Bulldogs edge LaPorte 37-35 in come from behind Homecoming victory

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith



Michael Foster (73) and the rest of Crown Point's offensive line look to the sidelines for the call. (All photos by Mark Smith)
CP senior Caden Watson (54) closes in on LaPorte QB Nolan Lorenz (9). Watson may have set a CP record with 23 tackles against LaPorte.
LaPorte's Nolan Lorenz (9) looks over the CP defense. Notice how the LaPorte center and guard almost hook their legs together to leave as little gap as possible. LaPorte ran the ball 70 times for 511 yards.
CP's Ben Fridrich (85) drags LaPorte linebacker Landen Cerillos (47) after this second quarter catch.
Jack Zaleski (10) blocks and and Sam Krutz (14) holds for Ben Fridrich (85) kicker who's fourth quarter field goal turned out to be the difference in a 37-35 CP win. Crown Pint ran the ball 30 times for 276 yards.
CP junior Railaun Cosey (6) runs back a kickoff. Cosey forced a key fumble against LaPorte.
A future CP fans gets an extra good seat during the Homecoming ceremonies at halftime of the CP-LaPorte game.
LaPorte's Grant Seaburg (18) waits for CP's Tyler Gomez (42). Gomez went over the 1,000-yard mark for the season against LaPorte.
The CP side was alternately happy and sad much of the night as the Homecoming game went up and down the field.
In the end, Ryan Bolda (19) was the winning quarterback, Christina Headdy was the Homecoming queen and Crown Point was a winner, 37-35. (All photos by Mark Smith)

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Revised: October 18, 2017 .

Team 1 2 3 4 F
LaPORTE (4-3, 3-2) 7 14 7 7 35
CROWN POINT (4-3, 3-2) 14 7 7 9 37

Friday, September 29, 2017,  60 degrees at kick-off, Duneland Athletic Conference at CROWN POINT, Ind.

1st Qtr CROWN POINT (7-0) Timmy Angel, 4-yard pass from Ryan Bolda. 14-yards, 4-play drive following partial block of a punt gave CP the ball at the LaPorte 14 yard line. 1:18 min. Time of Possession (TOP). Ben Fridrich kick. 9:56 left.
LaPORTE (7-7) Drayson Nespo, 63-yard run. 80-yard drive, 6 plays. 2:00 min. (approx.) TOP. Caleb Kuzdas kick. 7:51 left.
CROWN POINT (14-7) Tyler Gomez, 5-yard run. 89-yards, 11 play drive. 4:15 min. TOP. Ben Fridrich kick. 1:27 left.

2nd Qtr: LaPORTE (14-14) Drayson Nespo, 3-yard run. 83-yard, 13 play drive. 4:20 min. TOP. Caleb Kuzdas kick. 9:01 left.
LaPORTE (21-14) Drayson Nespo, 5-yard run. 95-yard, 8 play drive. 3:24 min. TOP. Caleb Kuzdas kick. 2:21 left.
Tyler Gomez, 1-yard run. 65-yard, 10 play drive. 2:06 min. TOP. Ben Fridrich kick. 0:15 left.
3rd Qtr: LaPORTE (28-21) Nolan Lorenz, 4-yard run. 67-yard drive, 11 plays after Selah Brooks intercepted a Ryan Bolda pass. Caleb Kuzdas kick. 6:52 left.
CROWN POINT (28-28) Scott Mills, 1-yard run. 58-yard drive, 5 plays. 2:17 min. TOP. Ben Fridrich kick. 3:58 left.
4th Qtr: CROWN POINT (31-28) Ben Fridrich, 27-yard field goal. 86-yard, 9 play drive. 3:53 min. TOP. 9:22 left.
LaPORTE (35-31) Drayson Nespo, 42-yard run. 72-yards, 7 play drive. 2:34 min. TOP. Caleb Kuzdas kick. 6:48 left.
CROWN POINT (37-35) Tyler Gomez, 2-yard run. 84-yard, 6 play drive. 2:39 min. TOP. Kick wide left. 4:04 left.

