November 27, 2023 // Diocese

Luers Captures 12th State Football Crown

The 12 seniors on the Bishop Luers High School football team hadn’t forgotten what happened the last time the Knights played for a state title.

In the 2020 Class 2A state championship, Bishop Luers saw a late double-digit lead evaporate and surrendered a game-winning field goal to Western Boone in the closing seconds of a 36-35 defeat – one that Knights Head Coach Kyle Lindsay called “the most heartbreaking loss in school history.”

Photos by John Felts
Bishop Luers players celebrate their victory in the Class 2A State Championship on Saturday, November 25, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The victory earned the Knights the school’s 12th state football crown.

So, when this year’s seniors – who were freshmen on the 2020 squad – earned the opportunity to write their own ending to the story on Saturday, November 25, they left no doubt.

Bishop Luers dominated this year’s Class 2A state title game from start to finish, routing North Posey 40-3 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis for the Knights’ largest-ever margin of victory in a championship game. The victory marked the program’s 12th state title – the third most by any school in state history, but its first since winning four straight from 2009 through 2012.

“It’s a bit of a relief, to tell you the truth,” admitted Lindsay, who has coached all 11 seasons since the Knights hoisted their last championship trophy. “Just extreme pride in our group of seniors and all our players. … They’ve learned a lot about themselves and about each other. They’ve emotionally and mentally matured more than any group I can remember. To put on a complete performance for four quarters, it’s very special.”

The Bishop Luers Knights take the field at Lucas Oil Stadium before the Class 2A state championship game on Saturday, November 25.

“It really means everything,” Bishop Luers senior quarterback Kohen McKenzie told Today’s Catholic. “Ever since I was a little kid, I’d think of playing in a state championship, so it means lot to do it with my brothers.”

Bishop Luers (12-3) led the entire game, as its offense, defense, and special teams all played starring roles. In fact, it was special teams that set up the offense for short scoring drives in the first half. After senior Damiun Jackson blocked a North Posey (13-2) punt, senior Mickey Daring capped a 27-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run. The Knights then responded to a Viking field goal with an 81-yard kickoff return by sophomore Daveon Surry, setting up Daring for another score from 6 yards out and a 14-3 halftime lead for Bishop Luers.

“Mickey is just a bruiser; it’s fun to watch him just batter through people, while also serving as the lead back for Gio Jimenez,” Lindsay said of his 1-2 punch in the backfield. “Mickey is undersold on how athletic he is. Gio’s got that pop, that big-play potential. He’s short in stature but a really strong kid.”

Damiun Jackson, left, and Gio Jimenez receive the state championship trophy after Bishop Luers captured the Class 2A state title beating North Posey.

Meanwhile, the Knights’ defense made life miserable for the Vikings all day. Despite outscoring opponents by an average of 28 points per game entering the contest, North Posey’s offense repeatedly stalled after long drives. This, along with a physical Bishop Luers defensive line, kept the Vikings out of the endzone for just the second time all season.

“They were on their game and were disruptive up front,” Lindsay said of his defense, which racked up two interceptions and three sacks. “You can’t talk about Dame [Jackson] without talking about [senior] Wes Javins as bookends on our 3-4 defense; they’ve been phenomenal all year. They’ve put up some numbers that are very rarely seen on the football field in Bishop Luers history.” Jackson didn’t disappoint, amassing eight tackles (including four for loss), two sacks, a forced fumble, and a blocked punt.

Knights Head Coach Kyle Lindsay receives a medal following Bishop Luers’ 40-3 victory against North Posey.

In the second half, McKenzie went to work, tossing a trio of touchdowns – one each to Javins, senior Isaac Zay, and junior Jaylen White. McKenzie completed 7 of 10 passes for 126 yards behind an offensive line that not only gave him ample time to throw but also opened up running lanes for Daring and Jimenez. “The growth of our O-line from when the season began to now – they’ve really been playing at a high level, especially considering how young we were,” Lindsay said.

Jimenez added a 12-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter, part of a 13-carry, 98-yard day. “My line did their job, and I knew that I had to trust them,” said Jimenez. “Coach Lindsay had put trust in me, to put the ball in my hands. I knew if he was willing to do that, I had to make things happen.”

The Bishop Luers offense made things happen every time it reached the red zone, scoring touchdowns on each of its four trips inside the Vikings’ 20-yard line – compared to a lone field goal in North Posey’s two red-zone trips. The Knights accomplished this feat despite only possessing the ball for less than a third of the game and running just 34 offensive plays.

The season looked bleak for the Knights early on, as they began the season 0-2 after getting blown out by East Noble (45-7) and New Haven (36-7).

“What people don’t know is we knew what we were capable of after those first two games,” Jimenez said of his team, which rallied to win six straight games to claim a share of the Summit Athletic Conference title. “We knew that there’s plenty of time to put things together and trust each other. That’s exactly what we did, and we got to the state championship.”

“We just bonded together,” McKenzie said. “We sat down before the season and talked about what we wanted to accomplish this year. We said we wanted to win a state championship and bring the winning tradition back to Luers. I love these boys – I love them like my own brothers; they’ll always be brothers to me.”

Lindsay knows the feeling. As a former Bishop Luers quarterback who helped lead the Knights to state titles in 1999 and 2001, he’s ecstatic that this group got to experience the same emotions – especially the seniors, whose development throughout the last four years made it all possible.

“Some seniors really grew into leadership roles – that was really needed coming into this season with all the inexperience we had,” Lindsay said. “It speaks to the character and leadership that they developed. The kids just had a constant positive presence, which was a collective effort by our senior class and by our assistant coaches, who have done an excellent job modeling what you want to see from a Catholic school.”

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