“This is the type of game that we thought would make our program better,” explained Coach Lee Etzler. “Hopefully next time we are in this situation we are a little more even keeled.”
Going into Friday night’s contest the Eagles knew that they were going into battle with one of the elite teams in the state. In the opening quarter the Eagles defense came out fast as they got to James Knapke, Bishop Luers quarterback, for a 12 yard loss. But Knapke hit Michael Rogers on the next play for a 29 yard gain to keep the Knight drive alive. Four plays later Jaylon Smith scored from seven yards out to give the Knights the early advantage. Churubusco and Luers both would go three and out on their next possessions.
The Eagles put together a ten play drive to run out the opening quarter. Two big plays in the drive were to the tight end Sam Siddons. The first was a pass interference by a Luers defender getting the Eagles across midfield. And the second was a completed pass from Alex Zolman to Siddons for a 14 yard gain. The drive stalled at the Luers’ 30 as the Eagles were unsuccessful on a fourth down attempt. Smith would score his second touchdown capping off a nine play drive for the Knights. The Eagles turned a third and long into a first down as Zolman found Josh LeFever for a 14 yard pickup. But on fourth down and with Busco in punt formation the Eagles faked the punt. Bishop Luers stopped the try and took over at the Eagle 39 yard line. The Knights scored in four plays as Smith cut back against the Eagle defense from five yards out for the touchdown giving Luers a 21-0 lead. Following an Eagle fumble Luers had the ball just outside the Busco 20 with under two minutes remaining in the half. On third and seven with the Knights looking to pass Brian Richardson and Joe Zumbrun sacked Knapke for a seven yard loss. And as time ran out in the half LeFever blocked the Knights field goal try.
Churubusco began the second half like they looked all season picking up three first downs with a 12 yard run by LeFever, a 17 yard gain by Kane Johnson and a ten yard run by Jason Nicodemus. The Eagle threat ended with an interception by Luers. The Knights took seven plays to find the end zone to give them a 28-0 lead over the Eagles. Churubusco would go three and out on their next two possessions while Luers went three and out on their next possession aided by another sack by Richardson. The quarter ended with a fumble by Luers recovered by Nicodemus.
The Eagles would give it right back with a fumble of their own at the three yard line. Luers would score on the third play from four yards out making it 34-0 after the missed extra point. Busco settled into an eleven play drive collecting four first downs. On a third and 23 LeFever picked up 19 yards and then on fourth down and four he gained 13 yards. Nicodemus ran for 25 on the next play to the four yard line. A lost fumble ended the Eagle drive. The defense held the Knights to a three and out and took over at midfield. Churubusco went to work on what would be their final drive of the season. Braydon Shively picked up a first down with a seven yard run. And Shively got the next first down with a one yard run following Nicodemus’ nine yard gain. LeFever picked up seven and a Luers’ penalty gave the Eagles the ball at the 12 yard line. Nicodemus would get ten yards on his final run of the year. LeFever took the ball in from two yards out for the touchdown with just over a minute left.
“Can’t say how proud we are of those kids,” recalled Coach Etzler when asked about this year’s team. “Wasn’t a lot of people expected us to do a whole lot this year. They saw the teams before them have success and they put forth the attitude and work ethic to make them successful.”
It was a great run by the Eagles this season as they have put themselves in the Churubusco record books. With a lot of younger players getting experience 2012 should bring the Eagles success. And just think, we are only 37 weeks away from two-a-day practices.