INDIANAPOLIS — When he was done, he took a knee out there on the Lucas Oil Stadium carpet, and simply stared up into the brightest lights he had ever seen.
Just taking a minute to bask in the glow, that’s what Quinn Cook was doing. And why not?
On the biggest stage of his young life, after all, he’d come up as big as you can come up, completing all eight of his passes in the first half and 8 of 10 for 87 yards and a touchdown all told in Luers’ 40-28 victory over previously unbeaten and top-ranked Indianapolis Ritter in the Class 2A state championship game Friday night.
“We knew we were gonna be able to get over the top with our play action, and our game plan every week is to come out strong,” Cook said, when roused from his reverie.
But perfect-first-half strong?
A smile now.
“I wasn’t even thinking about it,” said Cook, who was banged up at the end of the first half and went to the sidelines for one play. “And then I got into halftime and somebody asked me ‘Are you 100 percent?’ and I said, ‘I am.’ ”
A much-maligned passing game caught a lot of people, including Ritter, off guard.
“It was a surprise to them, but we had been game planning for it all week,” Cook said. “It felt good. But we don’t really like to let the media underestimate us. We stay focused and do what we do. It’s all about winning ballgames.”
A wide-open race for Mr. Football might have closed up.
With his performance against Ritter in the 2A title game, Luers’ Jaylon Smith night have put the race all but away.
The Notre Dame recruit and All-American running back and linebacker, ran for 150 yards and three touchdowns at Lucas Oil Stadium.
“I want Mr. Football,” Smith said. “I think I deserved it being a student-athlete. No one from Fort Wayne has ever won it. It would be an honor to bring it to Fort Wayne.”
The honor is presented by the Indianapolis Star and voted on by the members of the Indiana Football Coaches Association.
The winner will be announced in a couple of weeks.
Smith said afterward he was unsure whether he was going to play on the Luers’ basketball team this year.
Because of the new playoff system, the Knights will be playing in 3A next year.
Luers accumulated enough points in the last two years and will participate in the 3A class for the next two years.
Brad Schrader ran for 136 yards on 22 carries to help lead Lafayette Central Catholic to a 14-0 win over Indianapolis Scecina as the Knights captured their fourth Class A state football title.
Ty Preston threw for 121 yards on 5 of 9 passing Friday for the Knights.
Thomas Allgood rushed for 43 yards on seven carries and David Tarver ran for 43 yards on 12 for the Crusaders, who lost to the Knights in the finals for the second straight year. Scecina quarterback Robert Kennick threw for 23 yards on 3 of 10 passing.
The Knights’ Joe Smith scored on a 54-yard touchdown pass from Preston with 8:25 left in the third quarter for the first score.
The Knights beat Scecina a year ago in the championship game, 38-7.