NEW PALESTINE — He had more shots directed his way than a celebrity at a Comedy Central Roast, but Brandyn Burkhart never panicked.
Even when Mouhamed Konate — Hancock County’s all-time leading goal scorer — got a kick past Burkhart less than nine minutes into Saturday’s boys soccer sectional championship to give No. 17-ranked Mt. Vernon a 1-0 lead, the Greenfield-Central goalkeeper and his unranked teammates didn’t wilt.
They just became more determined.
The Cougars outlasted Mt. Vernon for a 2-1 victory to claim the program’s second sectional title in three years. Enrique Ferrara equaled the match for the Cougars with 14 minutes remaining in the first half and neither team scored again through regulation and overtime. The Cougars won sudden death penalty kicks 14-13 — the longest penalty kick shootout anyone on hand Saturday afternoon could recall having ever witnessed.
“The PKs, I don’t even know what to say about that,” G-C coach Jared Manning commented. “It was the craziest thing in soccer that I’ve been a part of. It’s a shame that somebody has to lose that, but fortunately for us we came out on top.
“We were kind of holding on, holding on, holding on. There were times where we possessed the ball and we looked real good, but then there was a lot of the time where we were just struggling. That is the respect that we have for what Mt. Vernon does. They are a tough team, a tough club. And we were pretty fortunate to pull one back and tie it 1-1.”