VALPARAISO | Returning to the field was just the first step for Billy Biehl.
The Chesterton junior took the pitch for the first time since suffering a head injury earlier this season and immediately made his presence felt with a goal to help lead the Trojans to their first sectional title since 2010 with a 2-0 victory over Portage.
Biehl suffered multiple facial fractures against Andrean on Sept. 16 and wore a face mask during Saturday’s Class 2A Valparaiso Sectional championship match.
“I was pretty nervous going out there, not wanting to hit my nose or my cheeks again and lead to something more serious,” Biehl said. “It felt great to be back out there with my teammates, and it was sweet to get this victory.”
Biehl affected the outcome on both goals as he served as a decoy on a set piece that eventually led to Jared O’Dell firing a pass through the Portage defense which John Ward converted into a goal in the 51st minute. Biehl then delivered his goal on a set piece when O’Dell served as the decoy and Biehl fired a shot that found the back corner post in the 74th minute.
“We practiced set pieces throughout the offseason and all year long,” Chesterton coach Jamie Sensibaugh said. “I told the guys that set pieces are what win games in the postseason.”
The game was marked by physical play from the start and play was halted midway through the first quarter when Chesterton’s David Gutierrez collided with Portage keeper Cody Simmons. Gutierrez was stretchered off the field with a broken leg.
“We played the second half for David,” Chesterton keeper Caleb Gmyrek said. “We’re going to visit him in the hospital (Saturday) and bring him the trophy.”
Gmyrek was never tested by the Portage offense Saturday and the senior recorded his 11th shutout of the season, one off the program record for single-season clean sheets. The most energy that Gmyrek exerted all evening was sprinting to midfield to celebrate with the Trojans following the match.
“All the credit has to go to the defense that was in front of me,” he said. “We all played individually better than the guy in front of us. We had the opportunity and we took it.”