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Bishop Luers, Snider coaches not new to state title games

– Bishop Luers interim coach Steve Keefer and Snider coach Kurt Tippmann know what the state finals is like, just not at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Keefer was the Knights’ head coach in 1983 when the program was the 2A state runner-up at Lawrence Central and in 1985 for the school’s first 2A state championships at the Hoosier Dome, the second year it was played at the former home of the Indianapolis Colts.

The Hoosier Dome became the RCA Dome in 1994, was torn down and replaced by Lucas Oil Stadium, the home of the state finals since 2008.

“Obviously it’s a lot different,” Keefer said Monday at the state finals media session at Lucas Oil Stadium. “It is a great experience. This is your goal every year, and here we are.”

Tippmann was an assistant coach with the Panthers as the 5A state runners-up in 2002 and 2004 and has been the head coach since 2009.

“I don’t get real caught up in that,” said Tippmann, who will be making his first appearance in a state game as the head coach. “I have been fortunate to have been (at state) before as an assistant coach and have been through this before. I am happy for the players, especially for the senior class, because knowing that the last game is in this beautiful venue is great way to cap your high school football career.”

No. 5 Bishop Luers (10-4) will be out to make history Friday when it battles top-ranked Indianapolis Ritter (14-0), trying to be the first 2A program to win four straight state titles. The program has made a state-best 15 appearances in the state finals.

“You hear during the course of the playoffs coaches talking about ‘we didn’t play our best game and we need to get better,’ but we don’t have that problem because they know what it takes to prepare to win, and they come out on Friday night ready to play,” Keefer said of his experienced group.

Keefer was elevated from the freshman coach at midseason to take over for the fired Matt Lindsay.

Ritter stopped Sheridan’s three-year Class A title winning streak in the 2008 state game before being bumped up to 2A a year later.

“We are trying to use that a little bit for our own motivation,” Ritter coach Ty Hunt said of Luers’ streak.

Fourth-ranked Snider (14-0) will play top-ranked Lawrence Central (14-0) in the 5A title game at 7 p.m. Saturday. The Snider program has been to five previous state finals, winning the 1992 5A title. Lawrence Central was the 2010 5A state runners-up.

“If you go back to the annals of history, you will see not a lot of schools get to visit this,” Lawrence Central coach Jayson West said of making the state finals.

State finals

At Lucas Oil Stadium,
Class A
Lafayette Central Catholic (13-1) vs. Indianapolis Scecina (11-3), 3:30 p.m.
Class 2A
Bishop Luers (10-4) vs. Indianpolis Ritter (14-0), 7 p.m.
Class 3A
Hamilton Heights (13-1) vs. Indianapolis Chatard (12-2), noon
Class 4A
Mishawaka (11-3) vs. Indianapolis Cathedral (9-5), 3:30 p.m.
Class 5A
Snider (14-0) vs. Lawrence Central (14-0), 7:05 p.m.
Admission: $15 per day

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