TIPTON – Bishop Luers overcame a fourth-quarter deficit to come away with a 22-12 win over No. 4 Tipton in a Class 2A regional Friday.
It was No. 5 Luers’ third straight regional title won at Tipton.
Luers (9-4) won its 22nd straight postseason game and, next week, will play a semistate game at Andrean (11-2), which defeated Lewis Cass 67-66 in five overtimes.
The Knights trailed 12-6 early in the fourth quarter on a 1-yard touchdown run on fourth down by Tipton quarterback Austin Hooker.
It was the first time Luers trailed in the postseason.
Our kids didn’t get down on themselves, and they hung in there, Luers interim coach Steve Keefer said. We have been to the dance before. We have played a lot of tough games this year against a tough schedule, so we weren’t going to lay down.
Notre Dame recruit Jaylon Smith ran for 78 yards and three touchdowns for the Knights.
Smith’s run with six minutes left and two-point conversion run gave the Knights a 15-12 advantage.
It was leading by example, Smith said. You can talk enough, but if you can’t get out there and perform, you aren’t going to be successful.
The go-ahead drive came right after the Blue Devils (11-2) had taken the lead. The five-minute drive was almost entirely runs by Smith.
We went to our power game, and we decided we were going to get physical, Keefer said. We put our big guys in there, let them open some seams and let Jaylon do the rest.
It wasn’t anything Tipton didn’t know was coming from Luers.
They are handing the football to the best football player in the state of Indiana every time, and it’s not easy to get a stop, Tipton coach Aaron Tolle said of Smith. To their credit, they went down the field and scored when they needed to.
We went toe-to-toe with a really good football team for a long time.
Smith, who had to switch jersey numbers from No. 9 to No. 19 in the first half, added a 13-yard scoring run four minutes later to help take the margin to 22-12 with 1:57 left.
Every game is won in the trenches, and we were losing that at first, Smith said. We just had to overcome adversity, and we were good.
Our motto during that drive was five yards at a time.
Smith also had a 92-yard scoring run called back because of a penalty.
Not more so that it got called back, but I was tired, and I had to fight it, Smith said of any frustration because the long run was nullified.
Luers took a 7-0 lead in the second quarter on a 5-yard scoring run by Smith.
In the third, Tipton got to within a point when James Altherr ran in from 2 yards for a 7-6 Luers lead.
On the point-after attempt, Luers jumped offside, and Tipton went for the two-point conversion from the closer distance, but Altherr was stopped short.