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Concordia championship notebook: Defense does its part; Cadets ready thanks to SAC

Concordia Lutheran's Liam Fletcher, left, and Preston Kerlegrand tackles Lawrenceburg's Austin Bowling during the first half of Saturday's Class 3A state championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. (Associated Press photo)
Concordia Lutheran's Liam Fletcher, left, and Preston Kerlegrand tackles Lawrenceburg's Austin Bowling during the first half of Saturday's Class 3A state championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. (Associated Press photo)
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press
Sunday, November 27, 2016 06:09 pm
INDIANAPOLIS — While quarterback Peter Morrison and the Concordia Lutheran offense was breaking records in Saturday's 56-14 state championship victory, the defense was doing its part in holding Lawrenceburg to its lowest point total of the season.  Much was made about the Tigers' offense, especially 3,000-yard rusher Austin Bowling, but the Cadets were up for the challenge. 

"It's always different for every team you play, you come in and you have to adapt," said senior linebacker Gabe Vohs. "We study them on film and try to get a feel for them in practice. 

"But there is no way you can properly portray what we are going to face. You have to adapt and learn throughout the game and we did a good job shutting them down."

Concordia scored the first 49 points of the game in the rout. While the headlines went to the offense for such a dominant performance, it was the defense that slowed down Lawrenceburg, forcing turnovers and punts to hand the ball back to the offense. 

The Tigers amassed 276 yards of total offense, over 150 yards below their season average. 

More defense



While Bowling's season stat line was impressive, Concordia was far from intimidated. 

That is expected after facing the likes of Amaun Clark, Tyreeon Hambright, Jordan Presley, Money Woods and Christian Covington earlier in the season, among other standout running backs. 

"We were not going to be intimidated by (Bowling's numbers)," Concordia coach Tim Mannigel said. 

Bowling finished with 154 yards rushing on 29 carries but was held out of the end zone. The senior had just yards on the ground through the first half, during which the Cadets built up a 35-0 advantage. 

Concordia faced just one 3A or below team in the regular season, making the playoff run almost a reprieve of sorts from the week-to-week grind of the Summit Athletic Conference. 

"This is not a team that's going to be intimidated by anything," Mannigel said. "It's nice to play a 3A team only warming up 50 guys on the sidelines instead of the 110-120 we see most weeks."

"We have teams like Snider, Homestead, Carroll...all those big schools that have great running backs and great offenses (on our schedule)," Vohs said. "They helped sharpen us up for this level."

Nerves? What nerves?



What team appearing in its first-ever state championship game sings on the bus heading down I-69?

Concordia, that's who. 

The Cadets busted out in song heading down to Indianapolis on Saturday, showcasing their looseness as the big stage loomed. 

It took winning the giant state championship trophy for Concordia to break down and show emotion after months of staying even keel and focused on the ultimate goal. 

"We're all happy I know that," said junior Trey Freeman. 

Morrison could barely stay composed in post-game interviews, answering question after question from the media contingent with tears streaming down his face. 

"Practically everyone was in tears, it's something special," Vohs said. "We're going to look back on this day when we're adults and have families of our own and just tell them, we did this, we were the first team to ever do this. 

"It's that big of a deal. We're going down in history."



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