Lafayette Central Catholic wins fourth straight Class A championship
Seconds after the clock ticked to three zeroes in the IHSAA Class A State championship, Lafayette Central Catholic Senior Timmy Mills summed up the experience of being a part of four straight State titles as well as anybody possibly could.

"It is a great feeling to know that I have gone through all four years with my seniors and my brothers on this field," said Mills. "We have come here every year and showed the Class A State championship teams that we are the best. We can do it year in, and year out."

The Knights won the Class A State championship Friday night with a 14-0 victory over Scecina Memorial, becoming the first Class A school to win four consecutive titles in a row. Warren Central was the first team in IHSAA history to accomplish the feat in Class 5A from 2002-2006.

After beating Scecina Memorial in a one-sided contest last fall, the Crusaders gave the Knights everything they could handle in the first half. Both teams had crucial turnovers ending drives early, with the defenses both dominant in through the first 24 minutes of the game. Knights Senior Will Jones picked off an errant pass from Robert Rennick, leading the Knights to drive down the field inside the 15 yard-line. Knights Junior Ty Preston led the team right down the field, only for Crusaders Senior Connor Tooley to get an interception of his own to save a potential Knights scoring drive.

Scecina Memorial used the momentum to drive the ball down the field to the 28-yard line, but loss the ball on an incomplete pass for a turnover on downs. The half ended in a tie at zero a piece.

Just like in State championships before though, the Knights eventually found themselves exerting back-breaking plays on the defense. With 8:24 in the third quarter Preston (121 yards passing, 1 TD) found Junior Joe Smith on a five-yard completion that eventually led to Smith sprinting down the field and breaking two tackles on his way to a 54-yard touchdown reception.

"Coach O'Shea told me I was suppose to just fly it out to Timmy (Mills), said Preston. "By the time the ball was snapped, their safeties were covering 40 yards deep over Timmy, so I was just waiting for Joe to come out in the other end, and it turned out to be a lot longer game that I had expected."

"We felt like that if we just kept on chipping away, we'd eventually get a big play out of someone," said Smith. "It just helped that our offense was able to break one periodically, and then we were able to just break one loose."

Then with 10:22 in the fourth quarter Mills left his mark on the game, taking a short punt 44-yards to the end zone to put the Knights up 14-0 for good.

"The punt return I was really excited because I don't get many chances to return punts," said Mills. "But when I do, I try to make the most of it. My teammates got really good blocks, I found the holes, and I just got it to the end zone."

Though it was the offense putting up the points on the board though, the Knights defense shutting down Scecina Memorial was the story of the game. The Crusaders ended up only 165 yards of total offense, with Senior Sam Kochert leading the squad with 14 tackles, while Seniors Andrew Hubertz and Ross Corcoran also added 7. Knights Senior John Paul Santos also had an interception in the fourth quarter as well.

"Our defense has been the name of the game ever since I got to Central Catholic," said Knights Head Coach Kevin O'Shea. "Our defensive staff was outstanding. To pitch a shut-out, and to do what we've done the past four years, it just hasn't sunk in yet."

With the victory O'Shea became the first football coach in IHSAA history to win four straight titles, but he didn't have much comment to that. One person who did have one more comment on winning four straight titles, however, was Senior Timmy Mills. His brother Chris Mills was a senior quarterback when the team won their first title back in 2009, and is currently the quarterback of the University of Indianapolis football team that plays Colorado State University-Pueblo on Saturday. Mills will be flying out to see his brother play in the Division II playoff game, but has a message for him as well.

"It's not necessarily bragging rights," said Mills with a smile and a laugh. "But he's only won one, and I've won four."

Linebacker Ross Corcoran still couldn't believe that this squad had been able to accomplish such an impressive feat.

"I never could have imagined this as a freshman," said Corcoran. "But it just shows all of our hard work has finally paid off, and I really can't describe it."