TIPTON — Bishop Luers was in an unfamiliar spot in the postseason against Tipton – behind in the second half. After the Blue Devils scored a touchdown just under a minute into the fourth quarter, the Knights trailed 12-7 with 11:05 to play.
But in a familiar way, Bishop Luers turned to Jaylon Smith. And once again the Notre Dame recruit delivered, scoring two fourth quarter touchdowns as Bishop Luers beat Tipton 22-12 in the Class 2A Regional.
Bishop Luers (9-4) will travel to Andrean (11-2) for semi-state.
“It was just seniors and the younger leadership, they came up to us and said, 'We aren't going to lose this game," Smith said. "We are going to do whatever it takes for the seniors to win,' so that's what we did tonight."
Bishop Luers fell behind after struggling in the third quarter. The Blue Devils struggled in the first half to move the ball with their ground game, but opened the second half running a zone read. The ground game quickly came to life as Tipton drove 57 yards and scored on a two-yard run from James Altherr to make it 7-6 Bishop Luers.
On Tipton's next series, it wouldn't be denied either. Tipton twice faced a fourth downs and converted. Then once again, it found itself facing a fourth down, this time from the one-yardline. Tipton decided to go for out and quarterback Austin Hooker to it in on a quarterback keeper to give the Blue Devils a 12-7 lead.
“We really dominated the third quarter,” Tipton coach Aaron Tolle said. “We came out and scored … and we wanted to get the ball back (after taking the lead) because they are handing the ball to the best football player in the state of Indiana every time, so it's not easy to get a stop.”
Part of the Knights' struggles in the third quarter were penalty related. The Knights had over 100 yards worth of penalties for the game. The most critical came on a 92-yard touchdown run by Smith that was called back. It also had dead-ball penalties that allowed Tipton to kickoff from Bishop Luers' 30-yardline.
“Let's just say yellow is not my favorite color right now,” Bishop Luers coach Steve Keefer said. “But the kids played hard, both teams. Very physical game and our kids didn't get down on themselves, they hung in there.”
Despite all of that, the Smith show eventually took over in the fourth quarter. First he scored as he leaped over the line from two-yards out for a touchdown to give the Knights the lead back.
On the drive that sealed the game, Smith converted a third down run and had a 13-yard touchdown. The two touchdowns were part of Smith's three in the game and a two-point conversion run.
“Throughout the night, our offensive linemen weren't blocking through the whistle,” Smith said. “Once I talked to them, we got everything good.”