INDIANAPOLIS | As a lineman, Adam Kopil doesn't look for attention, nor the football.
Ready or not, the Andrean senior found the football at his feet on a kickoff after Indianapolis Brebeuf crept within 21-14 of the 59ers in the Class 3A state championship at Lucas Oil Stadium.
"I saw it coming toward the middle of my legs and I was praying to God that it would go in between and not hit me," Kopil said.
No such luck. The squib kick caught Kopil flush, but fortunately for him, it fell right at his feet and he plopped on top of it.
"It hit me perfectly," he said.
Ironically, during the week, Andrean coaches had switched Kopil, a wrestler, and Tyler Vode, a baseball player, on the kickoff front line, concerned that Brebeuf was going to target Kopil on the springy artificial turf.
"I noticed some of the players eying me," Kopil said. "I had a feeling. I was hoping it wouldn't but I had to be ready."
A few players later, Tyler Berg rambled 38 yards for a score that doubled Andrean's lead (28-14) going to the half.
"Normally, we tell them to get the hell out of the way," coach Phil Mason said. "There was no time. Adam did a great job."
GETTING IT DONE: Senior Ramon Guerrero was on the 59ers basketball team that lost to Fort Wayne Concordia 68-63 in overtime in the Class 3A semistate last March. That game that seemed in the bag got away. This one did not. He tipped the ball that John Albomonte intercepted in the fourth quarter. Guerrero had seven tackles in this game.
"This means everything," Guerrero said. "To be undefeated, to finish, for coach Mason, it means the world."
So are you ready for basketball practice on Monday?
"Not really, I'm a little sore," he said. Then, after a long pause, "But I'll be ready to help my team."
DOUBLE RINGS: Assistant coach Jeff St. Germain won his second title with the 59ers. He was on his brother Brett's staff in 2004 when Andrean won the Class 3A state crown. Assistant Bob Komara was on the 2002 state coaching staff, when the 'Niners lost to Indianapolis Chatard. His daughter, Kell Komara, advanced to state twice in both softball and basketball at Lake Central.
RECORD BREAKERS: The game featured 3A state records for passes attempted by a team (Brebeuf, 44), yards passing by a team (Brebeuf, 349), total offense by both teams (815), first downs passing (Brebeuf, 14), individual passing yards (Aaron Banks, 268), longest play and completion (Jack Roberts to Chandler Grau, 81 yards), receiving yards (Grau, 168).
"Our offensive line played extremely well," Mason said. "We wanted to stop the run (on defense) and force them to have to throw the football. That's basically what Northwest Indiana football is. They did a nice job of going to a quick passing game and staying patient. We were just trying not to give up the big play."
TAKIN' TO THE HOUSE: Had Donovan Chandler taken a knee somewhere on his interception return, Andrean would've likely knelt on a couple snaps and run out the clock, ending any last-minute drama right there. Chandler never gave it a thought.
"I was going to straight to the end zone for the points, Chandler said. "I was licking my lips."
The play was actually a missed route by Grau as opposed to a poor throw by Banks.
"It was supposed to be a wheel," Brebeuf coach Mic Roessler said. "He thought he was running an out and didn't come back on it."
IN NEED OF A MIRACLE: Former Hobart quarterback Josh Miracle is on the coaching staff of Class 5A finalist Westfield, which was no match for Indianapolis Cathedral.