FORT WAYNE – Concordia captured its third Class 3A sectional championship in school history and denied Bishop Luers a place in IHSAA history.
The Cadets defeated the Knights 42-21 at Zollner Stadium on Friday night to advance to next week's regional and ended Luers' postseason winning streak at 26.
Concordia (9-3) will play at West Lafayette (11-1), a 54-41 winner over Yorktown (10-2), in next Friday's regional. The Cadets' other sectional titles came in 2002 and 2007.
"It's huge for us, especially where we started as freshmen going 0-10," Cadets quarterback David Morrison said. "We worked our way through the program to be at a spot where we are winning a sectional championship and got a shot to win regional, semistate and state, hopefully."
The Knights (2-10) matched Warren Central's run of 26 straight playoff wins last week with an 18-13 victory over Heritage. Luers went 0-9 in the regular season and was chasing a fifth straight championship after winning the last four Class 2A titles before moving up a class because of the IHSAA's success factor.
"We didn't talk about (the streak) at all until tonight, really before the game," Luers coach Kyle Lindsay said. "Obviously, we've had a lot of success in this program with wins, state titles, city championships, as much as anything we hope this senior class can walk out of here with their heads held high. They gave it their all, and they showed a lot of these younger kids how to handle adversity."
Cadets running back Jon Poore ran for 147 yards with five touchdowns, scoring three in the opening half on runs of 7, 6 and 5 yards and adding touchdown runs of 2 and 44 yards in the second half.
"There were huge holes, and the line gave me plenty of room out there to do my thing," Poore said.
"We could run the ball up the middle and run outside, that's what a running back dreams for."
Morrison threw for 302 yards and a touchdown for Concordia, and Jacob Minich had eight catches for 173 yards.
Concordia held Luers to 260 yards and 19 rushing yards. Knights quarterback Noah Wezensky threw for 196 yards and two touchdowns.
"They played well," Concordia coach Tim Mannigel said of his defense. "Honestly, probably if you were to ask them, they'd be a little disappointed, probably not as well as we played in the past. Luers has some playmakers, and there were times we allowed them to make plays."
Luers opened the scoring with Chance Young catching a 22-yard touchdown to end the opening drive, but Concordia responded with a 73-yard scoring drive that ended with Poore's 7-yard touchdown run with 4:05 to play in the first quarter.
The Knights had to punt away their next two possessions, and the Cadets got two touchdowns from Poore to take a 21-7 halftime lead.
Poore added his fourth touchdown on a 2-yard run to give the Cadets a 28-7 lead with 6:47 left in the third quarter. Young had a 48-yard TD catch and Diontez Williams scored on a 10-yard catch for Luers in the fourth, and Concordia got a 6-yard touchdown catch from Devin Sparks and Poore's 44-yard scoring run in the final quarter.
"Any sectional title is big, but our goal is bigger and we want to keep driving and beating teams that lie in wait," Mannigel said.