Bishop Luers coach Steven Keefer didn't need to fire up his football team Friday night at Luersfield. The Knights were already filled with emotion, incentive and a strong sense of wanting to erase the memory of a nightmarish loss last week to Columbus (Ohio) Hartley.
So it was no surprise that on the very first play from scrimmage, the Knights defense forced a fumble and recovered it. Two plays later, Bishop Luers led 7-0 thanks to a 15 yard scoring run by Jaylon Smith. It would be the first of four very quick strikes as the Knights staked a 28-0 lead in the first nine minutes.
Bishop Luers would go on to lead by 35 at the half and eventually by 51 points in a 58-21 victory over their rivals.
“It was a great effort by our defense. We controlled the running game,” Keefer said. “(Bishop Dwenger) has some outstanding receivers and a good young quarterback. So we wanted to frustrate him by not giving him time to set up.”
Asked about last week's 40-7 loss and if it motivated his players, Keefer responded: “No, we didn't really use that.”
Then when he was asked if the big victory over its biggest rival helped erase the memory of the loss, he said: “You never really forget a loss.”
Of course, that's coach-speak. When Keefer addressed his team at mid-field after the game, his approach was a little different.
“It was a great effort tonight,” Keefer said. “And one heck of a memory for you seniors.”
Yes, it was senior night and the game was against the Knights' biggest rivals. 58-21 will always be etched in his mind said senior linebacker Aaron LaMaster.
“When you give up 40 (points) it's tough to bounce back,” LaMaster said. “But this team has bounced back before, like our first loss to Snider. Tonight was probably the most excited we've been for a game all year. Senior night, Bishop Dwenger...we were fired up!”
While LaMaster the Bishop Luers defense was dominant through three quarters giving up only one first down, there was plenty of credit to go around.
“Our offense was on point tonight,” LaMaster said. “They were awesome.”
Despite a bad snap/fumble that resulted in a 34-yard loss, the Knights had 359 total yards in the first half compared to 73 by the Saints. After Smith's first score, the Knights also scored touchdowns in the first half on runs of 69 yards (Jemar-Quay Brooks), 27 yards (Smith), 54 yards (Michael Rogers) and 65 yards (Charles Gaston). Further evidence of Bishop Luers' explosiveness was number of plays involved in those scoring drives: 13. Five possessions, 13 plays, five touchdowns.
Defensively the Knights were just as dominant. Bishop Dwenger's lone touchdown in the first three quarters was one play after a 65-yard pass from Cody Miller to Ryan Watercutter. It was a four-play 71-yard drive.
“Our entire defense played great all the way around,” Keefer said. “Our secondary was perfect, our linebackers were solid and our line was dominant. We couldn't ask for any more.”