A berth in the state championship is on the line this week with Bishop Dwenger, Bishop Luers and Adams Central looking to represent northeast Indiana next weekend in Indianapolis.
We here at Outside the Huddle will break down each showdown, continuing today with West Lafayette and Bishop Luers.
1. PASSING THE PASSING TEST
While the SAC was strong this year, it lacked a significant amount of teams with a dynamic passing attack. Homestead was dangerous, Northrop too, but the majority of teams’ offensive backbone was the run game.
That was the case with Bishop Luers’ foe last week. Mishawaka Marian was a run-first team that was taken out of its element when it needed to pass. The Knights stifled the run and won easily.
But West Lafayette is different. The Red Devils can pass. Quarterback Kyle Adams has thrown 42 touchdowns. He has five different receivers that have caught five or more passes.
The Knights’ defense is improved. Is it improved enough to slow down this offense?
2. A LONG TIME COMING
These two traditional powers (a combined 13 state titles) have not met since 1993. West Lafayette beat the Knights 27-7 in the playoffs that year, going on to capture its first state championship in program history.
Concordia has had a few run-ins with the Red Devils in the last couple of years, the most recent being two years ago when the Cadets dropped 62 in a lopsided victory.
3. FIELD CONDITIONS
This is always a topic of conversation in high school, particularly in November. After a winter storm on Thursday, field conditions will be no better than they were last week at Luersfield.
Cutting and avoiding slippage will be difficult, but it will be the same conditions for both teams. With two teams predicated on big plays from its offense, and Luers having already handled the conditions well last week on that side of the ball, could it be advantage Knights?
FOUR PLAYERS TO WATCH
RB JORDAN PRESLEY, BISHOP LUERS
What’s not to love about Mr. Presley? He runs hard, he runs well and he is a potential highlight every time he touches the ball.
Last week, the senior scored the first four touchdowns of the game, with some help from his quarterback.
Heading into Friday, Presley has over 2,300 all-purpose yards on the year, 1,200 more than the next highest Knight in the category (Justin Gaston).
West Lafayette will surely key on Presley, but that’s nothing new. Defenses have been unable to contain him for most of the season.
DE GEORGE KARLAFTIS, WEST LAFAYETTE
At 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, Karlaftis is one scary-looking dude. His stat line is scary too, with 98 tackles, 15.5 sacks and an incredible 48 tackles for loss.
The four-star Purdue commitment is a terror in the offensive backfield. With Luers so good at turning the edge on teams, Karlaftis is so good he almost shuts out an entire side of the field. He’s that impressive folks.
He could be a huge problem on Friday.
WR JANARION MOORE, BISHOP LUERS
Presley gets a lot of the pub, but Moore has been on an absolute tear in the playoffs.
The junior has hauled in seven touchdowns in the playoffs thus far, bettering his six TD receptions through the entirety of the regular season.
The Knights will need another big night from him if they are to advance.
QB KYLE ADAMS, WEST LAFAYETTE
While Adams’ stat line is impressive in itself, what he has done since mid-September is incredible.
Adams threw six interceptions over the first five games of the year. Since then, he has thrown just one along with 23 touchdowns.
This is a kid that makes good decisions with the football. Luers has picked off 14 passes on the year, but it may only get a few chances to do so on Friday. It must make the most of the opportunities when Adams presents them.
KEYS TO VICTORY – WEST LAFAYETTE
1. LIMIT JORDAN PRESLEY
Presley has been held below 100 total yards just three times this year. The Knights are 1-2 in those games.
The senior has been a terror in the playoffs, but the quality of opponent has been lacking in most of Luers’ postseason matchups thus far.
West Lafayette must respect the multitude of Knights’ playmakers on the field, but it will pay particular attention to No. 2.
2. AIR IT OUT
To beat Bishop Luers, you must score points. That much is obvious, with an average of over 60 points per game being scored in the Knights’ games this season.
West Lafayette has the offensive weapons to match Bishop Luers score for score if that’s what this game comes down to. Some may think that the Red Devils should attempt to limit possessions by grinding out yards offensively. That is not a sound strategy. West Lafayette needs to be the aggressor from the opening kick and stay that way.
KEYS TO VICTORY – BISHOP LUERS
West Lafayette is going to score points in this game, so the Knights must match them.
While the Luers defense has improved, it will face a much bigger challenge than Mishawaka Marian presented last week.
Knapke, Presley, Moore, Jamic Johnson and the other offensive studs must be on their game on Friday. It may take more than 30 points to win this game.
2. STUNT AGAINST KARLAFTIS
Karlaftis is one of those players that is so good that it affects how an entire offense attacks a defense. He is capable of taking one side of the field completely away in the running game, much like how a lockdown corner can do the same in the pass game.
The Luers offensive line does not get enough credit for just how good it has been in opening up holes in the run game and giving Knpake time to throw. Friday is the biggest challenge of the year. Can the OL hold its own?
Weather and field conditions permitting, this one should be a shootout at Luersfield. The quarterback matchup pits Norman Knapke (36 passing touchdowns) and Kyle Adams (42 TDs).
The problem for the Knights is finding enough offense to overcome a defensive unit that has allowed over 14 points in a game just three times this year. The Red Devils’ defense is anchored by defensive end George Karlaftis, a four-star Purdue commitment that has 15.5 sacks, 98 tackles and 48(!) tackles for loss.
Despite the dominance of Karlaftis, Bishop Luers should have opportunities in the pass game and in special teams with its playmakers. This one likely comes down to which team capitalizes in the vertical pass game more.
In the end, Blitz thinks West Lafayette has too much on both sides of the ball.
Can Jordan Presley and Co. prove Blitz wrong?
BLITZ PICKS WEST LAFAYETTE BY 2.
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