SHELBYVILLE — The Greenfield-Central football team extended “nine minutes of hell” into a world of hurt for Shelbyville on Friday night.
In the process, the visiting Cougars took possession of the Hoosier Heritage Conference’s traveling helmet trophy for what is believed to be the first time in program history.
G-C dominated Shelbyville 42-27, leading by as much as 42-14 late in the third quarter.
Derek Conley threw for two touchdowns, ran for another and returned a kickoff for a fourth score to help the Cougars (2-3, 1-2 HHC) reverse what had been an ugly three-game slide.
Conley, G-C’s senior quarterback, said the turnaround actually started last Saturday near the end of a 31-14 loss to Yorktown at Lucas Oil Stadium when the Cougars registered two late touchdowns to avoid a shutout.
“Coach said to give ’em nine minutes of hell (against Yorktown), and we did — and we did it for 42 minutes tonight,” Conley said. “We just had a great week of practice.
“We were on a losing streak and wanted to get that bad taste out of our mouths.”
The Cougars were clearly geared up to face Shelbyville (2-3, 2-1 HHC), which was fresh off a HHC helmet-grabbing win over Pendleton Heights in last Saturday’s first game at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Controlling all three phases of the game, G-C raced to a 21-0 lead and was seriously challenged only once, as Shelbyville answered with back-to-back scores to make it a 21-14 game with 34 seconds left in the second half.
That’s when Conley returned a kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown with 19 seconds left in the quarter to give the Cougars a 28-14 halftime cushion. G-C opened the third quarter with two straight touchdowns and the game was essentially over.
Conley’s kick return was his second return TD of the night, but a 96-yard punt return earlier in the second quarter was erased by a penalty. G-C’s special teams unit, which was a key factor for the squad in back-to-back winning seasons heading into this fall, also scooped up a loose ball on a Shelbyville botched punt attempt.
On defense, Wyatt Evans and Josh McDonald each had an interception off Shelbyville quarterback Jeremy Laker; Evans and Chas Danel recovered fumbles; and Tyler Beeson and Brant Boles-Lattimore were among the Cougars to record sacks.
“Our defense looked great,” Conley, who is also a defensive back, said of a unit that had been struck for 113 points the previous three weeks. “We were smashing them in the mouth instead of them smashing us in the mouth.”
Boles-Lattimore, a junior splitback, shined on the other side of the ball as well, with 127 yards rushing and two touchdowns on just seven touches, including a 90-yard endzone dash that capped G-C’s 21-0 start.
Conley finished with 63 yards rushing on 17 carries and 29 yards passing on two completions — touchdowns to Alec Parsley (nine yards) and Austin Felts (20 yards).
Senior tailback Joe Hoskins helped the Cougars control the clock with 66 yards on 16 carries.
Overall, it was a complete team effort that resulted from a productive build-up.
“We came in and got to work, just like we do every week,” G-C coach Roger Dodson said. “We got off to a good start tonight, that was big. We came out and moved the ball and put some points on the board and made some big plays.
“It’s a game of momentum and we got it on our side tonight.”
After the victory, Conley presented Dodson with the conference traveling trophy — an old-school leather helmet in a clear case — that is up for grabs in the regular season (and separate from the conference championship).
New Palestine entered 2012 with the helmet, but lost it to Pendleton Heights in Week 3. The Arabians had control of the trophy for only a week before getting upended by Shelbyville.
Earlier this week, when the opportunity of taking the helmet from Shelbyville was apparent, Greenfield-Central administrators believed that the Cougars last earned the traveling bragging rights in 2002. But, after further discussion Friday night amongst school officials and coaches, it’s now thought that the Cougars have never had control of the HHC headgear.
Whatever the case, it’s been a long time coming for the Cougars, who will try to hold onto it in Week 6 when they host Rushville (1-4, 0-3 HHC).
Through four years with the Cougars, Conley has seen programs such as New Palestine, Delta and Pendleton Heights rest the traveling trophy on the opposing sideline.
For now, it belongs at G-C.
“It’s a big accomplishment,” Conley said. “That’s what we based our week on in practice, to get the helmet.
“Let’s hope it stays with us all year.”
Greenfied-Central 42, Shelbyville 27
GC (2-3, 1-2 HHC) 14 14 14 0 — 42
SH (2-3, 2-1 HHC) 0 14 6 7 — 27
GC — Conley, 17-yard run (Daniel kick), 7:54.
GC — Felts, 20-yard pass from Conley (Daniel kick), 3:40.
GC — Boles-Lattimore, 90-yard run (Daniels kick), 11:29.
SH — Laker, 65-yard run (Booth kick), 4:12.
SH — Laker, 6-yard run (Booth kick), :34.
GC — Conley, 85-yard kickoff return (Daniel kick), :19.
GC — Boles-Lattimore, 12-yard run (Daniel kick), 7:49.
GC — Parsley, 9-yard pass from Conley (Daniel kick), 4:45.
SH — Laker, 7-yard run (kick failed), 4:26.
SH — B. Orem, 45-yard fumble recovery (Booth kick), 2:16.
First downs 13 9
Rushes-yards 56-317 31-234
Passing yards 29 87
Comp-Att-Int 2-6-1 6-15-2
Fumbles-Lost 5-1 2-2
Penalties-Yards 7-70 8-69
Rushing: Conley 17-63, Boles-Lattimore 7-127, McDonald 6-28, Hoskins 18-66, Baggott 3-(-1), Beeson 1-7, Gellert 1-8, Warron 1-3, Nuckols 2-16 (GC); Seaborn 3-47, Laker 17-190, Price 5-4, Uhls 4-15, Speece 1-(-5), Booth 1-(17) (SH).
Passing: Conley 2-6-29, Baggott 0-0-0 (GC); Laker 6-15-87 (SH).
Receiving: Parsley 1-9, Felts 1-20 (GC); Miller 1-11, M. Orem 5-76 (SH).