Most will look at the trio of Adams Central, Bishop Luers and Snider and think it’s just another season for a trio of blue bloods to reach the state championship.
To a certain extent, that is true. After all, these programs have combined for 31 state appearances.
But each of the three have taken a different road to the pinnacle this season. While Adams Central was a heavy favorite to reach its third-straight state championship, Bishop Luers didn’t look like a squad early on that could pull this off. And Snider? Well, you just never knew what you were going to get, especially after dropping an overtime decision to Homestead in Week 6.
Let’s take a look at each area team and the road to Lucas Oil Stadium.
Surprising? No. But that doesn’t make the Flying Jets’ season any less impressive.
From the jump, Adams Central’s goal was to return to Indy for a third year in a row. It has accomplished that in dominant fashion, winning games by an average of 35 points per game.
We took AC for granted so much that when they weren’t up multiple scores at the end of the first quarter, we took notice – such as the sectional title win over Madison-Grant and last Friday’s semistate against North Judson.
It may seem easy to coach an ultra-talented squad that rolls through opponents, but it has its difficulties. Imagine Coach Michael Mosser and his staff trying to critique the team after a 38-0 win over Heritage or a 48-0 blanking of South Adams. It can be hard. Yet week after week, the Flying Jets have come out and dominated their opponents.
It is very much a sense of unfinished business with another scrap with Indianapolis Lutheran on tap for Friday morning.
Adams Central is where it was expected to be. That makes it no less impressive in making it three times in three years representing the ACAC in the state finals.
Blitz has already seen the comments on social media, about how Bishop Luers should be bumped up to Class 3A because of its ‘easy’ road to state.
First off, did you see Bishop Luers in the first two weeks of the season? Blitz did. In Week 1, he watched the Knights get absolutely owned in the trenches by East Noble in a 45-7 loss. New Haven exposed further weaknesses in Bishop Luers one week later in a 29-point victory over the Knights.
Bishop Luers took advantage of a reasonably weak schedule in the SAC, but it did beat teams like Wayne, North Side and Bishop Dwenger in dramatic fashion, showcasing the fact that the Knights were maturing and getting better over the course of the season.
Wins over Eastside and Bluffton were tough grinds and absolutely earned. But most folks (with the exception of animated cohort Sideline Swami) predicted the Knights’ run would end against a complete Lafayette Central Catholic squad in semistate.
Instead, Bishop Luers put on a clinic on the defensive side, holding LCC scoreless until late in a 28-7 win.
This isn’t your traditional Luers team where it has much better talent than anyone else in 2A. It’s a team that has had to work and grind and improve over the course of the season to get to the big stage.
This year has been all about NOT falling short.
In 2022, a seven-point loss to Carroll in Week 2 eventually ended up being what cost the Panthers the SAC Victory Bell. The season came to an even more heartbreaking ending with a 22-21 overtime defeat at the hands of Valparaiso.
Coach Kurt Tippmann made sure that the memories of last year did not fade away, but instead were used as fuel for this season’s squad.
Even with a loss to Homestead in Week 6, Snider captured a share of the SAC championship. Unlike last fall, the Panthers not only triumphed in semistate, but did it in dominant fashion in a 28-0 dub over Merrillville.
Blitz has seen the scenario time and again where a program or coach tries to “replicate” Snider elsewhere in FWCS. It isn’t that easy. You can get talent. You can bring in successful coaches. But it is all about execution.
If you cannot execute when it counts, you aren’t Snider. When you can’t avoid penalties or turnovers at crucial times, you aren’t Snider. If you cannot come through in the clutch with the game on the line, you aren’t Snider.
That has proven once again with the Panthers headed back to state for the first time since 2015.
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