YOUNG KNIGHTS CAPTURE 8TH STATE FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP

The Bishop Luers Knights 2009 football campaign had a lot of question marks coming into the season. The Knights lost almost every starter from the 2008 squad, and when the first play from scrimmage was run this year the Knights fielded a roster of 62 players that included 53 underclassmen. The 2A Bishop Luers Knights play in the Summit Athletic Conference (S.A.C). The regular season was “bumpy” to say the least. The Knights record was 2 – 4 at the end of September and 4 -5 by the end of the regular season. It was safe to say that this young Luers team was at a crossroads and many critics didn’t think the Knights would accomplish much, if anything, in the state football tournament.

As the smallest school in the S.A.C., the quality of play in the conference has an enormous impact on the team’s play come tournament time. Every year the Knights spend the regular season going up against much bigger schools. In turn, when the Knights enter the state 2A football playoffs the squads they face are usually not going to be as big or as fast as the teams that they have already competed against during the regular season. This was the scenario again this year as the playoffs rolled around. Luers knew that the “real season” was beginning, as the school’s goal is always to win their last game.

The Knights marched through the sectional, trouncing teams that seemed “smaller and slower” than they were used to playing. This Luers team was growing in commitment and maturity. After the easy run through the sectionals came the regional game versus Lewis Cass. Luers trailed throughout the entirety of the game until the final play of the game. The young and maturing Knights tied the game, continued to fight and won the game in double overtime. It was one of the great comeback wins in Luers illustrious football history.

After a relatively easy game at semi-state the Bishop Luers Knights made it to their record breaking 12th State Finals. They showed everyone that they had grown from the early season woes .The team was on a six-week winning streak and they were ready to compete against a fierce Monrovia team. Monrovia came in to the championship game undefeated at 14 – 0.

The Knights started slow and were somewhat shaky during the first half, when the Bulldogs of Monrovia took a 17- 7 lead. It looked like Luers was in trouble. Some believed they were finished, and they echoed words that were often brought up throughout the year, that this team was too young and immature. However this Luers team did not give up. The rest of the game was an inspired performance by the young Knights. Scores by running backs Kenny Mullen III, Steve Kiermaier and an important 44 yard field goal by Alex Stronzcek put the Knights ahead for good. The Knights defense also played valiantly, shutting out the Bulldogs in the second half after giving up 17 points in the opening half.

The State Championship belonged to The Bishop Luers Knights. These Knights matured, came together as a family and showed why this 8th State football championship epitomizes what Luers footb all is all about.

Nearly all of the Knights will be back next year. This is a bad omen to all the other 2A teams who have 2010 title hopes.

The Waynedale News Staff

Michael Alberico

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