It would be historical but not unprecedented.
A quest for four state football championships in a row has been done before – but by only one other program. With Class 2A state titles the past three seasons, Bishop Luers is trying to accomplish something rare.
And the talent and experience are there, as coach Matt Lindsay has plenty of potential Division I players – many of them veterans.
We have some of the components, Lindsay said about a run to No. 4 in a row. Defensively, we ought to be very strong. We have size, strength, speed and experience on defense with eight three-year starters. But there are always areas of concern. We have to replace a wonderful quarterback (James Knapke) and rebuild our offensive line and find kickers who will get the job done. Those are the realities of our situation. But we have talent, and we have great speed, probably as much as anybody around.
Its one state championship for each year a current senior on the team has been in high school. Its a blue championship ring for four of the five fingers on his hand, but thats all a player can win before moving on to college or going to work.
Imagine a student having gone through high school and never having seen his football team lose its final game, or having a pep session and moving down the bleachers in the gym each year as he moves from a freshman to a sophomore to a junior and finally to a senior and celebrating a state championship every year.
It is easy to say it, but its really hard to go out there and do it, said senior linebacker and Notre Dame recruit Jaylon Smith, who started on the first state championship team at defensive end. It starts in practice. Our hardest competition is going to be ourselves and within ourselves we are going to have to work.
Any pressure for a four-peat?
Theres always going to be pressure on Luers, senior receiver/defensive back Kendrick Mullen said. Everybodys out to get Luers, but thats what we like. We like everybody coming at us and being the underdog sometimes. We are always up for the challenge.
Warren Central is the only football program in the state to win championships in four straight seasons when it won 5A titles in 2003-06. Seven others have been on the verge of such an accomplishment, with five of them failing to win the fourth.
But it may not be lonely at the top for long for Warren Central.
Luers and Lafayette Central Catholic in Class A will try to join the exclusive club this season. Additionally, Cathedral (4A) and Chatard (3A) have won the last two years and could match state history as well.
The Luers athletic program is no stranger to state history, being the first girls basketball program to win four straight state championships with three 2A titles in 1999-2001 and a 3A championship in 2002 and having been the first school to win a football, boys basketball and baseball state championship in the same season when the Knights turned the trick in the 2007-08 school year.
The Knights have won 10 state championships overall, all in 2A. That puts them one behind the state leader in Chatard, which has 11. In 1999-2002, Luers went to four straight 2A state championship games. Only a loss to Evansville Mater Dei in the 2000 finals prevented the Knights from four straight, with titles in 1999, 2001-02.