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Triton Central quarterback Erick Hebauf looks for an open man last Friday during the Tigers' home contest against Beech Grove.

By KATRINA BRANSON - kbranson@shelbynews.com

FAIRLAND – Last Friday the Class 2A No. 5 Triton Central Tigers trailed 18-16 against Beech Grove with under thirty seconds remaining in play. The Tigers were at the goal line when the field goal unit hurried to get on the field. Sophomore quarterback Erick Hebauf called them off and would then score the game-winning touchdown.

“Really, I think it was just an 'in the moment' thing,” explained Hebauf. “I just really wanted to win. I actually went and apologized to Mitch Kleeman after the game, but he said that he was glad that I did what I did.”

Hebauf has stepped into a huge role for the Tigers. After senior quarterback Aaron Steele went down with an injury last Friday against Beech Grove, the Tigers turned to their backup in Hebauf, who has shown his pure passing ability in JV games this year.

It's a moment Hebauf has been preparing for all season. Steele has been helping the sophomore since day one.

“It's very unfortunate what happened to Aaron,” said Hebauf. “He's been helping me all year at practice and helping me make reads – he's been there for me all season.”

Hebauf has been playing football since he's been able to – kindergarten. The sophomore attended Franklin Central and then moved to TC in between the seventh and eighth grades. It was in eighth grade when he finally began playing with his current teammates.

As far as Hebauf is concerned, the Tigers will be taking everything day-by-day. One thing is certain when you talk to the sophomore, however – he's ready and has accepted his new role as the team prepares for Speedway. Sectional action begins the following week.

“We've been studying film and just really working on our offense,” said Hebauf. “The defense has been working really hard. As far as the rest of the season, we'll just take it game-by-game, and we hope to continue to win.”

What to Expect in Week 9

The Tigers enter their last regular game of the season 7-1 as they prepare for Speedway (3-5).

Speedway sophomore quarterback Evan Owens enters Friday's game 44 of 83 with 853 passing yards and eight touchdowns – a long of 85 yards.

For the Sparkplugs rushing wise, senior Devon Valentine leads his team with 649 yards, averaging 81.1 yards per game. Michael Miller Jr. serves as Owens go-to receiver with 386 reception yards on the season, averaging 48.3 per game.

Defensively, Marcus Gibson leads Speedway with 70 tackles. Valentine has 52. Freshman Reis Walker leads Speedway with two interceptions on the year. Valentine also serves as the team's punter with 848 yards on the season. His long has been 49 yards. 

Friday will serve as Senior Night for TC. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. 

Katrina Branson is a Sports writer for The Shelbyville News. Follow Katrina on Twitter @k_b527.

Speedway (3-5) at Triton Central (7-1)

GAME TIME: 7 p.m., Mendenhall Stadium.

COACHES: Steve Wray, 12-36 in 5th year at Speedway, 17-40 in 6th year overall. Tim Able, 49-20 in 6th year at Triton Central, 174-118 in 26th year overall.

SAGARIN RATINGS: Triton Central, 77.99, 39th overall, 3rd in 2A. Speedway, 32.33, 223rd overall, 37th in 2A.

LAST OUTING: Speedway lost to Indianapolis Lutheran, 39-7. Triton Central defeated Beech Grove, 23-18.

VS. COMMON FOES: Speedway 1-5; Triton Central 5-1.

OPPONENTS' RECORDS: Speedway 32-30. Triton Central 32-30.

SERIES LAST 30 YEARS: Triton Central, 7-2.

LAST MEETING: Triton Central, 28-14, Oct. 13, 2017.

PREDICTION (John Harrell): Triton Central, 59-0.