December 2, 2009 // Uncategorized
The great eighth is as good as the first
Bishop Luers Knights win the 2-A State Football Championship
By Sean McBride
INDIANAPOLIS — Luers Spirit is alive and well and was on display for the entire state last Friday night.
The Knights completed an epic season of ups and downs at Lucas Oil Stadium in front of a boisterous crowd of 14,512, earning their eighth state football crown. But it wasn’t easy by any means. It was a tale of two halves. The Knights started out sluggish as they had a hard time stopping the impressive offense of the Monrovia Bulldogs (14-1). The Bulldogs controlled the time of possession in the first half and the scoreboard. The time of possession clock was lopsided in favor of the Bulldogs 17:03 to 6:57.
The tension from the Knights sidelines and grandstand was palpable, as the Bulldogs ran at will to the outside on drives that backed up the Knights and kept their coaches scratching their heads. But the Bulldogs didn’t know about Luers Spirit. After a successful opening drive and three points for the Bulldogs, the Knights took the lead on a Ken Mullen run from 3 yards out. The ‘Dogs were unfazed. They marched down the field in 11 plays covering 78 yards and took the lead on a very questionable touchdown score from short yardage. The score was 10-7. The Knights took over on offense and the drive stalled. The Bulldogs once again drove the ball 55 yards in 10 plays featuring a tricky “belly option” offense that was tough to contain. The score was now 17-7.
The turning point was a textbook two-minute drill by James Knapke and the Knight offense to close out the second quarter. Ken Mullen again scored with just 17 seconds remaining in the half putting the Knights right back in the game as it was now 17-14 going into the locker room.
Joe Goodwin’s defense lead by Steve Kiermaier and company took over from there. A great defensive half-time adjustment proved the difference-maker.
In the second half, Monrovia only got the ball twice. The third quarter saw scores from kicker Alex Stronzcek to tie the game at 17-17. Then to finish the quarter, Steve Kiermaier from his fullback position went airborne and leapt in for the go-ahead touchdown and brought the score to 24-17. The Bulldogs were officially done but still had fight left in them.
In the fourth quarter on fourth down and 2 yards to go, on their own 49-yard line the ‘Dogs decided to go for the first down instead of punting the ball away. This proved to be a bad idea as freshman Jaylon Smith shot into the backfield to stop the sweep and kill the drive with a 2-yard loss.
The biggest defensive effort came in the waning minutes of the game as the Bulldogs mounted a final charge taking the ball down the Knights’ 6-inch line. It was fourth and goal, the ‘Dogs needed six inches to score. A collective deep breath fell over the Knight faithful. Once again the defense came up with the play of the game. Jordan Presley and Steve Kiermaier were not to be denied as they blasted into the backfield and stopped Garrett Johnson on the run off-tackle left. The Knights bench and stands erupted in jubilation.
Just as impressive was the subsequent drive by James Knapke and his offense. Moving the ball from their own 1-foot line down to the Monrovia 22-yard line. The clock ran out and the game was over. Ken Mullen was named player of the game. With only nine seniors on the team this year, we wonder what’s in store next year?
Luers community honors winning team
FORT WAYNE — Memories of August two-a-days and a rocky regular season sub-.500 finish faded fast when the Bishop Luers Knights celebrated an avalanche of a postseason that culminated just days short of December with a state championship. Fort Wayne Bishop Luers pocketed their eighth state Indiana Class 2-A football title on Friday, Nov. 28, and were honored in a medal ceremony Monday afternoon in the Knights’ gymnasium.
Week after week, the “comeback kids” never stopped believing and as a reward hoisted the state trophy proudly in front of the entire student body, family and loyal fans.
Also on hand for the festivities, a representative from Mayor Tom Henry’s office read a written proclamation declaring Monday, Nov. 30, in the year 2009, as a day set aside to commemorate the Knights state championship football team who exhibited 48 minutes of Bishop Luers football.
Bishop D’Arcy made a return trip to the school after celebrating Mass with the team on game day. Opening with a prayer, Bishop D’Arcy congratulated the Knights on their well-played game, which he watched in its entirety on television, noting the courage and skill it took to come from behind to win.
“This young team played with great energy, heart and desire and while nothing is guaranteed, (we know) we will be back in Indianapolis next year,” Bishop D’Arcy envisioned. He asked all to be thankful for the great gift of Bishop Luers High School and expressed gratitude to the 2009 group, which continued and enhanced a great winning tradition.
“This football team has once again emblazoned the name of Bishop Luers across the state of Indiana,” Bishop D’Arcy concluded.
Bishop Luers Principal Mary Keefer shared with the crowd a poem she created just for the special occasion which began, “Twas the day after Thanksgiving …” and highlighted memories of the championship game in the “Colts den.”
Longtime Coach Matt Lindsay read his list of thank-you’s to all for “keeping the faith” this season. He then called each player by name to receive their state medals. The Bishop Luers pep band ended the party the way they started it, by playing the school fight song.
“Any time you are playing high school football after Thanksgiving, it is a good thing, explained Lindsay.
Commenting on what made the eighth title in the school’s history memorable, he added, “Because we had such a young team and knew it was going to be a challenge this season, it (a state championship) is pretty gratifying.”
When asked at what point in the post-season he felt a trip to Indianapolis was a possibility, sophomore signal-caller James Knapke said it was after the Cass game “when we beat a quality team at their place.”
Pre-season reports left the quarterback slot undecided and predicted it would be a “rebuilding year” for the inexperienced Knights.
Senior members of the Bishop Luers Knights football team presented principal Mary Keefer with the Class 2-A Indiana state trophy.
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