Indianapolis Lutheran repeats as Class 1A state champion

by | Nov 26, 2022 | Football Blogs, Headlines, RRSN News | 0 comments

by Mike Beas, Special to IHSAA.org

Questioned about which of his touchdown catches on Saturday was his favorite, DeVuan Jones hesitated for a few seconds.

The Lutheran sophomore, after all, had three from which to choose.

“I’ll probably say the corner. Well, actually the one down there,” said Jones, pointing toward the north end zone inside Lucas Oil Stadium following the Saints 30-13 victory over Adams Central in the Class 1A state championship game. “The second one.”

Having captured back-to-back titles, Lutheran on Saturday applied the final touches to a second consecutive 15-0 season. The Saints last loss was a 46-38 decision against eventual 2020 state champion Covenant Christian in a sectional title matchup.

“Quite frankly, you look at what our seniors have done, they’ve lost three football games in their career,” said 15th-year Saints coach Dave Pasch, whose program has won 52 of 55 games since the start of the 2019 campaign. “Our formula is team football.

“We ask everybody to do their job. You never know what the game is going to offer. You have to be consistent, you have to be good at all the phases and all the different elements that go along with it. Every week is different. Every game is different.”

Sophomore quarterback Jackson Willis was at his pinpoint best against the Fighting Jets in a rematch of the 2021 final, completing 17 of 19 pass attempts for 278 yards and four touchdowns. Jones snagged seven of those aerials for 121 yards, his scores being 67, 7 and 23 yards, while senior running back Joe Davis carrying the football 18 times for 72 yards.

Adams Central junior fullback Keegan Bluhm was plenty busy, carrying 27 times for 157 yards as the Jets finished the season with a 14-1 mark.

“I wouldn’t say we’re a pass-first or a run-first team. We’re pretty balanced,” said Willis. “We’ve got a great running back, a great line and great receivers. If we need to, we can run. If we need to, we can pass.”

The left-handed Willis spiraled a pair of impressive touchdown passes in the second quarter alone that allowed Lutheran to erase a 7-3 deficit and take a 16-7 advantage into the locker room at halftime.

An abrupt about-face in momentum took place at 7:54 of the second period when Saints strong safety Jake Akins laid a hit on Adams Central quarterback Ryan Black, forcing a fumble that was chased down by none other than Akins himself.

Four plays later, Willis tossed a 14-yard timing strike to senior receiver Micah Mackay in the back corner of the end zone to give Lutheran a lead it wouldn’t relinquish. The previous play, a Willis-to-Mackay pass covering 29 yards, put the Saints in the red zone.

The Saints defense forced a punt on the ensuing offensive series, the home run play of the opening half being Willis hitting Jones in stride at the Jets’ 42. The sophomore caught the ball over his left shoulder and was gone down the sideline for a 67-yard touchdown with 1:22 remaining before intermission.

Freshman placekicker Dax Lockliear was responsible for the game’s first points thanks to a 30-yard field goal that put Lutheran ahead, 3-0, with 5:36 remaining in the opening period. Adams Central kicker Trevor Currie had a chance to pull his team closer with a 30-yarder of his own at 3:52 of the third stanza, but his attempt from the left hash mark was no good.

Lutheran responded by driving 80 yards in seven plays, Willis’ 7-yard swing pass to Jones in the left flat making it a 23-7 game inside the final minute of the third.

Adams Central countered with a long drive of its own, punctuated by Black’s 20-yard keeper around left end at 7:56 of the final period to trim the lead to 23-13. The attempt to make it a one-score game again was no good as the Jets were stopped on a 2-point conversion run up the middle.

Lutheran’s final touchdown was Jones’ 23-yard reception with 3:28 remaining in the fourth quarter, putting the game out of reach.

Saturday’s game was the fifth time the same two Class 1A programs squared off in the championship game in consecutive seasons, joining Carroll (Flora)-Tri-West (1995-1996), Seeger-Ritter (2003-2004), Lafayette Central Catholic-Fountain Central (2009-2010) and LCC-Scecina (2011-2012).

“I definitely wouldn’t say it’s easy,” said Willis. “It’s challenging just like the rest. You could even say it’s a lot more challenging because they’ve played us before, and they know how to stop us. Adams Central is a great team with a lot of great athletes.”

Class 1A Records

TEAM RECORDS

Most Passing Touchdowns (Tied): 4 by Indianapolis Lutheran vs. Adams Central, 2022.

INDIVIDUAL RECORDS

Most Passing Touchdowns (Tied): 4 by Jackson Willis, Indianapolis Lutheran vs. Adams Central, 2022.

Most TD Receptions (Tied): 3 by DeVuan Jones, Indianapolis Lutheran vs. Adams Central, 2022.

Lutheran’s Micah Mackay earns the Blake Ress Mental Attitude Award

During the awards ceremony, Micah Mackay of Indianapolis Lutheran High School was announced by the IHSAA Executive Committee as the recipient of the Blake Ress Mental Attitude Award in Class 1A Football.

The award is annually presented to a senior who is nominated by his principal and coach, and has demonstrated excellence in mental attitude, scholarship, leadership and athletic ability during his four years of high school.

Mackay is an outstanding student holding a 4.1 GPA, is a member of the National Honor Society and a Student Ambassador at Lutheran High School.

Micah is a three-sport athlete lettering in football, basketball, and baseball. He was a Class 1A All-State pick last year as a wide receiver and ranks third in the state in receiving yards starting today’s game with 1,403 yards and 16 TDs.

He is the son of Marcus and Jena Mackay of Zionsville, IN. He is undecided on a college choice but has a desire to study mechanical engineering.

The award is named in honor of Commissioner Emeritus Blake Ress, who served as the IHSAA’s seventh commissioner from 2000-11.

The Indianapolis Colts, a corporate partner of the IHSAA, presented a $1,000 scholarship to Lutheran High School’s general scholarship fund in the name of Micah Mackay.

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