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Posted on Fri. Nov. 23, 2012 - 12:01 am EDT

CLASS 2A STATE FINAL

Luers’ defense gets final test

Tough unit faces high-powered Ritter offense

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Who: Bishop Luers (10-4) vs. Indpls. Ritter (14-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Where: Lucas Oil Stadium

Radio: 1380 AM, 1450 AM, 1480 AM, 106.7 FM

TV: NBC33

Web: www.ihsaatv.org

The Bishop Luers defense has faced several good offenses this year and fared pretty well.

But the Knights haven’t gone up against a passing game like the one they will face in Indianapolis Ritter in the Class 2A state title game tonight.

Led by junior quarterback Jake Purichia, the top-ranked Raiders (14-0) averaged 50 points this season and haven’t scored less than 48 in the postseason.

“I don’t think we have faced a team who is as prolific passing this year,” Bishop Luers interim coach Steve Keefer said. “We have played teams who are pretty good passing teams, but they do it really well so that will be a challenge.”

Purichia has thrown for 2,717 yards and 42 touchdowns with only five interceptions.

“Luers has some guys who have speed, and we are going to have to make sure we contain all of them,” Ritter coach Ty Hunt said. “I am pretty confident we have some guys on my side of the ball who can get some things accomplished. We have put up some great numbers, and we are going to try to continue putting up some more.”

Alex Parrett is Purichia’s main target with 69 catches for 1,346 yards and 26 touchdowns, and Jake Hagen is right behind with 40 catches for 714 yards and eight touchdowns.

The three-time defending 2A state champion Knights (10-4) have given up 13.5 points per game. That includes two losses against Ohio competition (Toledo Whitmer and Columbus Hartley) in which they surrendered 60 total points, almost a third of the 189 points given up.

Luers has at least two Division I athletes on its defense in senior linebacker Jaylon Smith (Notre Dame recruit) and senior safety TyVel Jemison (Purdue offer).

“We have a few athletes over there, and that always helps out,” Keefer said. “We have some iron men on the line, and we have a great linebacking crew.”

Keefer credits coaches Lew Goodwin, Matt Millhouse and Joe Kimes for the program’s traditionally tough defense.

“Coach Keefer has this group going, and Jaylon Smith does a great job at the linebacker spot,” Hunt said.

“We are going to make sure we make the key reads, and we have some things organized here and there to find the matchups that we like. When it is all said and done that’s what you look at. If our guys do what we ask them to do, we are going to be happy.”

Four of the Knights were named to the first-team All-SAC defense: Smith, linebacker Aaron LaMaster, lineman Dan Beckman and defensive back Kendrick Mullen. Two Luers defenders have more than 100 tackles with Nick Deiser having 107 and Jermar’quay Brooks with 104.

Keefer said he likes his team’s matchups against the Raiders, even with the Raiders’ scoring prowess.

“They have a wide-open offense passing-wise,” Keefer said.

“They run the ball very well, and they have a lot of speed. Fortunately, we have speed as well, and we match up pretty well. It’s going to be a great ballgame.”

gjones@jg.net


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