ST. JOHN -- Carson Shrader had Reese's Puffs and a Gogurt snack for breakfast Wednesday morning.

The junior soccer star at Lake Central might just be eating the same thing from here on out.

"It's a superstition," he said with a smile after his Indians beat Chesterton 6-2 at home that night to all but lock up the Duneland Athletic Conference championship.

Shrader scored a hat trick in the first half, then got an unassisted goal in the second to lead the way for the Indians.

L.C. coach Jeremy Rainwater's team lost 3-0 to Morton on Monday. It was a wake-up call for the Indians.

"Morton is an elite team with some great players," Rainwater said. "I thought it was a great chance for our guys to play a team like that. They run a similar formation to Chesterton and we sat in a classroom and came up with some ways to attack it differently."

He moved Shrader from midfield to the forward on top and the offense exploded early. Jack Bailey assisted Shrader for the first goal at 26:43 of the opening half. The two connected in the same way at 21:45. Then, Shrader scored on a great pass from Michael Bikos at 10:16.

"Those guys really got me the ball in the right places," Shrader said. "I couldn't have done this without my teammates."

The score was 0-0 when Chesterton's Sam Weller went out with a leg injury. Trojans coach Jamie Sensibaugh said the whole rhythm of the game changed when he had to substitute for Weller.

"Early on it was looking good," Sensibaugh said. "They got like seven or eight shots in the game and scored six. I've been around soccer a long time and sometimes you have games like this.

"I am proud that my guys never quit. They put a lot of pressure on them in the second half and their goalie (Noah Osearo) made some great saves."

The Class 3A No. 6 Indians (10-2, 5-0) got second-half goals from Michael Bikos, assisted by Michael Pucci, and an unassisted goal by Blanco Rodriguez-Lara against the 13th ranked Trojans (6-3-2, 3-2).

The first 10 minutes of the opening half the field seemed tilted toward the south. The ball spent a lot of time in the side of Chesterton's offense, but few scoring opportunities materialized.

Then, The Times No. 3 Indians started winning most of the balls at midfield and L.C. went on attack. Michael Bikos had two dead-on scoring chances that missed. One by a solid defensive play and another by the ball slipping right of the net.

Chesterton's Jake Donovan just missed a pass in front of the Lake Central goal, by inches. And later, Harley Lohmeyer's free kick sailed just high of the top post. Again, by an inch, which allowed the Indians to hold a 3-0 halftime lead over Times No. 4 Trojans.

The Trojans loan goal came from Harley Lohmeyer, who scored on a penalty kick with 14:58 left in game. Lohmeyer would score a second goal with 23 seconds left in the game.

Then, it was time for "Breakfast of Champions" to smile and take pictures with the fans at the game.

"Chesterton is a phenomenal team," Shrader said. "We just had a great night against them."


Steve has won awards during two different stints at The Times. In addition to being the Prep Beat columnist, he covers football, boys basketball and boys track. He is a long-suffering Cubs fan.