LaPORTE (66 carries, 508 yards, 5 TD, 2 fumbles): Drayson Nespo (HB) 34 carries, 244 yards, 4 TDs, one fumble), Nolan Lorenz (QB) 12-122 yards, TDS; Issac Alexander (HB) 12 c-76 yards, fumble; Michael Peeples (FB) 5-37; Caleb Kuzdas (HB) 3-29 yards.
CROWN POINT (28 carries, 264 yards, 4 TDs, 0 fumbles): Tyler Gomez (HB) 24 carries, 257 yards, 3 TDs; Scott Mills (HB) 1-1, TD; Ryan Bolda (QB) 2, minus-6) (one sack minus-7): Eric Mahaffery (WR) 1-12.

LaPORTE: Nolan Lorenz (QB 1-for-3, 5 yards;
CROWN POINT: Ryan Bolda (QB) 9 of 15, 89 yards, 1 TD, 1 interception.

LaPORTE: Mark Haines (TE) 1-5 yards;
CROWN POINT: Ben Fridrich (TE) 3-29 yards; Ben Schoettle (R) 2-39 yards; Tyler Gomez (HB) 1-5; Tim Angel (WR) 2-12; Mark Knox (WR) 1-6.

LaPORTE (1) Selah Brooks; CROWN POINT (0) none.


CROWN POINT (2) Noah Nelson (LB), Jack Zaleski (LB).


LaPORTE: 508 yards, 28 first downs, 2 turnovers;
CROWN POINT: 353 yards, 18 first downs, 1 turnover.

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CROWN POINT (09-29-2017) I'm old, but I've never seen a high school (or any other) football game where one side rushes for 500 yards and the other team wins.

But Crown Point survived an overflow of rushing success by visiting LaPorte last Friday and still won 37-35 to stay alive in the race for first place in the Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC).

It seemed like the Slicers were running down hill most of the night. They ran for 508 yards and 28 first downs on a Crown Point defense that had stopped virtually everybody from running the ball all season.

Leading 37-35, it looked like the home team would lose when LaPorte's 1,000-yard rusher Drayson Nesbo broke loose on 1st-and-10 from the CP 24 yard line. The last man with a chance to make the tackle, CP's Ethan Potosky, made a diving stop at the 14-yard line.

Three plays later, LaPorte was very willing to settle for a 27-yard field goal, at virtual extra point distance, to win the game. Kicker Caleb Kuzdas, who had been 5-for-5 on extra points, seemed certain to make it.

But Kuzdas' kick was deflected by the center of the CP line. Whether it was blocked or just booted low, CP had the game won with 20 seconds left.

It was a stunning game. Over 850 yards. 44 first downs. Nobody cold stop anybody.

"Me and (Eric) Mahaffey, We're just sitting down there at the end," said Crown Point's quarterback Ryan Bolda. "We were just crouched down. Hoping for the best. And what do you know - it happened."

"I think the kick was just low and to the left. We lucked out. LaPorte has a great team. They know what they're doing. That's one of the most fun games I've ever played in in my life. And the ending just tops it."

LaPorte's double tight end, full house backfield attack, produced 10 running plays of 10 yards or more and five rushing TDs. Crown Point's big offensive line and power running attack boosted Gomez to runs of 10, 11, 13, 44 and 70 yards. And it was the 70 yard run off right guard and tackle with five minutes to play that set up CP's final score, a 1-yard run by Gomez to make it 37-35.

"Our line let Gomez run all over the place," Bolda added. "Huge yards. That's all a credit to the O-line (offensive line).
They do an amazing job up there. Pass protection, too. Keeping me off the ground."

LaPorte took the kickoff at the their own 29 and picked up four rushing first downs as the clock continued to run. The Slicers likely would have scored a TD if there had been more time. But with just 31 seconds to play and the ball at the Crown Point 10-yard line, LaPorte ran a simple dive play with Nespo to move the ball into position for a potential game-winning field goal. But the kick failed and CP escaped with the win.
"We just went back and forth all night long," said CP coach Kevin Enright. "Both schools played extremely hard. It's unfortunate that somebody had to lose a game like this. Certainly we're proud of our group. They hung in there and came up big when they had to."

