Portage Defense frustrates Bulldogs in 7-3 Win at Crown Point Homecoming

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith


Seniors Shane McCormick (5) and Grayson Lynk (13) lead the Bulldogs onto the field on Homecoming night last Friday. The Bulldogs have 22 seniors on the 2016 roster. (All photos by Mark Smith)
CP junior linebacker Caden Watson (54) tips this pass by Portage quarterback Anthony Maceo (3) in first half action last week in Crown Point.
Tight end Ben Fridrich (85) and tackle Alex Ristovski (79) clear the way for halfback Tyler Gomez (42) last Friday in the Homecoming game against Portage.
Crown Point quarterback Grayson Lynk (13) looks downfield in the first half against Portage. Lynk completed four passes to Shane McCormick last Friday for 48 yards.
Griff Govert (30) protects the ball against Rayner Teangelo (34), Christian West (25) and Zack Baldauf (27) in first half action last week in Crown Point.
CP tight end Ben Fridrich (85) tries to get away from Portage defensive back David Miller (4) in action last Friday.
CP's Ethan Wood (86) might be being held while Portage QB Anthony Maceo (3) fires a long pass last week in Crown Point.
Crown Point's Nate Marciniec (55) Alex Ristovski (79) and Jacob Keaveney (72) check with the bench during a scoreless first half against Portage
CP Caden Watson (54) watches for further developments as Portage's Anthony Maceo (3) and David Herrod (1) chase a fumble in the second quarter against the Bulldogs last Friday.
The game was tied at halftime, but Cailey Sabotnick (middle) was a winner before the second half began. Cailey was named the 2016 Crown Point high school Homecoming queen.

Copyright 2016 USA-365.com and Meyer Multimedia Services, a division of Meyer Broadcasting Corp.  All rights reserved.
Revised: September 21, 2016 .







Portage (3-2)












Friday, September 16, 2016 -  75 degrees at CROWN POINT, IN

1st QtrNo scoring.
2nd Qtr: No scoring.

3rd Qtr: PORTAGE (7-0) Anthony Maceo, 17-yard run. 85-yard drive, 8 plays, Josh Gonzalez kick. :00 (last play of the 3rd quarter).

4th Qtr: CROWN POINT (7-3) Ben Fridrich, 40-yard field goal. 40 yard drive, 9 plays. 5:56 left.


PORTAGE (29 carries, 119 yards, 1 TDs, 0 fumbles) Anthony Maceo (HB) 21 carries, 106 yards, TD; Adrian Melendez (WR) 3-3 yards, Jaime Roman (HB) 2 (minus-4); David Herrod (FB) 3-14 yards.

CROWN POINT (32 carries, 80 yards, 0 TDs, 0 fumbles) Tyler Gomez (HB) 11 carries, 31 yards; Griffin Govert (FB) 4 carries, 9 yards; Grayson Lynk (QB) 6 carries, 17 yards; Ty handley (HB) 6-15 yards; Scott Mills (HB) 4-9 yards.

PORTAGE: Anthony Maceo (QB) 3 of 14, 53 yards, 0 TDs, 0 interceptions;
CROWN POINT: Grayson Lynk (QB) 8 of 27, 93 yards, 0 TDs 0 INTS.


PORTAGE: David Herrod (FB) 1 catch, 5 yards; Greg Milledge (WR) 1 catch, 41 yards; Adrian Melendez (WR) 1-7 yards;
CROWN POINT: Tyler Jones (WR) 2 catches, 18 yards, Griffin Govert (FB) 1-12 yards, Shane McCormack (WR) 4-48 yards, . Leo Radiceski (WR) 1-15 yards


PORTAGE: 172 yards, 8 first downs, 0 turnovers;
CROWN POINT: 176 yards, 10 first downs, 0 turnovers.

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CROWN POINT (9-16-2016) When the defenses are better than the offenses, somebody has to make the play that wins the game. Friday night at Crown Point, that 'somebody' was Portage junior quarter back Anthony Maceo, who broke three tackles on a 17-yard run for the only touchdown of the game as the Indians won at Crown Point 7-3.

In a struggle between two teams that have had vivid highs and lows this fall, Portage (3-2, 2-1 Duneland Athletic Conference) was the one that stayed in contention for the DAC championship, while Crown Point was the one that took a third straight loss in a game they 'should have' won.

Late in the third quarter, the game looked like it would go to overtime as a scoreless tie, as the CP season opener against Lowell did. But Maceo, who struggled passing all night, fired a perfect deep pass down the sidelines when senior Greg Milledge made the catch at the Crown Point 41-yard line. Three plays later, Maceo then threw a 7-yard completion to Adrian Melendez on 4th-and-5. Crown Point was called for a personal foul and the ball ended up at the Bulldog 17-yard-line. Then, on 3rd and 10, Maceo faked to the full back and was able to escape three tackles sweeping left end to the end zone, his sixth touchdown of the season.

"He'll give you all that," said Portage coach Darren Rodriguez, "And then he'll make a mistake and you'll go 'ugh'. But that run was what he can do when he makes a good play. That's the kind of athlete he is. That's why we want him with the ball in his hands."

Maceo gained an unofficial 106 yards on 21 carries and his ball fakes and quick steps have him well over 500 yards gained (111 carries, 560 yards) on the season. Despite little passing success (3 of 14, 53 yards), Maceo is the key to everything the Indians have done so far in upset wins at Lowell 28-27 and over Lake Central 36-33.

The Bulldogs could not move the ball consistently. They had 10 possessions in the game. CP tried field goals twice, lost the ball on downs twice late in the fourth quarter and punted the other six times. What is so frustrating is that the Bulldogs (2-3, 1-2 DAC) are not fumbling or throwing interceptions. They just can't make the one late play to win the game.

