INDIANAPOLIS – Bishop Luers sweated out some suspense, but found a way to claim its “four-peat” Class 2A state football championship.
The fifth-ranked Knights beat previously unbeaten Indianapolis Ritter 40-28 on Friday night at Lucas Oil Stadium to win a fourth-straight state title.
Luers (11-4) tied Warren Central and Lafayette Central Catholic as the only schools in history with four consecutive state titles. Lafayette Central Catholic won its fourth straight with a 14-0 win over Indianapolis Scecina in Friday's Class A title game.
The Knights needed a 60-yard touchdown drive, capped by Jaylon Smith's 16-yard score, to hold off a furious Ritter rally and build a 40-28 lead with 2:36 left.
Smith, a Notre Dame recruit and a candidate for Indiana Mr. Football, rushed 21 times for 150 yards and three touchdowns. TyVel Jemison rushed for 88 yards and a score. Luers rushed for 322 yards.
With a one-time 27-0 lead trimmed to 27-21, Luers used eight pure willpower runs to seemingly regain momentum late in the fourth quarter, with Jemison scoring from one yard out to make it 33-21 with 7:15 left.
But Ritter answered with a one-minute drive and quarterback Jake Purichia hitting Jake Hagan on a 15-yard touchdown pass to close the Luers lead to 33-28 with 6:07 left.
Ritter cut the lead to 27-14 on a 35-yard touchdown pass from Purichia to Hagan with 5:20 left in the third quarter. The Raiders trimmed it to 27-21 on a 36-yard punt return by Hagan with 10:38 left in the fourth. That score was set up when Luers' Smith was called for “hurdling” a defender on what would have been a first-down play. Instead, Luers was backed up and forced to punt.
Luers built a 27-7 halftime lead, with all of the scoring by both teams coming in the second quarter. Smith got Luers on the board first with a four-yard run.
Luers quarterback Quinn Cook, who was 8-for-8 passing for 87 yards in the first half, hit Michael Rogers for a 42-yard score to make it 14-0. Jaquale Cooper's seven-yard run made it 21-0 and Smith rolled out on a 24-yard score to make it 27-0. Smith carred 12 times for 85 yards in the half.
Ritter's first score, which turned out to be an indicator of offense to come, came when Purichia hit Hagan on a 16-yard pass with 18 seconds left in the half.