After scoreless regulation, Bulldogs' Gomez scores TD in 2nd OT for 9-3 win over 4A No. 4 Red Devils in season opener

A Special Report by Mark Smith


Lowell's Gavin Summers (69) and Max Steward (64) stand on the center of Bulldog Turf for the coin toss at the start of the Lowell-CP game last Friday. (All photos by Mark Smith)
Lowell's linebacker Trevor Espravnik (13) keeps his eyes on both CP running back Griff Govert (30) and quarterback Grayson Lynk (13) early in last Friday's Lowell-Crown Point game.
Crown Pont's Zach Stewart (29) leads the Bulldogs on the field for the start of the 2016 season last Friday against Lowell.
Lowell defensive end Gavin Summers (69) tries to get past the block of Tyler Gomez (42) and rush CP quarterback Grayson Lynk. Defenses dominated as the Lowell-CP game was scoreless though four quarters.
Crown Point senior Alex Ristovski (79) protects senior teammate Grayson Lynk (13) early in last Friday's season opening game.
Lowell's Gavin Summers (69) stops Tyler Gomez (42) in second quarter action last Friday. Gomez would later score the only TD in the second overtime of CP's 9-3 win over Lowell.
CP quarterback Grayson Lynk (13) warms up on the CP sidelines. Lynk was 12 of 25 passing against the highly-regarded Lowell defense.
In some what of a role-reversal, Lowell students dressed up as farmers for their visit to Crown Point last Friday for the season football opener. Usually, CP kids go 'country' to welcome their South Lake County neighbors.
A drummer in Crown Point's band was just happy to be there for the unofficial start of the school year, the annual football opener against Lowell.
Crown Point senior Nick Winter happily holds the 'Leather Helmet Trophy' after the Bulldogs topped Lowell 9-3 in two overtimes last Friday.
Crown Point linebacker Don Schuch (25) gets some private time with the Leather helmet Trophy after his Bulldogs scored in the second overtime to upset 4A No. 4 Lowell last week.
Everybody's gone home but the scoreboard tells the story after CP's 2-1/2 hour battle with rival Lowell ended in a 9-3 Crown Point victory. (All photos by Mark Smith.)

Copyright 2016 and Meyer Multimedia Services, a division of Meyer Broadcasting Corp.  All rights reserved.
Revised: August 21, 2016 .



Team 1 2 3 4 OT1 OT2 F
LOWELL (0-1) 0 0 0 0 3 0 3
CROWN POINT (1-0) 0 0 0 0 3 6 9

Friday, August 19, 2016 -  80 degrees, humid in season opener at CROWN POINT, IN

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

3rd Qtr: No scoring.

4th Qtr: No scoring.

1st Overtime: CROWN POINT (3-0) Brian Lewis 19-yard (1st career) field goal. 4th down.
LOWELL (3-3) Jake Post, 22-yard (1st career) field goal. 4th down.
2nd Overtime: CROWN POINT (9-3) Tyler Gomez, 4-yard TD (1st career touchdown) run. 3rd down.



LOWELL (37 carries, 58 yards) Trevor Espravnik (HB) 13 carries, 33 yards, Jordan Jusevitch (HB) 8 carries, 18 yards, Jaeger Gill (WR) 2 carries, 4 yards, Jared Sojka (FB) 2 carries, 7 yards, Dayton Hornickel (QB) 12 carries, minus-4 yards, 7 sacks (minus-34 yards).
CROWN POINT (31 caries, 93 yards) Tyler Gomez (HB) 19 carries, 60 yards, TD; Griffin Govert (FB) 7 carries, 20 yards, Tyler Jones (WR) 2 carries, 4 yards, Grayson Lynk (QB) 3 carries, 9 yards (1 sack, minus-6).

LOWELL : Dayton Hornickel (QB) 4-for-6, 23 yards, Jordan Jusevitch (HB) 0-for-1, 0 yards;
CROWN POINT: Grayson Lynk (QB) 12 for 25, 95 yards O TDs, one interception.

LOWELL: Jared Sojka (FB) 1 catch, 3 yards; Jaeger Gill (WR) 1-4 yards, Tucker Greenholt (WR) 1-8 yards, Jordan Jusevitch (HB) 1-8 yards;
CROWN POINT: Tyler Jones (WR) 3 catches 23 yards, Griffin Govert (FB) 3-15 yards, Shane McCormack (WR) 4-32 yards, Ben Fridrich (TE) 1-15 yards, Tyler Gomez (HB) 1-10 yards.

LOWELL: 81 yards, 3 first downs, 0 turnovers;
CROWN POINT: 188 yards, 12 first downs, 1 turnover - Interception (Jordan Jusevitch).


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CROWN POINT (8-19-2016) Lowell coach Keith Kilmer said it in the week before the annual Lowell-Crown Point game.

"We told 'em (Lowell's players) that you guys are talking about going to state, while Crown Point is just talking about you."

It was more than talk.

Crown Point, coming off a 1-9 record in 2015, battled it out with Lowell for four quarters and two overtimes before the Bulldogs upset Lowell 9-3 in the ultimate defensive struggle. Junior Tyler Gomez, who played defense last year, swept right end on the second play of the second overtime and scored the only touchdown of the hot August night, giving CP a memorable victory and a reversal of fortunes to erase to last year's one-win season.

"This was big," said nose tackle Nick Winter, holding the 'Leather Helmet Trophy' a traveling trophy given to the winner of the annual Lowell-CP football game. "I worked all my career to get this," he said, standing near the goal line where the Bulldogs had just won. "This is so big for this team. It's everything to us."

