SHELBYVILLE — High risk, high reward.
For three quarters of Friday night’s game against the Class 4A No. 7 Shelbyville Golden Bears, the Greenfield-Central Cougars looked like they might gamble their way to an upset.
However, the odds came back to bite the Cougars as they fell 52-31 to drop to 2-3 on the season and 1-2 in Hoosier Heritage Conference play.
The first half was a back and forth affair, with the Cougars employing risky maneuvers on both sides of the ball.
On the first possession of the game, the Cougars drove down the field in just over two minutes. The drive was defined by a diving catch in double coverage by junior receiver Orlando Mojica on fourth down.
On the next play, Michael Sosnowski took an option pitch 24 yards for the touchdown. Mojica would have two more fourth-down catches in the first half, including an 18-yard touchdown early in the second quarter.
On defense the Cougars looked to use their speed to disrupt Shelbyville’s prolific air attack, blitzing on nearly every play with no safeties left deep in coverage. The strategy seemed to work, as the Shelbyville offense was only able to score one touchdown in the half.
However, a kickoff return touchdown by the Golden Bears allowed for the score to remain close at the half, as Nate Brand kicked a field goal to give the Cougars a 19-17 lead.
The riskiness caught up to the Cougars in the third quarter however, as Shelbyville quarterback John Lux and receiver Jalaen Ramsey connected for three touchdowns in the frame. Lux would finish the game with a school-record 481 yards passing and 6 total touchdowns, four passing and two running. Ramsey would finish with 249 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
The Cougars would keep it close behind the heavy lifting of senior running back Michael Sosnowski, who had 144 rushing yards in the third quarter alone (he would finish with 230 yards on 27 carries), to head into the fourth quarter down only seven points.
The Golden Bears would score quickly in the fourth quarter, however, and the Cougars could get no closer the rest of the way as Shelbyville took control of the clock.
The schedule gets no easier for the Cougars, as they travel to 5A No. 2 New Palestine next week for the latest installment in their rivalry for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.