Another Indiana High School Football season kicked off Friday night and once again the Indianapolis Colts Friday Night Football tour hit the road. The 2012 tour began with a highly touted matchup in the northeastern part of the state as the Fort Wayne Snider Panthers hosted three time defending IHSAA Class 2A State Champions Bishop Luers Knights.
Each fall, the Indianapolis Colts travel around the state to feature marquee high school football matchups as part of the Friday Night Football Tour. At each stop on tour, the Indianapolis Colts make a $500 donation to each of the home team's football and cheerleading programs on behalf of the Friday Night Football Tour sponsors.* *
Friday in Fort Wayne, the fans packed the stands which forced latecomers onto the visitor side as the Snider side was packed to the brim. With two top five ranked teams, Snider No. 5 in Class 5A and Luers No. 1 in Class 2A, the game was sure not to disappoint and one that ended up being a nail biter with the clock struck zero.
Snider struck first and went up 7-0 late in the first quarter. Little did we know that this game would become a defensive struggle as we would not see another point scored until the third quarter.
The game truly was back and forth for a majority of the first half with the Panthers really setting the tone defensively. Luers, led by Notre Dame commit Jaylon Smith was stalled in the first half by a stingy Snider defense.
The second half was much of the same. Snider came out and hit an early field goal which would end up being their only points in the half. It was much of a defensive struggle much of the second half until Luers finally put some points on in the fourth.
Snider's Head Coach Kurt Tippmann made some gutsy calls late in the game, going for and converting three straight fourth downs late in the fourth quarter. Luers was eventually able to force a punt, and hand the opportunity to go down and win the game with less than two minutes remaining. After the Knights advanced the ball down the field, they eventually came up short and were unable to get the field goal team out in a last ditch effort to send the game to overtime. Snider pulls out the 7-10 victory over the Knights.
Snider got the 2012 campaign off on the right foot while Luers might still be looking for their identity after game one. For the Panthers, this was a statement game, letting the masses know they're ready to compete in the Summit Athletic Conference. For the Knights, it is back to the drawing board, back to work, and to take this week as a lesson moving forward in their goal of an unprecedented fourth straight IHSAA crown.