FORT WAYNE – Snider took advantage of Bishop Luers miscues Friday for a season-opening win. The Class 5A No. 2 Panthers forced the 3A No. 2 Knights into seven turnovers in a 34-12 road victory.
Luers, which has won the last four 2A state titles and moved up a class this year, had five lost fumbles and two interceptions.
Their defense is just like we expected, they get to the football, Luers coach Kyle Lindsay said. They were a lot better in coverage than we anticipated. When you have that many turnovers, the defense is doing something right.
Sniders offense wasnt always clicking either, scoring only one second-half touchdown and having three turnovers. But the defense was there to save the day.
Senior linebacker Rahju Blackmon had both interceptions for the Panthers, while Matthew Swartz and Tyler Moga each had fumble recoveries.
It was a great win for us, one step, Blackmon said. Our offense struggled a little bit in the second half, but our defense kept our heads up and kept getting them the ball and giving them opportunities. We will give them as many chances as they need.
Snider, which went undefeated last year in the regular season and fell to Lawrence Central in the 5A state title game, won its 12th straight regular-season game.
Last season ended with a loss after so many wins in a row, and hopefully, we can keep this streak going on the way back to state, Blackmon said.
The Knights had a quarterback competition during the first couple of weeks of practice between senior Quinn Cook and sophomore Noah Wezensky. Cook, the incumbent starter, won the job, but it didnt matter which signal-caller was in the game against Snider as Luers managed only 164 yards.
We did a good job upfront, and that limited some things that they were able to do, and our secondary guys could get into coverage and got some good reads, Snider coach Kurt Tippmann said. Some of the fumbles we caused, and then there were some miscues on the other side just like we had on our side on offense.
Cook was 7 of 17 for 56 yards and an interception, and Wezensky was 8 of 15 for 117 yards with an interception and a touchdown.
The guys still have 100 percent confidence in either one of them, even after tonight, Lindsay said of his quarterbacks. I dont think either one of them played badly, we just put the ball on the ground.
Jibri Bramley led Snider with 90 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
Coach Tippmann always says make sure the defense plays good, and the offense will play good, Bramley said. The offensive line did a great job opening holes for me, and I was able to do the rest.
Snider also used two quarterbacks, both juniors. Colton Painter started and went 9 of 14 for 97 yards with two interceptions and a rushing touchdown. Connor Haxton was 3 of 4 for 24 yards.
The second quarter featured three touchdowns by Snider and two from Bishop Luers. The second half was scoreless until Bramleys second touchdown run, from nine yards out. In the third quarter, Luers had three turnovers and Snider two. The Knights Chance Young picked off a Snider pass in the end zone early in the fourth.