Friday, November 03, 2017 11:10 pm
Bishop Luers 20, Concordia 14
Late interception gives Luers sectional title
CHRIS GOFF | The Journal Gazette
With a sectional title hanging in the balance Friday night, Justin Gaston wasn't about to let the football slip through his grasp.
Bishop Luers preserved a 20-14 win over Concordia on the junior defensive back's interception at the goal line with about 85 seconds remaining, sending a noisy crowd at Luers Field into hysteria as the outcome of a Class 3A sectional final became apparent.
"I didn't really hear anything," Gaston said. "It's just a rush you feel. It's just glory."
Glory in the form of the Knights' first regional berth since 2014. Next week they play host to Mishawaka Marian, which beat Jimtown 21-7.
"We haven't been to state since 2012," said Bishop Luers' Ty Hambright, who had two touchdown runs. "We keep saying, 'Chasing 12.' We are trying to get our 12th state title. That's all we've been working for. That's all we want."
Concordia, a defending state champion, took over on its own 39-yard line with 1:59 left. The first play was a quick toss to wide receiver Kamari Anderson-Drew, who evaded several would-be tacklers along the right sideline and got all the way Bishop Luers' 26 before he was brought down.
Next, quarterback Brandon Davis took aim at Anderson-Drew in the end zone. Gaston was ready and waiting and made a leaping grab.
"He hung out as a safety in the middle of the field," Knights coach Kyle Lindsay said. "They were going to pull out all the stops. He knew to stay home. It looked like they had a one-on-one, and he went up and got it. Usually Kamari's going to come down with that more often than not, so that was a really special play."
Gaston finally collected his thoughts after the game.
"My coach moved me down against their best receiver for that particular moment," Gaston said. "I was manned up on him so I couldn't let up or anything, give him any room to make any play."
Gaston made another key play as a receiver, catching an 11-yard TD pass from Norman Knapke with 15 seconds left in the first half. The extra-point kick was blocked, but the Knights carried a 13-7 lead into the intermission.
After a scoreless first quarter, Hambright's 4-yard TD run put Bishop Luers (8-4) on top. The Cadets, who finish their season 7-4, tied the score at 7 on Preston Kerlegrand's 7-yard TD run with 2:54 left in the half.
Lindsay made a pivotal fourth-and-goal call midway through the third quarter, opting to give the ball to Hambright instead of kick a field goal. Hambright ran for a 1-yard score to give Bishop Luers a 20-7 lead.
Before the quarter was over, the Cadets closed within six thanks to a bit of luck. Davis tossed into the end zone and had the pass deflected, but it caromed to Marcus Morrow, who caught it for a 13-yard TD.
"We just bagged it and came on offense and had to play harder," Gaston said. "We just don't give up for anything."
Notes: Concordia defensive back Andrew Fortmeyer intercepted Knapke early in the fourth quarter to end a drive that had moved into the Cadets' territory. It was the first turnover of the game.