Lowell defense limits Bulldogs to 17-yards rushing, tops CP 17-7 in season opener


A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith



CP linebacker Ethan Potosky (28) looks to stop Lowell's Ethan Igras (16) in first quarter action Friday in CP. (All photos by Mark Smith)
Lowell guards Jake Steward (55) and Bryan Schantz (51) get set to guard QB Ethan Igras in first quarter action near the goal line.
CP senior Trevor Bieszczat (80) breaks loose on a second quarter punt return in the season opener against Lowell.
CP quarterback Will Pettit (7) gets ready to throw against Lowell. Pettit threw 29 passes in his varsity debut.
CP students went deep into their Hawaiian wardrobe closet for the mid-August football season opener last Friday night.
Lowell end Blake Jansky (44) gets high to harass CP quarterback Will Pettit (7) in the annual Lowell-CP game on Friday.
CP's Scott Mills (22) tries to get outside the defense against Lowell last Friday in the season opener.
Senior defensive back Railaun Cosey (6) begins the season by running back the opening kickoff against Lowell.
CP senior cheerleaders and dance team members were honored at the season opener against Lowell.
Lowell QB Ethan Igras (16) tried to stay out of touch with CP senior Seamus McShane (57) last Friday night.
Junior wide receiver Tysen Cazy (84) caught three passes in his varsity debut against Lowell last Friday.
It wasn't quite 'standing room only' for the Lowell-CP game, but some places were only for standing room as the 2018 high school football season began last week.
(All photos by Mark Smith)

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Revised: August 22, 2018 .







LOWELL (1-0)












Friday, August 17, 2018 -  78 degrees (at kick-off) in season opener at CROWN POINT, IN

1st Qtr: LOWELL (7-0) Tyler Wildman, 5-yard run. 38-yard drive, 7 plays. Nate Gard kick. 7:04 min. left.
2nd Qtr: CROWN POINT (7-7) Scott Mills, 5-yard run. 5 yards, 1 play after blocked punt. Jack Mumaugh kick. 0:40 min. left.

3rd Qtr: LOWELL (10-7) Nate Gard, 27-yard field goal. 63-yard drive, 9 plays. 8:05 min. left.

LOWELL (17-7) John Alessia, 51-yard punt return. Nate Gard kick. 0:58 min. left.

4th Qtr: (No scoring.)


LOWELL (35 carries, 122 yards, TD): Ethan Igras (QB) 8 carries, 41 yards (one sack minus-7); Tyler Wildman (HB) 21 carries, 90 yards, TD; Rylee Torrence (HB) 4-4 yards; Collin Sanfrantello (WR) 1-1 yard; Adam Bank (HB) 2-(minus-2 yards).

CROWN POINT (14 carries, 17 yards, 1 TD, 0 fumbles) Scott Mills (HB) 8 carries, 26 yards, TD; Will Pettit (QB) 3 (minus-13) yards, (2 sacks -minus 15); Anthony Gomez (WR) 1-0 yards.

LOWELL: Ethan Igras (QB) 9 of 15, 104 yards 0 TDs, one INT;
CROWN POINT: Will Pettit (QB) 16 of 29, 126 yards, 0 INTs, 0 TDs.

LOWELL: John Alessia (WR) 1-19 yards; Mike Langen (TE) 1-11 yards; Rylee Torrence (HB) 1-13- yards; Joel Dearing (WR) 1-15 yards; Collin Sanfrantello (WR) 2-25 yards; Blake Jansky (TE) 1-9 yards; Adam Bank (HB) 1-5 yards; Shawn Mooney (HB) 1-10 yards.

CROWN POINT: Scott Mills (HB) 4-28 yards; Anthony Gonzalez (WR) 4-31 yards; Tysen Cazy (WR) 3-35 yards; David O’Toole (WR) 3-15 yards; Chris Berry (HB) 2-7 yards.

CROWN POINT (1) Sam Krutz

LOWELL: 226 yards, 11 first downs, 2 turnovers;
CROWN POINT: 143 yards, 6 first downs, 0 turnovers.


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CROWN POINT (8-17-2018) When I saw Lowell face Merrillville in the scrimmage on Aug. 10, I said ‘wow’.
The Devils start the season with Crown Point, Portage and Morton? And they only have 44 boys on the roster?
That’s all. How are they not going to be 0-3?

Well, by winning the 2018 season opener 17-7 at Crown Point last Friday. That’s how.
Senior quarterback Ethan Igras led two scoring drives. Junior John Alessia scored on a 51-yard punt return and a re-built and revamped Lowell defense held Crown Point to an unofficial 143 total yards. Lowell graduated 22 seniors off last year’s 14-1 team, most of them starters.

“At 2 o’clock this afternoon, I didn’t have the ‘pulse’ of this team,” admitted Lowell coach Keith Kilmer. “They’re good kids. They do what you ask them to do, but I didn’t know if they believed in themselves yet.”