In the first quarter, CP's Grayson Lynk fired a 15-yard pass to top receiver Shane McCormick to the Portage 28-yard-line. But they lost four yards in the next three plays and had to punt. In the second quarter, Tyler Gomez gained six yards on a 4th-and-1 play at the Portage 19-yard-line. But Gomez, CP's top rusher, was hurt on the play and had to leave the game. CP lost two yards total on the next three plays and Ben Fredrich missed a 32-yard field goal.

In the third quarter, CP punted three times, but Portage punted twice before Maceo's TD.

In the final period, Crown Point reached the 22-yard-line on a 15-yard run by Lynk, but had to settle for Fridrich's career-best 40-yard field goal with 5:56 to play.

Crown Point got the ball back with 4:37 to go and Lynk completed a 12-yard pass to Tyler Jones to the Portage 35-yard line. After three more incompletions, Lynk tried to run on 4th-and-10. The 6-foot-4 QB looked like he'd get 10 yards, but he stumbled and was tackled one yard short with 3:39 to go.

Again the Bulldog defense forced a punt and CP had one last chance from their own 33-yard line with one minute to go. After two offensive penalties and two incompletions, Portage defensive end Jimmy Craven sacked Lynk for a 4-yard-loss.

On 4th and 29, Lynk fired a deep pass down the middle of the field. McCormick got behind two Portage defenders and made a leaping attempt, but just could not hold on at the Portage 40-yard-line. Ten possessions. No turnovers. Three points.

"As a defense, we're where we need to be," said Portage coach Darren Rodriguez. "We're becoming the team we thought we could be. Hats off to the defense guys. When it's 4th-and-29, I don't know how that guy gets behind us, but it happens."

"We haven't been here in awhile. Not this group. Two wins in the conference? We have not been to this point. I know it's cliche', but we keep trying to go one week at a time.''

Crown Point is so close to winning, it hurts.

"I don't think we lack anything," Bulldog junior linebacker Bailey Miles told CP TV after the game. "We have things to work on. Offense. Defense. Special teams. We just have to work on things and get better."

This was a hard loss for Crown Point, but in truth, no tougher than the 41-28 loss at Merrillville when they led by 14. Or the 10-6 loss at Mishawaka where they were down at the goal line and couldn't score in the fourth quarter. And CP's win over then-4A No. 1 Lowell and rival Lake Central were memorable. The roller-coaster season continues.

"I think anybody can beat anybody in the Duneland Conference," said Rodriguez. "There's no easy game. This league is as tough as it's been from top to bottom. We're giving everybody our best and they're giving their best to us."

DOG NOTES: Portage star lineman Nick Johnson (6-2, 300) was hurt late in the week, played a half and did not return. The Indians had six varsity players in street clothes.

Crown Point lost junior running back Tyler Gomez and sophomore halfback Scott Mills to injuries during the game. Senior linebacker Nate Darche', who was hurt against Lake Central, is not out for the season and hopes to be playing in October.

Crown Point has lost games 10-6, 41-28 and 7-3. After five games, only Hanover Central (27) and Whiting (55) and East Chicago (60) have allowed fewer points in Northwest Indiana this season than Crown Point (64) has. And EC has only played four games.

CP's stinginess with points allowed faces the ultimate test this Friday when they travel to Valparaiso (3-2) where the Vikings average 31 points a game.

Portage held CP to 8-of-27 passing with a defense that's rare for high school games, at least in this area. The Indians play a 4-2-5. Four linemen, two linebackers and five defensive backs is the base defense.

"We try to pull down a safety on every play," said coach Darren Rodriguez. "We have two safties. One's a better cover guy and one is a better run guy. We think we have enough athletes back there to run that. When we have a situation where we think they're going to run, we bring a safety down. Zack Baldauf is the guy we bring down. When we think they're going to pass, we have enough guys back there. You (opposing offenses) think there's six guys in the box and sometimes there can be eight.

"A lot of NFL teams do it. A lot of colleges do it. They see so many spread offenses, they need to be able to play against them. This year, it's just what I thought we should do. I'm a 4-man front guy and they ran a 3-man front here last year. Coach (Terry) Chestovich took it on. He researched it and each week we've added something every week. The kids are picking it up."

Coach: Kevin Enright, 25-22 in 5th year at school
Aug. 19 Lowell {4A} 2ot W   9-  3   
Aug. 26 at Mishawaka {5A}   L   6-10   
Sep. 2 at Merrillville {6A}   L 28-41   
Sep. 9 Lake Central {6A}  W 17-  3   
Sep. 16 Portage {6A} L   3-  7   
Sep. 23 at Valparaiso {6A} 7:00 pm   
Sep. 30 at LaPorte {6A} 7:00 pm   
Oct. 7 Chesterton {6A} 7:00 pm   
Oct. 14 at Michigan City {5A} 7:00 pm   

Coach: Darren Rodriguez, 3-2 in 1st year at school, 40-50 in 9th year overall
Aug. 19 Mishawaka {5A}   L   7-21   
Aug. 26 at Lowell {4A}  W 28-27   
Sep. 2 Lake Central {6A}  W 36-33   
Sep. 9 Merrillville {6A}   L 14-20   
Sep. 16 at Crown Point {6A}  W   7-  3   
Sep. 23 at Chesterton {6A} 7:00 pm   
Sep. 30 Michigan City {5A} 7:00 pm   
Oct. 7 at Valparaiso {6A} 7:00 pm   
Oct. 14 LaPorte {6A} 7:00 pm