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Cathedral Irish win big, claim third straight Class 4A state championship
November 26, 2012VYPE MAGAZINE - Central Indiana
By Jason Haddix
For VYPE Magazine (Central Indiana)
INDIANAPOLIS—Score early, score fast and score often was the theme for the Class 4A Championship game Saturday afternoon at Lucas Oil Stadium between the Cathedral Fighting Irish and the Mishawaka Cavemen.
The Cavemen held close for the first 12 minutes of the game, but the Irish offense was too much for Mishawaka to handle as Cathedral rolls to their third straight Class 4A Championship 56-26.
Cathedral was led by junior Terry McLaurin’s three touchdowns and 264 all-purpose yards and senior Gino Gillum’s four touchdowns on 20 carries and 129 yards.
It took a mere 17 seconds for the Irish to show off their speed as McLaurin hauled in a 79-yard pass from Connor Rice to take a 7-0 lead. The hook-up set a record for the longest pass play for a touchdown in Class 4A Championship game history.
“I just wanted to come out here and do what I could for the seniors,” McLaurin said. “They deserved it, they have been working hard all year. (They) give us the energy we need for this team.”
Cathedral coach Rich Streiff said he wanted his team to test the Cavemen early.
“That was kind of a standard first play for us,” Streiff said. “… We have an option that he (McLaurin) can run several different routes.”
Early on, Mishawaka passed the test as they struck back with two touchdown drives and took a 14-7 lead midway through the first quarter. They were not able to keep their foot on the gas pedal offensively and the defense was not able to slow down the powerful Irish offense.
“We made a couple of adjustments and made some things happen,” Streiff said. “Ultimately, I don’t think we ever really slowed them down, I think we kind of outscored them.”
It took a total of 6:19 for the Irish to put up 28 unanswered points including two touchdowns from Gillum and one each from McLaurin and Rice.
Gillum’s one-yard run was set up by a McLaurin 66-yard punt return, his second record-breaking play of the game. It was the longest punt return in a 4A title game.
“The coaches told me my speed was going to get me through this,” McLaurin said. “They were right. I had great blocking on every play.”
He racked up 127 special teams yards and gave the Irish an average start spot at their own 49-yard line.
“Special teams’ plays definitely made a huge impact,” senior wide out Wyatt Wood said. “Terry’s the man, and he has done a great job for us.”
Wood was a key to Cathedral’s success in the air which allowed the ground game to gain 272 yards.
“It goes to our offensive line; they killed it,” Wood said. “Our offensive coordinator and offensive coaches have done a great job putting us in the position to make plays.”
Wood was able to find openings in the middle of the Cavemen defense and led the Irish with 105 yards and a touchdown, which he credited to his teammates.
“My other two receivers ran great routes that allowed me to get open,” Wood said.
The victory for the Irish places them as the only 4A team to win a championship after losing five games. They entered the playoffs with a sub .500 record (4-5).
“Our coach asked us this year what was going to be our legacy,” McLaurin said. “We wanted our legacy be left and wanted to be remembered.”
The Cavemen attempt to hang with the Irish in the second half by scoring twice on Sam Schrader runs. The Cavemen quarterback piled up 284 yards for the offense—190 on the ground. In addition to his two rushing touchdowns, he threw for another.
“I knew the Schrader kid was that good,” Streiff said. “He’s special and I knew that coming in. It is hard to convince kids sometimes that someone is that good. He is a great, great football player.”
Gillum called this victory the sweetest of his Irish career which ended Saturday night along with 32 other seniors.
“They’re (the seniors) just a phenomenal group of kids and you obviously get close to a few of those guys over four years,” Streiff said. “I am happy they finished this way but I am sad to see them go.”