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Bishop Chatard Repeats as Class 3A State Champs
December 2, 2011By Rich Torres of VYPE MAGAZINE - Central Indiana
Records are meant to be broken—and so are ties.
On Friday night at Lucas Oil Stadium, Class 2A Fort Wayne Bishop Luers momentarily tied Class 3A Bishop Chatard as the state’s most prolific high school football program by winning a state-leading 10th football state title.
Their state championship deadlock with the Trojans didn’t last long.
Behind a balanced offensive attack and a stout defensive showing, Bishop Chatard wasted no time reclaiming its place as Indiana’s top football state title holder, defeating South Bend St. Joseph’s 21-7 on Saturday to repeat as state championships.
The title marked the program’s seventh since 2001 and fifth championship repeat overall, dating back to 1983. The Trojans are 11-1 in state finals appearances.
“It’s a tribute to the school and the kids that have played over the years,” Bishop Chatard head coach Vince Lorenzano remarked on his team’s state-record 11th championship. “It’s such a great feeling because we had 17 new starters this year. It’s a new team. We start over every year. It’s a great to honor the school this way.”
Equally as remarkable, the Trojans defeated the Indians for a second consecutive year in the state finals—and third straight with their first meeting in 2007.
“It’s definitely difficult to beat the same team twice. They’re a great program and we knew they were going to be ready to play,” Bishop Chatard senior running back Ryan Kleinschmidt said.
“It almost felt like before the game, since we beat them last year, that they had the momentum. But we were able to get out on top early.”
Kleinschmidt, who set a state finals record with 41 carries in last year’s state championship game, once again played a key role, rushing for 136 yards and two touchdowns as Bishop Chatard built a decisive 21-0 lead by halftime.
The senior’s first scoring sprint measured 45 yards late in the first quarter to put the Trojans ahead 7-0.
Kleinschmidt followed the one-play, 14-second scoring drive with an eight-yard rushing touchdown midway through the second quarter after the Trojans defense forced a turnover on downs on their own 33.
The Bishop Chatard defense, which entered the game ninth-best in Class 3A in points allowed (11.2), created three turnovers, recorded two sacks and limited the Indians to one third-down conversion in seven attempts in the game.
“We knew coming in that defense wins championships. Right off the bat, we were getting into them, stopping the run and making them pass. That was the game plan,” Bishop Chatard senior linebacker Joe Sullivan said. “We’ve been forcing turnovers all season long. That’s what we do. That’s what we’ve been taught to do. We were able to get it done to win.”
The defense’s lone hiccup occurred in the third quarter as South Bend St. Joseph’s capped a 13-play drive with a one-yard touchdown run by quarterback Nick Carmola.
Bishop Chatard responded, however, with an interception by Joe Fagan early in the third quarter.
With less than two minutes remaining in the game, the defense came through again with a forced fumble by Alex Bill and a recovery by Okenna Oruche as South Bend threatened at the Trojans 13.
Rob Drury led the Trojans with 10 tackles. Sullivan was second with nine.
Aaron Hepp snagged the first of two interceptions for Bishop Chatard late in the second quarter as South Bend marched to the Trojans 30.
“Our offensive line did a terrific job and our defense came up big the entire game,” Kleinschmidt said. “It was all our offensive line, opening up holes, and we were able to execute our passing game as well. That all came together and helped us win.”
Senior quarterback Max VanVliet’s steady efficiency in pocket resulted in 124 yards passing and one touchdown. VanVliet completed 9 of 13 pass attempts and put the Trojans up 21-0 late in the second quarter with a 15-yard scoring strike to Henry Hill.
Waiting for his turn the past two years due to two torn anterior cruciate ligament, VanVliet made the most of his opportunity.
Named the Phil N. Eskew Mental Attitude Award winner for Class 3A, VanVliet finished the season with 2,290 yards passing and 28 touchdowns in his first year as a starter.
He also gave a traditionally run-heavy program a new outlet this season—and sole possession of the state’s high school football most coveted record.
“What really helped is that we were level-headed the whole year,” VanVliet said. “We were good at making the right decisions and ultimately that led to winning a state championship.
“Being the class to reclaim that record is definitely something special. But it wasn’t just us; it’s the whole program itself. We couldn’t have done this without the tradition and the other 10 state championships.”
South Bend St. Joseph's 0 0 7 0 - 7
Bishop Chatard 7 14 0 0 - 21
BC - Ryan Kleinschmidt 45-yard run (Dan Scheidler kick)
BC - Ryan Kleinschmidt 8-yard run (Dan Scheidler kick)
BC - Henry Hill 15-yard pass from Max VanVliet (Dan Scheidler kick)
SB - Nick Carmola 1-yard run (Alec Fullenkamp kick)