Defending champion Luers too much for Andrean
By Tom Wyatt Post-Tribune correspondent November 16, 2012 11:36PM
Andrean's Nick Serrato dives over the goal line after running it in from the 24 yard line at Andrean High School on Friday November 16, 2012. | Jim Karczewski~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 19, 2012 1:38PM
MERRILLVILLE — Phil Mason didn’t want his players to leave the field immediately after huddling together for the last time after Friday’s 35-21 Class 2A northern semistate loss to Fort Wayne Bishop Luers.
He wanted them to hang around, mingle with teammates, family and friends at Father Eckert Stadium. He wanted them to know they had nothing to be ashamed of.
“Don’t hang your heads,” Mason said.
Despite being overmatched, despite facing one of the nation’s top recruits, and despite doing it against a team that has won the last three 2A state championships, Andrean refused to roll over when it would have been easy to do so.
“I’m proud of the kids,” Mason said. “They came out in the second half and could have tanked it. But they didn’t.
“I thought it was a good game. They had a couple big plays that we couldn’t account for. We tried to hang in there and make something happen.”
But the 59ers (11-3) had no answer for Notre Dame recruit Jaylon Smith, a stud at running back and linebacker for Luers (10-4). Smith carried 13 times for 165 yards and a touchdown.
But it wasn’t just Smith. Tyvel Jemison ran five times for 76 yards and a touchdown, including a 46-yard burst that set up a score that put the Knights up 21-7 at the half.
Another talented back for Luers, Jaquale Cooper, ran one in from 12 yards out to give the Knights a 28-7 lead early in the third quarter.
“Aside from Merrillville, we don’t face offenses like that,” Mason said. “We did the best we could to prepare for them, and I thought the kids played well.
“Smith is a great player, but they’ve got some other good ones, too.”
Though down by 21, Andrean didn’t quit. The 59ers used a 63-yard drive, capped by a 23-yard TD reception by Nick Serrato from Matt DeSomer, to pull within 28-14 with 2:00 left in the third quarter.
The 59ers then forced Luers to punt but couldn’t capitalize on the ensuing drive, turning it over on downs. The Knights responded with a score that all but put the game away, with Charles Gaston charging into the end zone from 24 yards out.
Andrean managed a late score on a DeSomer 1-yard TD run, but it was too little too late.
“We put ourselves in a bad situation and let them get ahead on us,” DeSomer said. “We can’t do that and expect to win.”
DeSomer, a junior who again will be the focal point of the 59ers’ offense next season, shined with 82 yards rushing to go along with two TD runs and the TD pass.
“I just have to learn from my mistakes,” DeSomer said, “learn from this year.”