Kyle Lindsay made a decision.
It wasn’t a hard one.
Down one in the first overtime to rival Bishop Dwenger, the Bishop Luers head coach didn’t hesitate.
Go for two. And the win.
After a defensive pass interference moved the ball to the one-and-a-half yard line, Lindsay, who serves as the offensive coordinator for the Knights, called the simplest of plays – a give right up the middle to senior Mickey Daring.
It worked, with Daring plunging into the end zone for a 29-28 Knights win, an episode in perseverance on a challenging night for Lindsay and his team.
Playing without three defensive starters, including top cornerback McKale Woodson, Luers had to receive key contributions from other places, especially when trying to defend Dwenger playmaker Carter Minix.
Over the course of the game, injuries piled up, including Daring, who was helped off the field multiple times with cramping issues.
In a way, perseverance is the word to describe Bishop Luers’ season. After a pair of losses to open the season by a combined score of 81-14, no one expected the Knights to be a factor in the SAC title chase. Yet here they are, a win away from clinching at least a share of its second league title in three years. With wins over both South Side and Homestead over the next two weeks, Luers will win its first outright SAC crown in 12 years.
While the game-winning call looked simple, it was far from a sure thing. Bishop Luers had difficulty running the football all night. It finished the game averaging 1.4 yards per carry, meaning that the 54-inch plunge by Daring to win the game exceeded the team’s average on the ground.
But there were many heroes, not just Daring. Kohen McKenzie shrugged off early accuracy issues to be the senior leader that Coach Lindsay envisioned when he was named QB1. McKenzie threw some dots on a three-touchdown night – a perfect back-shoulder fade to Isaac Zay for the first points of the game late in the first quarter, a drag to Gio Jimenez for a 40-yard score early in the third and a big-time strike down the field for 83 yards to Jaylen White that put the Knights up seven late in the third.
Bishop Dwenger (3-4, 3-2 SAC) had its opportunities. Two turnovers in the red zone hurt, none bigger than in the final minute of regulation, a fumble that cost the Saints an opportunity at the winning points prior to OT. It struck quickly on one play on its possession in overtime, but two defensive pass interference penalties on Bishop Luers’ possession helped set the stage for the Knights’ victory.
The Knights (5-2, 5-0), that team everyone counted out after Weeks 1 and 2, are in the prime spot of the SAC. Scheduling helps, without Snider or Carroll on the schedule, but persistent steps forward and pulling out close games (3-0 in games decided by three points or less), has earned Coach Lindsay’s team the position they are in.
Oh and Daring? The hero of the moment in OT despite cramping issues? He celebrated the win on his back, cramping up yet again, before popping up and waving his arms to fire up the crowd.