INDIANAPOLIS – Adversity is a tired word these days. It seems like every time an individual or team has success, “adversity” is thrown around as a rallying cry. But Bishop […]
INDIANAPOLIS – Adversity is a tired word these days.
It seems like every time an individual or team has success, “adversity” is thrown around as a rallying cry.
But Bishop Dwenger…yeah, let’s talk adversity.
The preseason saw debate over Jason Garrett, the first-year coach of the Saints. The talk in the press was over an incident between Garrett and a player a few years ago. Some wanted Garrett gone before he had even coached a snap, while others rallied around him.
How about losing one of your best two-way players in the second week of the season? When Patrick Finley went down with an injury against North Side, it set back both the offense and defense.
Adversity continued hours before Friday’s kickoff against Evansville Central in the Class 4A title game when one of Bishop Dwenger’s two team charter buses broke down on the way to Indianapolis. By the time the Saints got to Indy, a planned walk through at Ritter High School turned into a slippery quick refresh of important points on the hard concrete of a convention room at Lucas Oil Stadium.
On Friday, the Saints had to overcome a sluggish offensive attack. It converted just nine first downs. It survived two missed field goals by Michael Garrett (who bounced back a game-tying field goal in the second OT). It shrugged off 11 penalties for 120 yards.
But in the end, despite it all, despite everything, Bishop Dwenger brought home a championship.
“Everything we overcame during the season, before the season even started…it was great for our seniors to finish it,” Garrett said.
It was an improbable 16-10 four-overtime victory, the longest game in IHSAA Football State Championship history. Fittingly, the fifth state title in Bishop Dwenger football history came on an outside run by T.J. Tippmann, a senior two-way player that three years ago was a freshman as the Saints pounded East Central in the 4A championship.
Bishop Dwenger stiffened when it counted. It held Evansville Central scoreless in its first four red zone possessions. Charlie Howe, long the forgotten linebacker on a unit loaded with talent, stepped in front of a Brennon Harper pass for an interception, putting a halt to the Bears’ possession in the fourth overtime.
Two plays later, the Saints scored and the celebration began.
As the overtimes passed, the mindset didn’t change on the Bishop Dwenger sideline.
“We don’t blink,” Garrett said. “We knew it was going to be a fight. We anticipated adversity. I never saw a moment of doubt. I never saw a moment of fear.”
In this instance, it absolutely fits.
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