Whenever the Crusaders were on the cusp of getting themselves back in the game, Hair and his teammates delivered another gut punch of a play.
“It was aggravating,” Griffin said. “We were trying to get a stop.”
Blair Oaks won 48-21 and captured the state title a week later. Heartbroken and searching for answers, Lutheran North shook up its coaching staff by adding some fresh faces and switched its offensive and defensive coordinators.
Griffin believes the changes will make a significant difference.
“It's more mental,” he said. “We won't just be playing off talent.”
Not that there's a shortage of that at Lutheran North.
The Crusaders defense is overloaded with standouts, including senior linebacker Antonio Doyle, who has verbally committed to Missouri, senior linebacker Itayvion Brown, who's committed to Minnesota, and Travion Ford, who is one of just a handful of area players to earn a five-star ranking from a national recruiting service in the last 20 years.
“We've got a lot of people, so I'm excited,” Griffin said.
Where does Griffin fit into this puzzle? His piece is as big as any.
“He's a three-year starter and Division I recruit,” Reed said. “I'd say he's a pretty big piece.”
Griffin's talents are particularly suited for the way football is played today. The explosion of the spread offense and the run-pass option have made players like Griffin more valuable.
“He has great range and coverage skills,” Reed said. “With the spread and RPO you need someone who can play man-to-man defense in the slot. He can do that.”
Griffin said the Crusaders are chasing the title that eluded them a year ago. That, however, is the end goal. There are a multitude of milestones they have to hit long before they can let their championship dreams consume them. Their focus has to be squarely on what's in front of them.