On their last day of a team camp at Trine last week, the Bishop Luers football team replayed the TV broadcast of the 2020 Class 2A state finals the Knights lost to Western Boone 36-35.
Coach Kyle Lindsay said the players watched like fans, not like athletes, in film study: For the first three quarters, they cheered good hits, whooped in appreciation of scoring plays and complained about bad calls. That ended as the fourth quarter wore on and the players relived Western Boone's come-from-behind win.
“You can find out a lot about your team – and individuals on your team – as they're watching it,” Lindsay said. “Some kids just got super quiet, most of them did. Some kids were the opposite, their coping mechanism for watching that was to get loud and boisterous.
“I think ultimately, it served us all, was a positive experience.”
And that was the experience at the front of the Knights' minds as they took to the field for the first official day of practice Monday: They have the confidence that they have the capability to compete on the biggest stage in Indiana high school football, and the knowledge that this generation of Bishop Luers football players still haven't grasped their biggest goal – a state title, and maybe even an SAC championship.
“We have a chip on our shoulder (from the state finals loss),” senior receiver Brody Glenn said. “We think we got better throughout the season – and not just because we were playing 2A schools (in the playoffs). We firmly believe we're the team that finished off the season, and we can continue that into the first half of the season and compete for an SAC title.”
Over at North Side, new Legends coach Ben Johnson said he was so excited he could barely sleep Sunday night, eager for the latest era of North Side football to begin.
Johnson said that some of the work of designing his first official practice as a head coach was determined for him by the IHSAA, which requires three days of noncontact practices before full contact and pads are allowed.
“I knew today was helmets-only, so I wanted to be real big on fundamentals and teamwork,” Johnson said. “But the kids came out with high energy, they are ready to go. They're excited, just as much as the coaches are. It's football time.”
Brashawn Bassett, a junior slated to take over the starting quarterback position after backing up graduate Duce Taylor for two years, said North Side's victory in the OPS Summit City 7v7 Shootout, where the Legends beat Bishop Luers 18-13 in the large school final, could be a sign of things to come.
“A lot of people didn't expect us to win it, because after losing Duce, they didn't think I was capable of doing what he could do. But they'll see,” Bassett said. “It was good being a backup, because it was a good way for me to learn from someone who really knows what he's doing.
“My role this year is to bring that confidence and lead the team and get our receivers the ball as quick as possible. And just win.”