(Saint Leon, Ind.) - It was a courageous win Tuesday evening for the East Central High School boys varsity soccer team.
The Trojans scored a 2-0 road win over Jennings County to claim a sectional championship in a game delayed from Saturday. EC and their opponent were tied at the half, but had two clutch goals from Dustin Pruitt and Sam Burns to extend the season.
The emotional victory came just three days after the death of junior soccer player Jacob Amberger. The 17-year-old who wore #17 on his jersey died in a multi-vehicle crash on State Road 46 as he drove to the school to meet his coaches and teammates to ride the bus to the championship game in North Vernon.
“Before the game I told them how proud I was of them on how they are handling a situation that nobody should ever have to go through,” said East Central head soccer coach B.J. Black.
“When this first happened this was the last thing on their minds. On Saturday night they came back to my house and I asked them if they wanted to continue playing. There was no doubt in their minds they wanted to play this game.”
East Central’s victory was dedicated to Amberger, who had been playing the game since he was four-years-old. He was a captain for the team.
Black credited the entire school, and even rival teams, which have supported his team since the tragedy. Following a game between Lawrenceburg and South Ripley’s boys soccer teams on Saturday night, the two teams took a knee on the field and prayed for Amberger and his teammates.
“I’ve been really proud of the way the community, the school, the team, the parents, and other schools – it was absolutely incredible – the way other schools were able to honor us and Jacob,” Black said.
The Trojans will look to continue their emotional season when they face Bloomington South in the IHSAA 2A Regional Semi-Final at Columbus North High School on Thursday evening.
Amberger’s visitation is scheduled for 3:30 to 9:00 p.m. Thursday at Saint Joseph Church Parish life Center in Saint Leon. His funeral will be Friday morning at 10:30 at the church.
For Amberger’s full obituary, visit Eagle 99.3’s obituary webpage.