By KRIS MILLS – firstname.lastname@example.org
With the Hoosier Heritage Conference title on the line, Monday’s battle between Shelbyville and Greenfield-Central felt exactly like a sectional match. The fans and student sections were loud. The players were laser focused. The result was a 1-0 contest. Unfortunately, the Golden Bears found themselves on the wrong end of the score despite giving the Cougars all they had for 80 minutes of action.
Greenfield-Central used a score from outside the box in the first half to take a lead it would never surrender en route to its 10th win this season. G-C is 4-0 in HHC play and has lost just one game this season.
Shelbyville, however, still has a shot to earn a share of the conference crown. The Golden Bears are 5-1 in conference play and will wait and see what happens with G-C, which still has games against Yorktown, Mt. Vernon and New Castle. SHS (8-4-2) wraps up its conference season on Oct. 1 against Pendleton Heights (3-1). All the other HHC schools have at least two losses.
“Our effort (Monday) was phenomenal, Greenfield is a legitimate top-15 team in the state,” said SHS head coach Ben Purvis. “We were toe-to-toe with them. Our guys were ready to go.”
Purvis made a change in the lineup Monday in anticipation of Greenfield-Central’s strong offensive attack. G-C senior Zack Bell, who has 22 goals this season, is a threat to score anytime he touches the ball.
“We made changes to make sure we were settled early in the game,” Purvis said. “I moved Evan Witte to center back. He plays there for his club team, which is a top team in the state. I thought we needed composure there. I had Carson Blair matched up with Zack Bell. He did a great job on him. But I needed to move Evan back up to the middle (after down 1-0), because I needed him to get control there.
“Their goal, that was one of the best shots I have seen all season. The kid made a heck of a shot. We have still only given up two goals in conference play this season.”
G-C sophomore John Halvorsen, who entered the game with no goals, was credited with the goal Monday in the 22nd minute. Cougars’ senior Tyler Murphy assisted on the play after making a run down the right side of the field.
SHS junior keeper Kaleb Schaf did his part in the win despite allowing a goal. He was physical with his play and helped the SHS defense keep a lethal Cougars offense from going wild. G-C entered the game with 49 goals.
On senior night, Purvis left the field with a sense of pride. He has been there from the beginning with the veterans on the team. He said one characteristic of the group is their ability to “dig in and fight.”
“During pregame and at halftime, I talked to all the guys about how proud I am of them,” Purvis said. “My first year coaching was coaching this senior class in sixth grade. These kids stuck with it. I couldn’t be more proud to be there coach.”
With the win, the Cougars took possession of the HHC Traveling Trophy (bell). The Golden Bears won the bell against Delta earlier this season.
Prior to Monday’s loss, Shelbyville was on a six-game win streak after starting the season with two losses and two ties.
Senior Cory Taylor leads SHS with 10 goals this season. He also has four assists. Junior Oscar Hernandez and senior Nolan Parker both have six goals. Hernandez also has six assists.
Kris Mills is the Sports editor of The Shelbyville News. Follow Kris on Twitter @KrisMills37.