said of Saulman. “He’s a baseball guy and he’ll probably play that sport in college.”
Kopp said he has confidence in Saulman.
“He makes good decisions,” Kopp said. “He’s an athlete so he’ll do well this year.”
When he does throw the ball, Saulman has capable receivers in senior Jacob Johnson and junior Ben Johnson.
“I’m not afraid to throw,” Smith said of putting the ball in the air. “We just want to be smart about it. We’ll take what the defense gives us. I think we throw the ball pretty well.”
On defense, the leader should be linebacker Jacob Johnson, who tallied a team-high 117 tackles a year ago.
The Panthers will get tested early with three road tests to start the season Southridge, North Harrison and Silver Creek.
“We open up with a tough stretch,” Smith said.
Smith said the Panthers will try to crack the top of the Mid-Southern Conference and the co-favorites, Brownstown and Charlestown.
“There really isn’t an easy week,” Smith said. “There’s a lot of good coaches in our conference.”
Corydon at a glance
Coach: Andrew Smith (6-5 in second year)
Last season: 6-5 (lost to Southridge 44-12 in second round of Class 3-A sectional playoffs)
Player Pos Ht Wt Cl
Austin Kopp RB 5-9 185 Sr.
Alex Saulman QB 6-0 210 Sr.
Wade Thomas LB 5-9 190 Sr.
Jacob Johnson TE 5-11 185 Sr.
Ben Johnson WR 5-8 175 Jr.
Aug. 19 at Southridge 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 26 at *North Harrison 7 p.m.
Sept. 2 at *Silver Creek 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 *Clarksville 7 p.m.
Sept. 16 * Eastern Pekin 7 p.m.
Spet. 23 at Paoli 7 p.m.
Sept. 30 *Charlestown 7 p.m.
Oct. 7 at *Salem 7 p.m.
Oct. 14 * Brownstown 7 p.m.
*Mid-Southern Conference game