November 26, 2010
Fort Wayne Bishop Luers Repeats, Wins Ninth State Championship
Bishop Luers scored three second half touchdowns to blow open a close game and won a record-tying ninth state championship with its 26-14 decision over North Putnam at Lucas Oil Stadium.
It was the second consecutive year the Knights (14-1) reeled in the Class 2A state title and tied them with Indianapolis Bishop Chatard and Sheridan for most in state history. Chatard plays in the 3A championship game on Saturday.
With Luers leading 7-0 at halftime, Michael Rogers finished off the opening drive of the second half with a three yard run and Deangelo Fincher later scored on an 11-yard carry with 1:24 left in the quarter to extend the Knights’ lead to 20-0.
North Putnam (14-1) got on the board early in the fourth on Travis Franklin’s 13 yard run capping a 10 play drive to make it 20-7. Three plays into Luers’ next possession, North Putnam’s Caleb Vondersaar picked off his state finals record-tying third interception of the game at the Cougars’ 43 yard line. North Putnam gave it right back though on the next play as the Cougars fumbled the handoff and Luers’ Everett Green scooped it up and ran it back for a 39 yard touchdown killing the North Putnam momentum. The two point attempt failed and Luers owned a 26-7 lead with 7:35 left.
The Cougars’ Hank Spencer later blocked a Luers punt at its own 16 and Travis Katt recovered it in the endzone to cut the lead to 26-14 with 2:43 left.
Bishop Luers had set up its first score of the game when Kendrick Mullen intercepted a North Putnam pass with 5:58 before halftime and returned it to the Cougars 22 yard line. Five plays later, older brother Kenny Mullen carried seven yards for the score and the kick made it 7-0.
Vondersaar’s three interceptions set a 2A state championship game record and tied the state finals record set by Wes Kendall of Zionsville in the 1996 3A championship game.
The state championship also marked the eighth for Luers coach Matt Lindsay tying him with Dick Dullaghan for second-most in state history.
North Putnam, coached by Greg Barrett, was playing in its first state championship game in any sport.
North Putnam’s Travis Franklin Named Mental Attitude Award Winner
North Putnam senior Travis Franklin was selected by members of the IHSAA Executive Committee as this year’s winner of the Phil N. Eskew Mental Attitude Award in Class 2A Football.
The award, named in honor of the IHSAA’s third commissioner who served from 1962-76, is presented annually to a senior in each classification who best demonstrates excellence in mental attitude, scholarship, leadership and athletic ability.
Academically, Franklin ranks 10th in his senior class of 125 students and has been a two-time selection of the Wabash Valley All-Academic Team. He intends to pursue a business management degree but is undecided on his college choice.
Franklin has received All-County, All-Conference and All-Wabash Valley recognition for his play on the field. He is a member of the National Honor Society, Students Against Destructive Decisions, a school ambassador, and a graduate of the school’s Teen Student Leadership Academy.
Besides football, Franklin has been a three-year starter in basketball for the Cougars and also has run track three years.
He is the son of Steve and Leonora Franklin of Roachdale.
Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance, the IHSAA’s corporate partner, presented a scholarship check for $1,000.00 to North Putnam High School in the name of Franklin. Since 1989, more than $707,000 in college scholarships have been presented by Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance to deserving high school students in Indiana.
Comments from Fort Wayne Bishop Luers Coach Matt Lindsay
“I’m proud of these kids in the senior class, they’ve done some great things the last two years. Congratulations to North Putnam they have a heck of a football team…It’s just nice to come out of here with a victory.”
(Asked about Kenny Mullen’s game)
“He did whatever we wanted him to do on both sides of the ball and special teams. He is a great player and a team player as well.”
(Assess this championship vs. previous eight)
“They are all nice. I can’t put into words to compare. All I can do is say how proud I am of this particular group.”
(Is this the best Luers team ever?)
“I would never say that. There have been too many great Luers teams over the years. This is a fun team and exciting to watch and brought home another title to Luers.”
(Asked about North Putnam)
“They didn’t back down. No question, they’re a very good defensive team, hard-nosed, played hard for four quarters and never quit. They made some plays there in the fourth quarter when I thought we could blow it open that kept it close.”
Comments from North Putnam Coach Greg Barrett
“I’m very proud of our team tonight. They left it all on the field. Luers is a great team with a lot of good players. Our senior bunch has been unbelievable. They have set the stage for North Putnam football and we want to keep this tradition going.”
“In the first half, offensively, we had some opportunities to punch one in. They are fast, but I thought our defense contained them pretty well. We shot ourselves in the foot a few times and you can’t do that in a state championship game. Without that turnover it could be 0-0 at halftime.”
“We got beat by the better team tonight. We created problems for ourselves. But our guys laid it all out tonight and they need to be proud of themselves.”
“That fumble (returned by Luers for a touchdown) killed us. It could be a six-point game if we don’t create that turnover. But we got back when we blocked that punt. It all comes down to turnovers.”
(On North Putnam’s first touchdown)
“(Travis) Franklin made a good run. We had nice blocking on the edge all night. But sometimes we went inside instead of outside or vice versa. But that time he read it right.”
“We work on the punt block every day in practice. We wanted it and we went after it.”