By Justin Whitaker
INDIANAPOLIS — It was the ultimate David versus Goliath story but unfortunately for Covenant Christian, this matchup didn’t have the same Biblical ending.
Fort Wayne Canterbury won their second consecutive Class A state championship 5-0 over the Warriors Saturday at Carroll Stadium at IUPUI.
For Covenant Christian it was their first state appearance and for Canterbury it was its third consecutive state finals showing and fifth state championship — tying North Central for most in IHSAA history.
Warriors coach Michael Johnson knew the caliber of competition his team was facing.
“You try to down play it to make sure your team is ready but we can compete with them, they are just a very good team,” Johnson said. “They deserve the credit for the win today. It’s not that we played an off game, we did, but they are a good team and did what they are supposed to do.”
After testing each other at the beginning of the game, the Cavaliers broke through to score two goals at 8 and 10 minutes. Canterbury added another two goals to lead 4-0 at halftime.
It was a one-sided half where the Cavaliers were able to keep the Warriors off balance.
“Some of our touches weren’t there and tracking was one of the big areas,” Johnson said. “(Canterbury) had great movement off the ball and if you don’t track a team like this they are going to punish you and that’s what happened today.”
In the second half, Canterbury added another goal.
Standout Covenant Christian freshman Keaton Joseph, who scored 14 goals this season, was shadowed by Cavalier defenders the entire game.
“They man marked him and they did a very good job of tracking him,” Johnson said. “They took him out of his game, they played physical, they got in his back and they did the things we were hoping to do to them to us.”
Even in defeat, Covenant Christian made school history. It was the first ever state finals appearance for the Warriors in any sport and Johnson thought the support in the stands was a great case for what it meant to the school.
“We were packed on our side and it was good to see a school and community come together and rally around our guys,” he said.
The experience of playing in a state finals was highly beneficial for the players as well.
“You’re here, the guys are excited and it’s great for the school. It’s great for them to get this experience,” Johnson said. “But I think now they know that they are still not satisfied. There’s no way they can be satisfied with this. Obviously next year’s goal is to get back here and win.”
During the six game postseason run to state, Covenant Christian outscored opponents 13-3, netted three shutouts and never allowed more than one goal in a game until state.
A great run for the Warriors.
“It’s been a blast. You always think ‘Is this the game? Are we going to show up today?’ and our guys showed up every single game,” Johnson said. “It’s been the best thing for myself being a part of this team.”
Covenant Christian will graduate nine seniors in Dawson Linn, Mauro Ercole, Daniel Sima, Jon Christensen, Juan Koltz, Ian Oeschle, Tyler Susong, Cody Gatewood and Jarek Brents.
“They led and been an example on and off the field,” Johnson said. They have encouraged the guys and they have stepped up and assumed the roles we expected them to.”