The name on the front of the jerseys the teams will be wearing in the 2012 IHSAA Class A State championship on Friday afternoon remain the same as 2011. Actually for one Lafayette Central Catholic (13-1), it will be the same team representing the north for the fourth football season in a row in the championship game. Strangely enough, Scecina Memorial (11-3) seems to be the team heading in with the most experience.

"The funny thing is you turn on the game film from last year and turn on the film from this year and there aren't too many new numbers out there," said Lafayette Central Catholic Head Coach Kevin O'Shea about the Crusaders. "They have an experienced team, with about seven or eight guys back on both sides of the ball, so the experience factor is with them. What we have to understand is that we can't get caught up in the atmosphere, and that we have to play ball against a team that is very, very well coached."

Lafayette Central Catholic looks to repeat last year's 38-7 Class A championship victory and make history as the first team to win four straight State championships in Class A (Bishop Luers is attempting the same in Class 2A). However it will be a group of players that were role-players in the past championships or completely new fresh faces dressing for the Knights on Saturday. Gone with graduation was quarterback Austin Munn and Purdue Boilermaker Danny Anthrop, with players like Senior Brad Schrader (17 touchdowns, 115.3 YPG) and quarterback Ty Preson (10 TD's, 1,369 YDS) having to fill in the shoes to make a successful run.

Which is perhaps why the usually dominant Lafayette Central Catholic looked perhaps vulnerable early in the season with a 21-14 victory over Guerin Catholic in week two, 17-12 win over Twin Lakes in week three, and a 14-12 loss to Culver Academies that snapped a 48-game win streak, but Head Coach O'Shea feels like the team was just getting their feet wet.

"It has been a lot of fun to watch the kids mature over the course of the year and to take on the roles they have now," said O'Shea. "Early in the year we didn't really know what our roles were. I really think we have grown into that as the season progressed."

O'Shea credits a week seven 54-40 shoot-out win over Heritage Christian as perhaps the turning point in the season. In the game the Knights Senior Schrader rushed for 308 yards total and four touchdowns, and every since then the Knights rushing game has seen to kick the team up a notch to another level. Joining Schrader in the rushing game are Seniors Will Jones (9 TD's) and Timmy Mills (6 TD's), who have all helped the team win every game ever since week four.

However it was the Knights' defense, that has allowed 11.2 points per game, that stepped up in in the Semi-State championship victory over Sheridan last Friday. After going down 3-0 at Bud Wright Stadium, the defense shut the Blackhawks down on the way to a 13-3 Lafayette Central Catholic victory.

"Our top player defensively is Ross Corcoran (senior linebacker)," said O'Shea. "He has been getting some D-IAA and D-II type interest. Last week against Sheridan we had him for a total of 26 tackles. As long as I have been a football coach, I have never had anything remotely close to that before. Ross had a big game, but also stepping up this year is our other linebacker Sam Kochert (124 tackles) and our little guys up front. We aren't really big on our defensive front, maybe averaging about 170 pounds. But we have had quickness, and for the most part that has helped us out."

The Knights are going to need all of their quickness to slow down a Scecina Memorial team averaging 32 points per game on the season. The Crusaders have multiple players out of the backfield that have been successful for the squad, with Senior David Tarver (15 TDs, 87.4 YPG) leading a group that also includes Senior Thomas Allgood (8 TD's, 99.7 YPG), Junior Rocky Leffler (7 TD's, 44.5 YPG), Junior Jordan Brown (5 TD's, 43.7 YPG), and Senior fullback Curtis Henley (4 TDs, 28.3 YPG).

But similar to the Knights, it was the Crusaders defense coming up big in 17-14 overtime victory against Linton-Stockton. stopping the Miners just mere inches away from heading to Lucas Oil Stadium on a 4th and 1 stand. Knights Head Coach O'Shea knows that with a battle-tested squad like Scecina Memorial, his team is going to have to play perfect if they want to be hoisting up the Class A trophy for a fourth year in a row.

"We are going to have to tackle Tarver and their triplets," said O'Shea. "They have a lot of different guys back there and we have to make sure to contain them. Offensively, we just have to take care of the football and move it a bit."

Kick-off for the Class A State championship is at Lucas Oil Stadium on Friday at 3:30 pm ET, and a live broadcast of the game can be seen on Indiana's 4 WTTV.