Head coach: Jared Manning, 8th season.
2012: 8-7. Lost in sectional semifinal to Mt. Vernon
Jose Rodriguez /11/D
Enrique Ferrara/10/ F/M
Outlook: Of the three Hancock County teams, no squad was hit harder by graduation than Greenfield-Central.
The Cougars will be without 11 members of the 2012 class, four of whom — Trent Barnhart, Caleb Dunn, Joe Hudson and Angel Rodriguez — were all-county honorees last fall. Hudson was also an all-county selection in 2011.
The key components of G-C’s Hoosier Heritage Conference and sectional champion 2011 group are out of eligibility, with current senior Conner Shaw the lone player to record points (three assists) for a group that became known as the Cardiac Cougars because of its knack for the dramatic. Fourteen of Greenfield-Central’s 20 games in 2011 ended in regulation decided by one goal or less.
The 2012 team finished 8-7 overall, 5-2 in HHC play, and 0-3 vs. Mt. Vernon and New Palestine — a 180-degree flip of its 3-0 mark in 2011.
“It’s kind of a new feel. They’re hungry, which is a good thing. It’s kind of new you might say,” G-C coach Jared Manning said. “At the same time, they were around. They knew what it meant, how it felt to be in the program when we (won HHC and sectional).”
The good news for Manning & Co. is the blue and gold return two of its top four scorers in Shaw (five goals) and rising sophomore Enrique Ferrara (12 goals), the latter of which tied NP’s Bryson Basaran for the second-highest goal sum in the county.
Also, the Cougars feature a strong fourth-year core, with Shaw, Jacob Addington, Matthew Capen, Will Colson, Jacob Davis, Heath Donley and Logan Strong among the players cited by Manning.
“I’ve been pretty pleased with our older guys and the work at practice, even with the losses we have,” offered Manning, who said senior Brandyn Burkhart replaces the graduated Jared Potter as the starting goal keeper. “I think some guys are stepping up and filling some roles for us.”
Greenfield-Central begins its season Tuesday opposite visiting New Castle.