“Once we got here and the pads got poppin’ our confidence grew. Like a typical Lowell-Crown Point game, we were looking for (first time) guys to go out there and a lot of guys came through tonight.”

About 3,000 opening night fans saw Lowell score the first time they had the ball. Starting at the Crown Point 38-yard line after a short punt, Tyler Wildman ran the final five yards off right guard to give the Devils a 7-0 lead with 7:04 still left in the first quarter.

Crown Point didn’t get a first down until rookie quarterback Will Pettit completed a 12-yard pass to junior David O’Toole on the second play of the second quarter.

A 19-yard punt return by CP senior Trveor Bieszczat led to a 22-yard field goal attempt by new senior kicker Jack Mumaugh, but the boot sailed right and was no good.

Crown Point scored after Lowell messed up an attempted punt in the final minute of the first half. The snap was low and the kick was eventually blocked by CP with the Bulldogs taking over at the Lowell 5-yard line.

CP senior Scott Mills scored on a 5-yard run to tie the game with 40 seconds left in the second quarter.

The biggest play came after Nate Gard’s 27-yard field goal had given Lowell a 10-7 third quarter lead.

The Devils forced a CP punt and junior John Alessia, who earlier had to leave the field due to muscle cramps, grabbed the boot at the Lowell 49-yard-line, headed towards the home sidelines and then cut left across field and scored untouched to give Lowell a 17-7 lead in the final minute of the third quarter.

That play put Lowell in control.

“He’s going to be the breakout player in our region this year,” said Kilmer of his new wide receiver-free safety-punt returner.

“I think he’s the guy nobody knows right now but everybody’s going to know by the end of the year.”

“That play was huge. Because then (up 10 points) we could go back to running the ball and running out the clock instead of having to find a play and punch something (another TD) in.”

Alessia went from almost never getting on the filed as a sophomore to now starting on offense, defense and special teams.

“Everybody kept encouraging me,” Alessia said. “My teammates and my coaches. The blocking (on the punt return) was so good I just ran into the open. The junior wanted to credit all the seniors.

“Ethan (Igras) did a great job,” he said, “and our young guys stepped up. And I know we can get better.”

Crown Point will get better as well.

The Bulldogs returned some experienced offensive players this season in running backs Scott Mills and Chris Berry, but officially, they had 11 first-time starters on the field at the start of the game. The offensive line tried, but they could not handle the Devils defensive front, which includes returning starters Chandler Austgen (6-2, 283), Kory King (5-11, 234), Blake Jansky (6-0, 198) and Mike Langen (5-10, 215), who recorded two QB sacks.

Kilmer wanted to give credit to TJ Lukasik, a star Lowell player from 2005-to-2007, who took over for Derek Thompson this season as the Devils’ defensive coordinator. Facing a Class 6A school with an entirely new defensive secondary and a lot of linemen going both ways.

“I don’t think he slept a lot the last couple of nights,” said Kilmer. ‘He says he did, but I don't know.”

Lukasik said what they wanted to do was no secret. Take away CP senior halfback Scott Mills and force Pettit to throw the ball.

“Were wanted to make the sophomore quarterback throw the ball more than 10 yards,” Lukasik said. “Just take alway the flats. Our defensive line basically dominated their offensive line and that took ‘22’ (Mills) out of the game.”

“The secondary made it work. These kids. They were really something.”

The Bulldogs certainly didn’t want rookie quarterback Will Pettit to throw 29 passes in his first start, but CP never led and the Devils held Crown Point to just 17 yards rushing.

Pettit completed four passes to tall junior Tysen Cazy (6-3, 180), who was also making his first varsity start. Two completions were called back on CP penalties.

“I think he did okay,” said Kilmer of Pettit, who was making his first varsity start. “He’s going to be good. We just got after him. Blitzed him a little. And we won the line of scrimmage.”

CP didn’t win the night, but if the Bulldogs can find a way to run the ball for even 75-to-100 yards a game, their pass attack has a lot of potential.

With just 44 varsity players (and just 26 who are not freshmen or sophomores) Lowell has to find depth in younger players and they know it.

“We had nine guys going both ways at one point,” said Kilmer, “and we can't do that. We have to find 2s (second stringers) and 3s (third stringers) who can go in there and give some guys a little rest. And we found some tonight. Before the weather breaks (turns cooler later in the fall) we have to find guys who can go in for a few plays. We were down to our third quarterback at one point tonight. But they all came through in the end.”

BULLDOG NOTES: Sam Krutz, who grabbed a third quarter interception against Lowell, had two interceptions last season.

Lowell debuted a college-style running-punt scheme on fourth down.

