GREENFIELD — By the end of the first half, the only decision remaining on Homecoming night at Greenfield-Central High School would be the naming of king and queen.
Greenfield-Central already had command of Friday’s Hoosier Heritage Conference football game with Shelbyville at Clayton Myers Field at Hancock Health Stadium.
Senior Kirk Knecht returned an interception back 38 yards for a touchdown in the game’s first minute. Brothers Jacob Hinton and Cooper Hinton combined for three first-half rushing touchdowns and quarterback Dallas Freeman had another for a 34-0 advantage before the halftime show, which included the crowning 2023 queen Emmy Mills and king Dylan Nance.
Ranked No. 5 in the Class 4A Associated Press poll and No. 6 in the 4A Indiana Football Coaches Association rankings, Greenfield-Central went on to a dominating 47-0 victory over the Golden Bears.
“Good execution by the kids,” Greenfield-Central head coach Travis Nolting said. “We’ve been in some situations where we haven’t been able to play our guys for more than two quarters. We came out with the idea of trying to get ready to play New Pal next week to give our guys three quarters of football to be in game shape next week.
“The defense executed with the pick-6 from Kirk. We played tough on the run. Kudos to (defensive coordinator Josh Holden) and his game plan this week. Offense came out and played well and you can’t say enough about the offensive line and their efforts. We got a lot of weapons and we used them.”
The Cougars improved to 5-0 for the first time since 1973, when Greenfield-Central ran the table to win a Class 2A state title.
Greenfield-Central is 3-0 in the HHC. Shelbyville dropped to 3-2 and 1-2 in the conference.
The Cougars have hit season milestones in each of the last three weeks. When they reached 3-0, it was the first time since 1993 and at 4-0 it was the best record since 1983.
Following Knecht’s touchdown, the Cougars got the ball after a quick 3-and-out. Starting from their own 40, the Cougars took 15 plays to go 60 yards, ending with a Jacob Hinton 3-yard score with 3:26 left in the first quarter.
Jacob Hinton got his second TD on the first play of the second quarter. A 14-yard run put the Cougars up 21-0 with 11:54 until the break.
It was Freeman’s turn to score on the next series. Set up by pass plays to Boston Willard, Jacob Hinton and Knecht, for a combined 47 yards, Freeman ended the series with a 10-yard score, faking a pitch out to his running back, before rushing in to give G-C a 28-0 advantage.
Cooper Hinton scored on a 5-yard run to make it 34-0 with just 2:12 until Homecoming ceremonies.
The second half scores came through the air. Freeman and Willard hooked up for a 27-yard play on the first series of the second half, triggering the running-clock rule.
To finish up the night, Freeman found Knecht for a 37-yard scoring play.
“I was unsure about our energy coming into this,” Jacob Hinton said. “(When Knecht had the pick-6) that really helped, and from there we were full-throttle. There was no stopping us. It was a great play by Kirk, a great start.”
It all sets up a huge HHC first-place battle when New Palestine comes to Myers Field next Friday. The Dragons are also state-ranked (No. 10 in AP, No. 5 in IFCA) and 3-0 in conference play. They’re the defending HHC champion and currently hold the HHC Helmet trophy.
Greenfield-Central 47, Shelbyville 0
Shelbyville (3-2, 1-2);0;0;0;0;-;0
Greenfield-Central (5-0, 3-0);14;20;13;0;-;47
GC – Kirk Knecht 38 interception return (Aaron Lee kick) 11:06
GC – Jake Hinton 3 run (Lee kick) 3:26
GC – J. Hinton 14 run (Lee kick) 11:54
GC – Dallas Freeman 10 run (Lee kick) 8:34
GC – Cooper Hinton 5 run (pass failed) 2:12
GC – Boston Willard 27 pass from Freeman (2-pt. conversion failed) 9:15
GC –Knecht 37 pass from Freeman (Lee kick) 4:19