2A State Championship, November 26, 2010, 7:00PM
Bishop Luers (13-1) vs. North Putnam (14-0)
Great expectations. This is what the Bishop Luers Football program was faced with from the onset this summer. Having nearly everyone back from last year’s State Championship team, the Knights were undoubtedly in a mindset of “state or bust” from the get go. This Luers team did not disappoint. The Knights finished 7 – 1 in the Summit Athletic Conference. Then easily marched their way through sectionals, regionals and semi-state. Finally, the familiar scene of traveling down to Indianapolis on Thanksgiving weekend for the State Championship was upon them.
Bishop Luers took the field at Lucas Oil Stadium with confidence even though they were facing an undefeated foe, in the North Putnam Cougars. However this game began in a different tone, a battle of defensive attrition faced the Knights. In the first quarter, Luers only recorded 9 total yards and no first downs, while North Putnam only racked up 40 total yards and four first downs.
Eventually a breaking point was reached in this defensive battle. Faced with a 3rd and long, North Putnam attempted to throw the ball deep and it was intercepted by Kody Mullen. Mullen proceeded to return the ball inside North Putnam’s 25 yard line. After a handful of plays and a key pass interference penalty, Kody Mullen’s older brother Kenny swiftly ran 9 yards for the touchdown. Luers lead 7-0 and kept it this way after a strong defensive stop right before halftime.
As the third quarter began, Luers started to look like the high powered “machine” that we have seen and heard about all year. On their first possession, the Knights took the ball right down the field and in only 8 plays scored with a reverse to Wide Receiver Michael Rodgers. The score now stood at 14-0 early in the third quarter.
The next couple of series’ were dominated by each team’s defense but as the third quarter was nearing its end, the Knights put together a fantastic drive. The drive consisted of a great mix of runs and passes. Finally inside the 15 yard line, Deangelo Fincher finessed his way into the end zone via a run and as the third quarter came to a close, Luers led 20-0.
Trailing at the start of the fourth quarter and in a unfamiliar situation, North Putnam needed to answer quickly. With a fourth down looming at the Knights 42 yard line, the Cougars had no choice but to go for it. North Putnam’s Quarterback Kolten Everts completed a pass to Travis Franklin that gave the resilient Cougars a first down. Eventually Franklin capped this great scoring drive with a 13 yard run. The Cougars now trailed 20-7 early in the fourth quarter.
North Putnam needed a stop and a score to put a scare into the Knights and a stop is just what they got. The Cougars intercepted Luers Quarterback James Knapke near midfield. Taking the momentum, the Cougars were in business, or at least they thought they were. On the very next play, running back Travis Franklin dropped the handoff and the Knights Everett Green scooped it up and ran it back 40 yards for the touchdown. As the Knights fans and players were cheering, everyone affiliated with North Putnam was in disbelief. This was the “nail in the coffin,” Luers now recaptured the momentum and led 26 – 7.
The Cougars continued to fight and showed resiliency by blocking a Luers punt and recovering it in the end zone late in the fourth quarter to make the score 26 – 14. However, North Putnam had dug itself too deep of a hole.
As the clock winded down a familiar scene unfolded, The Bishop Luers Knights were 2A state Champions again. This championship marks the ninth state title in program history, tying the state record. Congratulation Knights!