Ethan Igras lines up as the punter, but when he get the ball he surveys the defense and takes a couple of lateral steps to check his options. Most times, Igras just ended up punting the ball, but in the third quarter on 4th-and-4 from the Lowell 43-yard-line, Igras threw a 9-yard pass to Blake Jansky from punt formation for a first down.

Crown Point student body fans traditionally have theme nights at the football games where they all dress up with a common ‘theme.’ For years, the teenagers teamed up to dress as farm boys and farm girls when Lowell comes to town, speaking to the rural nature of the south end of Lake County. It seemed like harmless fun for years, but apparently, the idea of making fun of the visiting school was a tradition CPHS has ‘asked’ its students to end.

The Crown Point kids dressed up with a mid-August warm weather Hawaiian-style theme last Friday for this year’s Lowell game.



Coach: Kevin Enright, 36-31 in 7th year at school
Aug. 17   Lowell 4A L 7 17    
Aug. 24 at Highland 4A 7:00 pm    
Aug. 31 at Merrillville 6A © 7:00 pm    
Sep. 7   Lake Central 6A © 7:00 pm    
Sep. 14   Portage 6A © 7:00 pm    
Sep. 21 at Valparaiso 6A © 7:00 pm    
Sep. 28 at LaPorte 5A © 7:00 pm    
Oct. 5   Chesterton 6A © 7:00 pm    
Oct. 12 at Michigan City 5A © 7:00 pm    


Coach: Keith Kilmer, 66-30 in 9th year at school
Aug. 17 at Crown Point 6A W 17 7    
Aug. 24   Portage 6A 7:00 pm    
Aug. 31   Hammond Morton 4A 7:00 pm    
Sep. 7 at Hammond Clark 3A 7:00 pm    
Sep. 14   Kankakee Valley 4A © 7:00 pm    
Sep. 21 at Highland 4A © 7:00 pm    
Sep. 28   Munster 5A © 7:00 pm    
Oct. 5 at Andrean 3A © 7:00 pm    
Oct. 12   Hobart 4A © 7:00 pm    

  W-L Pts OP W-L Pts OP Streak
Lake Central 0-0 0 0 1-  0 10 3 Won 1
Merrillville 0-0 0 0 1-  0 20 14 Won 1
Michigan City 0-0 0 0 1-  0 53 0 Won 1
Chesterton 0-0 0 0 0-  1 9 10 Lost 2
Crown Point 0-0 0 0 0-  1 7 17 Lost 2
LaPorte 0-0 0 0 0-  1 14 42 Lost 2
Portage 0-0 0 0 0-  1 14 35 Lost 2
Valparaiso 0-0 0 0 0-  1 3 21 Lost 2
Friday, Aug. 17
Hobart 10, Chesterton 9
Lake Central 10, Munster 3
Lowell 17, Crown Point 7
Merrillville 20, Andrean 14
Michigan City 53, Griffith 0
Mishawaka 35, Portage 14
New Prairie 42, LaPorte 14
Penn 21, Valparaiso 3
Friday, Aug. 24
Chesterton at Munster, 7 pm
Crown Point at Highland, 7 pm
Hobart at LaPorte, 7 pm
Homewood-Flossmoor (Ill.) at Michigan City, 7 pm
Lake Central at Morton, 7 pm
Penn at Merrillville, 6:30 pm
Portage at Lowell, 7 pm
Valparaiso at Mishawaka, 6:30 pm
Friday, Aug. 31
Crown Point at Merrillville ©, 7 pm
Lake Central at Portage ©, 7 pm
LaPorte at Valparaiso ©, 7 pm
Michigan City at Chesterton ©, 7 pm
©conference game

  W-L Pts OP W-L Pts OP Streak
Hobart 0-0 0 0 1-  0 10 9 Won 1
Lowell 0-0 0 0 1-  0 17 7 Won 1
Andrean 0-0 0 0 0-  1 14 20 Lost 2
Highland 0-0 0 0 0-  1 6 16 Lost 2
Kankakee Valley 0-0 0 0 0-  1 12 34 Lost 7
Munster 0-0 0 0 0-  1 3 10 Lost 2
Friday, Aug. 17
Morton 16, Highland 6
Hobart 10, Chesterton 9
Lake Central 10, Munster 3
Lowell 17, Crown Point 7
Merrillville 20, Andrean 14
Rensselaer 34, Kankakee Valley 12
Friday, Aug. 24
Andrean at Hanover, 7 pm
Chesterton at Munster, 7 pm
Crown Point at Highland, 7 pm
Hobart at LaPorte, 7 pm
Portage at Lowell, 7 pm
Wheeler at Kankakee Valley, 7 pm
Friday, Aug. 31
Andrean at New Prairie, 7 pm
Culver Academy at Hobart, 6:30 pm
Morton at Lowell, 7 pm
Highland at Clark, 7 pm
Kankakee Valley at Washington, 6 pm
Munster at EC Central, 7 pm
©conference game