SHELBYVILLE — Following a 14-day quarantine to open the season, and the cancellation of their first two scheduled games, the Greenfield-Central Cougars (1-2) found themselves behind all of their peers.
On Friday night, it seemed as though the Cougars were finally caught up.
After dropping their first two games of the year following the quarantine, the Cougars took advantage of playing the Shelbyville Golden Bears (0-5) on Friday night.
While gaining reps on offense and strengthening their weaknesses, the Cougars pulled off a 51-0 win at McKeand Field.
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“Simply put, we have been behind the eight ball this season after the quarantine,” Cougars head coach Travis Nolting said. “Between missing that time and then also missing summer and spring practices, we fell really behind.
“The nature of our offense, being an option offense, we need thousands of reps to really get better. Tonight, it felt like we found some of the things we might not have had before. I’m proud of our guys for playing hard and sticking with it after everything.”
Jumping ahead early, the Cougars were able to earn more reps without the pressure of a win.
Cougars senior quarterback Lance McKee guided the way early on with three first-quarter touchdown runs.
McKee guided his offense down the field on an 11-play drive to open the game. The drive culminated in a 1-yard touchdown run.
After a recovered onside kick, McKee found himself back in the end zone two plays later on a 38-yard run.
Once more, McKee was in the end zone on a 2-yard run in the final two minutes of the quarter.
“McKee is just a great student and athlete,” Nolting said. “In the classroom he has a 4.0, on the field he runs a 4.6. He is the perfect guy to be leading this team.”
While McKee and the Cougars offense handled control of possession and scored at ease, the Cougars defense did their job.
Running just five plays, the Golden Bears gained just seven yards in the first quarter. The Cougars had 177 yards, 141 of which came on the ground.
The second quarter provided much of the same for both teams.
While the Golden Bears were able to play more snaps on offense in the second quarter, they were left with negative net yardage.
Up three scores, the Cougars switched to a power run plan. Running backs Andrew Zellers and Brayden Harrell each scored in the second quarter to push the Cougars lead to 37 points.
Due to the IHSAA Mercy Rule, the game switched to a running clock for the entirety of the second half.
In the third quarter, the Cougars ran just one offensive play, yet scored twice due to their special teams pressure.
After allowing the Golden Bears to move the chains for the first time in the game, the Cougars forced a punt. The punt was blocked and returned to the end zone by junior Spencer Johnson.
In the final minute of the quarter, the Cougars forced another punt. Again the punt was blocked, falling inside the Cougars red zone.
Joey Roland punch the ball in with just one run.
In the fourth quarter the teams were able to run the clock out without serious injury to either side, which was key for the Cougars as they head into one of their toughest matchups of the season at New Palestine.
Immediately after Friday night’s win, Nolting used the energy flowing from the win to begin preparing for the game with the rival Dragons.
“We got to view this as any other game,” Nolting said. “Those guys aren’t super men. We’ll prepare to go in and have the mystique of playing New Pal already defeated, then do our work on the field. They are a well coached team and they have a storied tradition there that they will be defending. We are building something here though so our kids will have the mentality that we too can go on the field and win every time.”
[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”Scoreline” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]
Greenfield-Central 51, Shelbyville 0
GC (1-2, 1-2 HHC);22;15;14;0;-;51
S (0-5, 0-3 HHC);0;0;0;0;-;0
GC – Lance McKee 1 yd run (Brayden Harrell 2 pt good), 6:19
GC – McKee 38 yd run (Brodie Mayberry 2 pt good), 5:27
GC – McKee 2 yd run (Josh VanOsdol 2 pt no good), 1:19
GC – Brayden Harrell 5 yd run (Brady Darnell 2 pt good), 9:47
GC – Andrew Zellers 1 yd run (Cody Hargett kick), 5:57
GC – Spencer Johnson 17 yd punt block return (Hargett kick), 6:40
GC – Joey Roland 17 yd run (Hargett kick), 0:00