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The Journal Gazette

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Bishop Dwenger's Hayden Ellinger, left, and T.J. Tippmann celebrate during the second quarter Friday night at Bishop Luers.

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Bishop Dwenger's Hayden Ellinger makes his way through a pack of Bishop Luers players during the first quarter at Bishop Luers High School on Friday.

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Bishop Dwenger quarterback Patrick O’Keefe throws a pass under heavy pressure from Bishop Luers’ Jack Sweeney during the second quarter Friday night.

Saturday, September 29, 2018 1:00 am

Bishop Dwenger 15 Bishop Luers 13

Saints' seniors take over

After Luers cuts lead to 2, Dwenger runs out clock to stay undefeated

ELIZABETH WYMAN | The Journal Gazette

When it counted most Friday night, Bishop Dwenger relied on its seniors. After seeing Bishop Luers pull within two points with under five minutes left in Saints coach Jason Garrett's first rivalry game as the man in charge, he called upon his seniors to run the clock out and win the game.

“I'm very proud of our seniors. Our seniors finished that last drive,” Garrett said after the 15-13 win. “We had all of our seniors in there and the guys that we wanted to give the opportunity to, and they finished it.”

Senior running back T.J. Tippmann got the Saints' offense started with a 5-yard touchdown run with 5:33 left in the first half for a 7-0 lead. He finished with 149 yards on 26 carries.

“We were able to do it because our team is so together,” Tippmann said. “We didn't jump on our other players that had mistakes, we brought them up and that allowed us to bounce back from some adversity we faced late.”

Luers' Norman Knapke threw an interception on the first play after the Saints' touchdown. Dwenger (7-0), the SAC leader, took advantage with a 19-yard touchdown run by T.J. McGarry, who got the 2-point conversion, which proved to later be crucial, and a 15-0 halftime lead.

A sloppy first half that saw six combined turnovers, only one coming on downs, gave the Saints some adversity they have rarely faced this season.

“When you come into a game like this, you somewhat expect those things to happen,” Garrett said. “Both teams playing physical, so you expect adversity in games like this. I'm proud of how are guys responded to that.”

Knapke brought the Knights (4-3) back in the second half with help from a 52-yard catch and run to Jamic Johnson. Johnson finished it off with a 10-yard touchdown reception. Later in the half, Johnson caught a 1-yard touchdown pass set up by a Jordan Presley 46-yard run. The game-tying 2-point conversion attempt was blown up, making it 15-13 and putting the game in control of the Saints' offense.

“Joe (Tippmann) is a big body, very strong, but our whole offensive line has really come together this year and they're all just as strong,” T.J. Tippmann said of the offensive line that spent most of the night pushing him through the Luers' defense.

Knapke went 12 of 27 for 115 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions for the Knights. Saints quarterback Patrick O'Keefe went just 1 of 10 for 9 yards and an interception.

Although Garrett wants to see more of a pass game develop, he knows his team has gotten to this point with by keeping the ball on the ground, and so far, no one has stopped the Saints.

“I think the weather conditions affected the accuracy of things, but we are a run first team,” Garrett said. “And we take pride in that.”

ewyman@jg.net