As we prepare for Friday’s Class 2A state title football game, we wanted to look at a few of the guys who don’t get as much recognition sometimes but have been huge for Bishop Luers’ program during the 2020 season.
EVAN LINKER, MLB
A player that spent about the first half of the regular season finding a role on the reserve roster, Linker has blossomed into a huge part of the Knights defense. He started week 5 against North Side as the Knights made moves up front to be quicker on defense. Linker’s intelligence has been crucial as Bishop Luers make calls and moves players around. Linker repositions his line, as he did last week against Pioneer, and makes big stops. One of those plays, where he helped teammates make a realignment, came in stopping Pioneer from taking a late lead on a two point conversion attempt.
Linker sits fourth on the team in tackles at 73 with 20 solo tackles. He has also recovered a fumble and has a pair of sacks.
“He’s just kind of taken off,” Bishop Luers coach Kyle Lindsay said. “I don’t know about statistically, but the eye can tell you a lot. Of our linebacking core, he is our best tackler. He’s got a great nose for the ball.”
JOHNNY SEWELL, FS/WR
A senior three-sport athlete, Sewell has played both sides of the ball for the Knights throughout this season. Because he plays so much baseball, Sewell can come into the fall a little behind the curve, but started to make consistent plays in the second half of the season. The first half of the season, Sewell spent a majority of his time on offense, but the Knights have seen great growth from him in on the defensive side. Midway through the year, Sewell stepped up due to injury on the roster and the staff agreed Sewell was ready to play both sides of the ball and he’s blossomed as a safety, being very physical. Sewell caught his first touchdown pass of the season in the semi state win over Pioneer that put the Knights up eight points.
Sewell has 39 receptions for 473 yards on the season. He also has 62 tackles, an interception, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
“He is a very consistent route runner, catching the ball. He is kind of a security blanket for Carson [Clark],” Lindsay said. “Johnny has been mister consistent out wide, picking up first downs, getting some YAC [yards after catch], making some plays…I’m convinced, without Johnny on the field, we aren’t playing for a state championship.”
MASON DARING, OLB
A wrestler’s mentality has helped Daring excel on the football field. A 5-foot-9, 180 pounds junior, Daring isn’t the biggest presence on the field but he has played like it. Leading the Knights in total tackles with 120, Daring has also registered 11 tackles for loss. Daring is a quick and gritty presence that tackles very well once he gets his hands on the offensive player. His quickness makes him extremely difficult to block and he does a consistent job getting around the ball. Daring also has a sack, two fumble recoveries and two pass deflections registered.
“He is just a kid that knows nothing but 100 percent,” Lindsay said.
ANTWIAN LAKE, CB/WR
Bishop Luers saw a lot of promise in Lake in 2019, but they were looking for more strength and consistency. He had a great offseason before the 2020 campaign and now, defensively, Lake is very technical in how he plays the game. Lake’s run support has been helpful as he has had to help make plays and make hits during the regular season against the SAC schedule. With the offense trying to show depth and spread the ball around, Lake has a solid set of hands they can put the ball into, including a play in the fourth quarter last week against Pioneer where Lake adjusted on a pass to his back heel and caught the ball on his back shoulder as his butt was hitting the ground.
Lake has made 21 catches for 289 yards, has two interceptions and nine pass deflections.
“He has played really lights out football the majority of this season on defense,” Lindsay said. “Antwian has risen to the moment every time it has been required of him. He has been big time for us in both facets of the game.”
FOSTER JOHNSON, RT
When you talk unheralded players, offensive linemen are usually at the forefront. A year ago, Johnson started to come out of his shell being forced to play offensive line out of need. In 2020, he has seen narrow time on the defensive line because of how valuable he is on the offensive side. Johnson has been big in pass protection from the right tackle position as he is very physical and his stature at 6-foot tall makes him a great bookend for the Knights. He also is strong as a run blocker, but the pass protection has been where Lindsay and Luers have seen the biggest impact.
“Foster is at the forefront of why we’ve had success offensively and our strong offensive line play,” Lindsay said. “We felt the effects of not having Foster week six, he got hurt in the third quarter against Northrop and you could just tell we weren’t at full strength. We weren’t very good up front without Foster. You could probably take any piece of an offensive line and say without them, you aren’t good. But in terms of balance out there, we missed Foster.”