By the end of South Adams' resounding 42-9 win over Lafayette Central Catholic in the Class A semistate game Friday, it was easy to forget that the Knights took the lead on a field goal just over a minute into the game, or that the Starfires' first drive almost stalled out around midfield.
The Starfires (13-0) appeared to be lining up to punt on fourth-and-8 from the 40 when coach Grant Moser called a timeout.
“It's embarrassing to admit, we actually use the new analytics the NFL uses,” Moser said. “I always like to say it doesn't work. This was the first time that it said, 'You've got to go here.' I was like, are you sure? It looks like a punt, eyeballing this right here. But we had to go upstairs (to the press box), and they gave the go sign.”
Senior quarterback James Arnold threw to senior tight end Nick Miller well beyond the yard to gain. Miller shook off two would-be tacklers, briefly touched his right fingers to the ground to help regain his balance and then ran the remaining 20 or so yards down the sideline untouched by the Knights defense.
“We scored a touchdown, so I guess sometimes analytics do work,” Moser said. “But that was a huge play for us, a turning point, obviously.
Miller finished with 99 total yards and two touchdowns, plus two tackles, one for a loss. Arnold completed 16 of 26 passes for 296 yards and three touchdowns.
But perhaps the most notable stat line belonged to running back Christian Summersett, who had been forced to leave the regional with an injury before halftime. He had 21 carries for 130 yards and two touchdowns as the Starfires claimed the program's first semistate championship.
“He came to talk to me on Monday and said, 'I'm fine,' and I said, 'You're not fine, we'll probably see on Thursday,' ” Moser recounted. “Then Tuesday he comes out dressed, ready to go. I said, 'You're not practicing.' But I let him have a few carries, and he looked absolutely great. One hundred percent. I was like, what happened? Obviously, he healed over the weekend. But he had an incredible night tonight. Such a leader for our team.”
Next up for the Starfires is Covenant Christian.
Luers' turnaround continues progress
Bishop Luers is one of the Cinderella stories of the Indiana state tournament this season, going from a 3-6 regular-season record to five straight playoff wins, including a come-from-behind 42-34 semistate triumph over No. 3 Pioneer on Friday, and a spot in the Class 2A state championship game against Western Boone.
It's a familiar position for the Knights. They've won 16 semistate championships in their illustrious history, but they haven't reached the state title game since 2012, when Jaylon Smith, now in the NFL, was making life miserable for opposing offenses.
Despite their pedestrian overall record and the excitement of erasing a 22-point deficit against the Panthers on Friday, Luers took almost no time to dwell on what it has already accomplished.
Mere minutes after quarterback Carson Clark was racing down the field with his helmet held high shouting, “We're going to state, baby,” he was insisting that the Knights have unfinished business.
“It's cool to be going to Lucas Oil (Stadium, in Indianapolis, where the state championship is played), but we gotta win,” Clark said. “That's something that Luers is really good at doing. Most of these coaches have been to state, so they've experienced that and I'm really confident.”
Luers head coach Kyle Lindsay told his team he was proud of its mindset.
“I've heard a lot of 'We're not done yet,' ” Lindsay said in the postgame huddle.