Written by Luke Sanders

Indianapolis Cathedral and Bishop Chatard have two of the most successful high school football programs in the state of Indiana. Cathedral is the winningest football program in Indiana with 741 total wins. Chatard has won the most state championships in Indiana with 13, and Cathedral has won the second most with 12. When I was a kid, my family and I attended many Cathedral and Bishop Chatard sporting events and we weren’t quite sure which of the two high schools my siblings and I would be attending. Because I went to a Catholic grade school, St. Pius, the arguments with my friends over who was better at football between Cathedral and Bishop Chatard started at a young age. It seemed that every year Cathedral and Chatard would play back-to-back in the state championships at Lucas Oil Stadium, Cathedral being a 4A team, and Chatard playing in 3A. I used to sit in those stands and dream of being on that field one day, wanting to be just like those high school players. They seemed so old, so cool, and were like superheroes to me. 

Once my older sister, Olivia, decided that she would be attending Cathedral, I knew that’s where I would be going, too. I quickly became all-in on the Irish and took their side on the Cathedral vs. Chatard argument. I specifically remember a time at the football state championships when I was in middle school and was surrounded by my friends who had older siblings at Chatard. They were all nagging me about Chatard being better at football than Cathedral, and I was becoming annoyed. I remember thinking in my head, “Man, I can’t wait until I get to high school, so I can show them who’s better.” 


Flash forward to my Junior year of high school in 2015. We were playing Chatard in week 4 at Lawrence North High School. We were 2-1 at the time and I was having a good season so far with about 250 yards receiving and a touchdown through three games. I had a lot of confidence going and had a chip on my shoulder because in my prior two seasons playing against Chatard, I only had 1 catch for 12 yards. Because of my success that season, our head coach, Rick Streiff, selected me as one of the captains for the game. I felt honored because the other three captains were all Seniors, and I did not want to let them down. I remember walking out to mid-field for the coin flip, facing Chatard’s packed student section and all of their fans. The atmosphere of Cathedral vs. Chatard football games is like no other in the state of Indiana, and pretty much everybody I knew in my life up to that point was at the game. I was eager to have a big contribution to the game for my team and wanted to win at all costs.

I’m not sure what came over my that day, but I just felt like I was in such a locked-in “zone” and had so much fun playing the game. On our first drive of the game, our quarterback, Max Bortenschlager, hit me for a 50 yard deep ball. I got hit right when I caught it and fell down at the 5-yard line. We went on to score on that drive a couple of plays later. In the second quarter, Max threw it to me on third down and I made a 26-yard diving catch along the sideline that extended our drive. Two plays later, I caught a 5-yard out route in which I slipped a defender and outran Chatard’s defense for a 49 yard touchdown. Then, in the third quarter, I caught a 17-yard touchdown running a fade route in the endzone in which we went up 42-7. We ended up winning the game 42-14 in which I finished the game with 6 catches for 170 yards and 2 touchdowns. I was named the MaxPreps player of the game. When the game was over, I was so happy that we had won, and I felt I had done my part to help my team get the victory. It truly felt like a dream come true and it was everything I had imagined as a kid. I hadn’t forgotten the arguments I had with my friends in grade school.


That game was special to me because I had grown up watching that rivalry and looked up to the former players at both Cathedral and Chatard. It’s a pretty neat experience growing up and going to those games, wanting to be just like the players on the field, and then eventually getting an opportunity to play in the games yourself when your older. Because of the memories I have as a child wanting to be like those high school players, I try to be really cool with younger kids who come to my games now. I am sure they all want to be like me, just like how I wanted to be just like the players who played before me. It’s truly amazing how things come full circle like my experience did. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity God has given me to play the game of football and want to inspire younger generations to achieve their dreams. I believe that when people are doing the right things, working hard, and are visualizing success, good things will start to appear to them, and blessings will fall in their lap. I am lucky to have football as a platform to inspire others, and I take great joy in feeling like I am helping the next generation of kids achieve their dreams. Every person is just a kid from “somewhere.” After all, I’m just a kid from Indianapolis!