WHERE ARE THEY NOW
Easy as 1, 2, 3 for CC
November 27, 2011Lafayette Central Catholic High School
INDIANAPOLIS -- Some were there in uniform on that Halloween night in 2008, freshmen experiencing the emptiness and finality of defeat for the first time.
Others watched from the stands at that sectional semifinal, when Central Catholic's rally in the closing seconds against state power Sheridan fell short.
For all of those young Knights, the vow was the same. Another loss, any loss, was too horrible to imagine.
Three years later, as Central Catholic's players celebrated a 38-7 Class A state championship victory over Scecina, they did so in a way no team had before. Central Catholic became the first team in state history to earn three straight undefeated state championships.
"After that Sheridan game we lost freshman year, everyone that was coming back said we're not going to lose another game," said CC senior Danny Anthrop, who rushed for 255 yards and three touchdowns in a final stellar performance at Lucas Oil Stadium. "We made that one of our top goals every year: go undefeated. That was it, and we haven't looked back from there."
Central Catholic became the sixth team in any class to win three consecutive state championships, and the 10th to win five or more state titles overall. The Knights also extended their winning streak to 45 games, second in state history only to Bloomington's run of 60 straight from 1967-73.
Once again, Central Catholic punctuated its run through the state tournament in decisive fashion. The Knights outscored their three title-game opponents 121-13.
"Playing with my brothers and doing something this great, it's been one of the best experiences of my entire life," said Central Catholic senior defensive end John Schrader, who became the third straight Knight to receive the Phil N. Eskew Mental Attitude Award.
Anthrop broke off a 68-yard touchdown run on Central Catholic's fourth offensive play. A Ryan Frain punt forced the Knights to start their next possession from inside their own 1 yard line. A determined offensive line and quarterback Austin Munn orchestrated a 16-play, 99-yard touchdown drive capped by Anthrop's 1-yard touchdown plunge.
"If we would have been able to stop them, it would have been a completely different game," Scecina junior defensive end Christian Johnson said of the first two CC drives.
Known for its offensive balance, Central Catholic opted to primarily attack the Crusaders on the ground. Anthrop, who received just nine offensive touches in the 2010 title game while protecting a wrist injury, had no such limitations on Friday.
Exhibiting his usual array of jukes, stubborn second efforts and the occasional hurdle of a defender, Anthrop piled up 169 yards on 15 first-half carries. The Purdue recruit added a 41-yard touchdown run in the third quarter to make it 35-0.
In four career games at Lucas Oil Stadium, Anthrop totaled 13 touchdowns.
"Every time I hand the ball off, I carry out my fake and I turn around and watch," said Munn, who threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Timmy Mills in the second quarter. "It's unbelievable. He's pushing kids out and stiff-arming kids and getting right past them. I don't understand how he does it. It's great to have an athlete like that."
Scecina averaged 256.2 rushing yards a night through its first 14 games. Junior running back David Tarver averaged 9.3 yards per carry while rushing for a team-best 1,553 yards.
But the Crusaders' accomplished running game needed 36 carries to net 93 yards against Central Catholic's punishing defensive front. Tarver carried 13 times for 34 yards. CC outside linebacker Andrew Hubertz's hard hits set the early tone, and he was credited with 2.5 of the Knights' nine tackles for loss.
"We didn't do a very good job of getting to the second level," Scecina coach Ott Hurrle said. "Their linebackers are very good and they were making some plays."
Central Catholic's dominant 2009 team set a lofty standard for future Knights teams to live up to. While continuing that legacy of success, each successive state champion continues to acknowledge how this unmatched run of excellence began.
"They were like mentors for us," Munn said of the 2009 squad. "When we came up our sophomore, junior and senior year, we knew how to play CC Knights football, and that's 100 percent all the time."
When Scecina's Kirby Cox returned the opening kickoff 49 yards to the Central Catholic 40 yard line, it appeared the Crusaders might strike first. Central Catholic's defense, which came in allowing a state-low 6.4 points per game, forced a three-and-out, and Anthrop and the Knights offense went to work.