Lutheran players, coaches, cheerleaders, friends and family gather for a group picture following Friday’s 49-7 regional championship game win over Providence.
By Steve Page
Joe Davis said he was not feeling well when he and his Lutheran teammates played host to Providence in Friday’s regional championship game on the Saints’ field.
Which makes one wonder what kind of game the Lutheran senior would have had if he was feeling better.
The 6-0, 205-pound senior rushed 34 times, gained 254 yards and scored four touchdowns as the Saints demolished Providence 49-7.
Lutheran, 13-0, will travel south to play in the semi-state at North Decatur, also 13-0, on Nov. 18. The Chargers advanced by topping Sheridan 29-14.
“I’m coming off sickness,” Davis said. “They told me they were going to feed me the ball. These guys (linemen) set me up. So I just do what I do. I thanked them all.”
Though he did score touchdowns on bursts of 1, 4, 4 and 9 yards, this was more than Joe Davis.
Sophomore quarterback Jackson Willis completed 14 of 21 passes without an interception, totaling 238 yards. He threw touchdown strikes of 32 yards to Cur’Brian Shelby and 79 yards to speedy tight end Micah Mackay, who turned a short pass into a long sprint for a 34-7 lead early in the second half. Willis also scored on a one-yard run in the second quarter. Nick Miller kicked five conversions.
“We have a multi-headed monster,” coach Dave Pasch said after the Saints totaled 500 yards of offense. “We’ll go against whatever anybody wants to give us. They had a five-man box. So we keep running until they stop us.”
And that was just the offense.
The Lutheran defense, which has not permitted a score in four postseason games, limited the Pioneers to 65 rushing yards and 34 passing yards and intercepted two passes, both of which led to touchdowns. The Pioneer offense got no closer than the Saints’ 39.
“That was the game plan,” said senior defensive lineman Kam Patterson. “The defensive line was not going to give ground. Stay in place, trust our linebackers.”
“We just tried to eliminate the run, be sound,” concurred Gavin Mimms. “We had a good game plan.”
“They definitely run more,” noted junior linebacker Jonny Hall. “All around, we just played our game. We had a good week of practice. We executed well, and we’re going to semi-state.”
“Our defense was great. They have a challenging scheme that’s different,” Pasch said of the Pioneers’ wildcat offense, with different backs taking direct snaps. “They have good players. So you just keep the ball in front of you. As the game went on, we got better.”
The lone Pioneer touchdown came on a 90-yard kickoff return by Luke Kruer, following Lutheran’s fourth score shortly before intermission. In its four playoff games, Lutheran has outscored the opposition 210-7.
They had a really good game plan,” Pasch said of the Pioneers, who finished 9-4. “They made us do a lot of things. Hopefully, that will prepare us for what’s to come.”