GLENDALE – Hamilton High star cornerback Cole Luke had one more piece of business to resolve going into this year’s 2012 Division I State Championship game. That was to overcome last year’s state championship loss to Desert Vista and end his Hamilton career as a champion.
But to get there, Luke would have to face one of the toughest assignments on the field — containing Mountain Pointe star wideout Jalen Brown.
All season long, Brown has ignited the Mountain Pointe offense with his big play capability and his ability to break tackles on short passes and turn them into big gains.
Brown, who amassed over 1,200 yards and 18 touchdowns in his junior season, was held to five catches for just 53 yards against Luke in their first meeting this year — a Mountain Pointe victory.
It was much of the same from Luke in his second meeting with Brown. Luke completely blanketed the star receiver all day and essentially took away half the field from Mountain Pointe’s offense, a key element in Hamilton’s 31-16 win.
“It feels tremendous,” Luke said following the win. “We finished really bad in last year’s championship game, so that really added a lot of fuel to the fire. We knew we had to finish strong.”
Following graduation, Luke will be packing his bags and heading to South Bend to play for Brian Kelly and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
“I’m super excited to be going to Notre Dame, it’s a great school, plus they’re #1 like us right now,” Luke said.
Hamilton head coach Steve Belles played for Notre Dame in the late 80s and was coincidentally on the last Irish team to win a National Championship.
“I am going to miss him dearly. Of course he’s got a special place in my heart because he’s going to Notre Dame, but he has been tremendous for us for two years,” Belles said of his senior corner. “A great leader for us and a great young man. This is just such a perfect note for him to go out on”.
Luke celebrated the Division I title, but couldn’t help but look ahead to his collegiate career.
“I am just chomping at the bit to get over to South Bend and start contributing to that defense. They are fun to watch and I just can’t wait to be a part of it”.
In a one-year span, Luke has gone from losing the championship and complete disappointment, to winning the championship in his senior season and going out on top.
“I really feel like I’ve ended my high-school career on top, it couldn’t be any better,” he said.
Coach Belles echoed the sentiment of his two-year star player.
“Cole Luke is going out on top, there’s no question about it; no ifs, ands, or buts, he is going out on top”.