"Our yards were a credit to all 11 guys on offense. Tyler followed his blocks. Our downfield guys got their blocks.

"What they do (running the ball) is unique at the high school level. It's like the old triple option and you can't prepare for it."

"What they do is they put a bunch of people in a small space and run a lot of misdirection. They are very, very good at what they do. The scheme always gives you a chance whether you have big people or small people."

The back-to-back home wins, the 37-35 win over LaPorte following the 21-6 upset of first place Valparaiso, are certainly the Bulldogs' best back-to-back home wins in many years.

"When you work 365 days a year," Enright said of the back to back triumphs over this year's Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC) leader and last year's DAC champ, "you feel you should be in the games against anybody."

BULLDOG NOTES: Official CPHS totals had LaPorte gaining 511 yards on 70 carries. I am still looking for the last time that any high school team in Northwest Indiana ran for 500 yards in regulation time and lost the game. Senior linebacker Caden Watson was credited with 23 tackles, including 18 solo tackles.

It's hard to say what CPHS all-time records are, due to the long history of the program. But again, I'm still looking for the last CP player who made 23 tackles in the same game.

Coach: Kevin Enright, 34-28 in 6th year at school
Aug. 18 at Lowell {4A}   L 13-27   
Aug. 25 Highland {4A}  W 35-  6   
Sep. 1 Merrillville {6A}‡   L 26-34   
Sep. 8 at Lake Central {6A}‡  W 45-  0   
Sep. 15 at Portage {6A}‡   L 10-27   
Sep. 22 Valparaiso {6A}‡  W 21-  6   
Sep. 29 LaPorte {5A}‡  W 37-35   
Oct. 6 at Chesterton {6A}‡  W 21-  7   
Oct. 13 Michigan City {5A}‡ 7:00 pm   

Coach: Dave Sharpe, 20-9 in 3rd year at school, 32-19 in 5th year overall
Aug. 18 New Prairie {4A}  W 41-12   
Aug. 25 at Hobart {4A}   L 23-34   
Sep. 1 Valparaiso {6A}‡   L   6-17   
Sep. 8 at Chesterton {6A}‡  W 20-18   
Sep. 15 Lake Central {6A}‡  W 56-  7   
Sep. 22 at Merrillville {6A}‡  W 42-20   
Sep. 29 at Crown Point {6A}‡   L 35-37   
Oct. 6 Michigan City {5A}‡  W 58-56   
Oct. 13 Portage {6A}‡ 7:00 pm   

  W-L Pts OP W-L Pts OP Streak
Valparaiso 5-1 105 61 7-  1 148 75 Won 2
Crown Point 4-2 160 109 5-  3 208 142 Won 3
LaPorte 4-2 217 155 5-  3 281 201 Won 1
Michigan City 4-2 248 145 5-  3 294 228 Lost 1
Portage 4-2 160 120 4-  4 212 187 Lost 2
Chesterton 1-5 102 145 3-  5 170 187 Lost 1
Lake Central 1-5 86 262 2-  6 119 317 Won 1
Merrillville 1-5 126 207 1-  7 139 256 Lost 5
Friday, Sep. 29
Chesterton 42, Lake Central 24‡
Crown Point 37, LaPorte 35‡
Michigan City 31, Portage 14‡
Valparaiso 28, Merrillville 0‡
Friday, Oct. 6
Crown Point 21, Chesterton 7‡
LaPorte 58, Michigan City 56‡
Lake Central 27, Merrillville 23‡
Valparaiso 23, Portage 20‡
Friday, Oct. 13
Chesterton at Merrillville‡, 7 pm
Lake Central at Valparaiso‡, 7 pm
Michigan City at Crown Point‡, 7 pm
Portage at LaPorte‡, 7 pm
‡Conference game