The ground floor of the emotions that Greenwood Christian is stirring in this post-season was built seven years ago.
Little did they know Parker Satre and Carson Dillard, then fifth-year football teammates, would end up two wins away from hitting the sports ceiling.
GCA classmates since pre-kindergarten, the senior co-captains are among the feel-good stories associated with the Cougars progressing to a Class A semi-state for the first time in franchise history.
Greenwood Christian will take on eighth-ranked Forest Park on Saturday in the final game of a semi-state triple match at Seymour.
“At the start of this season, our coach set very high standards for us,” said Satre, a starting left midfielder. “As a team we got closer at the end of the year and a lot of people are playing well. Our goal was to peak at the cup. We did that and we’re still going there.
“Looking at our (post-season) slice, I thought we all had to get involved and, if we were, we could go far.”
Few could have imagined the past few weeks going the way they did considering the Cougars finished last season with a 3-12 record.
Micah Adkins-Estes did.
“Connected is probably the word that comes to mind. It’s pretty amazing how close these boys have been,” said Adkins-Estes, 24, a former Kentucky Christian University goaltender who is in his second year as a GCA coach. “Hard work and chemistry trumps talent any day of the week.
“Football is such a different sport. You can dominate the whole game and lose. We have to know each other to be able to anticipate that next move on the pitch.
Two more seniors are leaving for the Cougars, forward Joel Flint and Patrick Taber; around this time last year, Flint was attending Columbus Christian and Taber was homeschooled. The balanced age representation continues with juniors Xander Honeycutt and Caleb Schmidt and sophomores Caden Camden and Hayden Johnson in the roster.
Another soph, 6-foot-4 Preston Van Til, splits his time at goalie with junior Colton Flint. Freshmen Bo Campbell, the team’s leading scorer this season, and Luke McNicholas also start. The main reserves are junior defensemen Josh Beltz and Mason Wright, senior forward David McLaughlin and rookie Cayden Afterkirk.
“We have a special group of guys this year,” Dillard said. “We all put together when it counts and we continued that run. It was very cool. Even the kids on the team who are younger, there’s a maturity there. Everyone mobilized. »
Adkins-Estes is impressed with how his players have blended together despite their different ages and football backgrounds. Also, their ability to switch quickly from defense to attack and counter-attack was a plus.
It takes fast, accurate passes to do that, and the Cougars deliver a lot.
“We probably lost more games last year than we should have by implementing the style of play that I wanted us to play,” Adkins-Estes said. “It was a bit difficult, but getting the players to buy into it was huge.”
So much so that GCA is one of only four teams still in contention for the Class A state title.
This ceiling keeps getting closer.