"I thought I had it (as soon as he got the ball), but I try not to think that way," said Gomez of his winning run. "I always think somebody's going to come in hard and take out my knee or ankle wrap me and I wont get there. So I just try to go as hard as I can all the time."

The CP boys are well aware of 2015 and how few folks outside of school project them to be a winning team.

"We've heard what people say," Tyler admitted about CP's prospects for the 2016 season. "But I think every game is even going into it. It's not about who they have or who's going to be a Division I player. It's about who can bond together and be a team. And we did that."

After first time kickers Brian Lewis and Jake Post kicked fourth down field goals in the first overtime, CP stopped Lowell in the second overtime. The Devils ran four times from the 10 and gained a total of nine yards. On 4th-and-2 at with the score tied 3-3, Lowell's Jordan Jusevitch was stopped at the 1-yard line, giving CP a chance to win with any score. Griff Govert gained six yards on first down in CP's possession before Gomez got a quick start and swept right end to win the game in front of about 3,000 fans.

In 35 years of watching a high school football game every Friday I do not remember ever watching a four quarter scoreless tie between two varsity teams. Crown Point threw the ball 25 times, but they also used a 'single wing' type of offensive set without a quarterback, featuring direct snaps to Gomez or senior fullback Griffin Govert (5-10, 210). It was a very physical game that began in mid-summer heat (upper 70s) and high humidity and went deep into the night.

Lowell did not record a first down until senior QB Dayton Hornickel, making his first varsity start, ran 15 yards with nine minutes left in the second quarter. The Devils reached the Crown Point 40-yard-line late in the first half, but end Ethan Wood and linebacker Don Schuch sacked Hornickel for a 10-yard loss and Lowell could not get close enough to try a field goal. CP punted five times in the first half while Lowell punted four times. CP quarterback Grayson Lynk threw 13 times in the first half, but the Bulldogs seemed very wary of the Lowell secondary, led by veterans Jordan Jusevitch and Jaeger Gill, throwing almost nothing of any length in the middle of the field.

In the third quarter, CP kicker James Priddy rolled a punt dead on the Lowell 4-yard-line. The Devils moved the ball to the 12 and punted and the Bulldogs took over at the Lowell 41 and drove to the Lowell 8-yard-line with 2:41 left in the quarter. On 3rd-and-goal from the 8, Lynk fired a pass in the end zone that Jusevitch intercepted to end the threat.

The final minute of the fourth quarter was about as entertaining as a scoreless tie can be. CP's Grayson Lynk completed a 10-yard pass to Gomez who got the ball to the Lowell 19-yad-line. After three incomplete passes, CP's Pridy lined up for a 36-yard field goal. Lowell junior Jordan Jusevicth blocked the kick and the Red Devils' Jaeger Gill picked it up and sprinted down the home sidelines. Priddy, the last CP player with a chance to stop him, tackled Gill at the Crown Point 21-yard-line.

Lowell put Jusevitch, the all-state safety at quarterback for one play. He threw a pass into double coverage which was batted down at the CP 5-yard line. With four seconds to play, Lowell sent out junior Jake Post for his first career field goal attempt. It was low and wide to the left and the fourth quarter ended with no score.

Most everyone on the Crown Point defense excelled, but I thought the front line in CP's 3-5-3, five linebacker defense did very well. Nick Winter (6-0, 250), who was the center on offense in 2015, has moved to noseguard between senior Emas King (6-0, 215) and Ethan Wood (6-2, 220). There often comes a time in games involving Lowell where the Devils line up in a double tight end power formation and run multiple plays in row, trying to impose their will and wear down the defense. Last Friday night in four quarters and two overtimes, Lowell ran just 55 offensive plays, eight of them were punts and two were field goal attempts.

Linebackers Nate Darche' (6-0, 180), Bailey Miles (5-9, 165), Zach Ramus (5-9, 190), Caden Watson (5-11, 185) and Don Schuch (6-1, 215) helped hold Lowell to just three first downs and no touchdowns, even when the Devils started from the 10-yard-line in overtime. CP sacked Lowell QB Dayton Hornickel seven times in his first varsity start.

"This was the greatest game I've ever been in," said Winter after the 2-1/2 hour struggle. "Lowell is a great team. Their defense was great. We've talked about this game all summer. We have the 'countdown clock' from last year. 365 days until we play. We just wanted to go as hard as we obviously could. This is the biggest win I've ever been involved in."

Lowell coach Keith Kilmer was clearly frustrated that his boys couldn't get the one touchdown they needed to win.

"We had a third as many yards in penalties as we gained total," he said. "Crown Point played us tough up the middle. They were going to force us to do something we didn't want to do and we couldn't do it."

"We worked on it. Trying to spread it out. Maybe we should have gone to it earlier, but we were trying to save our athletes for the second half. A lot of our kids had to play both ways on a (hot weather) night like this. It's not an excuse. It has to be a part of the game plan."

Lowell was shut out over four quarters for the first time since a 27-0 loss at Mishawaka in the 2012 sectional quarterfinals. The last time CP shut anybody out for four periods was a 31-0 win over LaPorte on Oct. 4, 2013. Hornickel struggled in his debut, but he did throw a potential game winning touchdown pass on third down in the first overtime and the ball was dropped in the corner of the end zone.

"We've got to go back and get better. We've got eight more games. To diversify our offense we have to either get our athletes on the field (play the top players both ways) or somebody else has to step up. The good thing is: We've got eight more games."

"Cant say enough about our defense. Shut out for four quarters. Blocked two kicks. We just have to get better. We'll see what we're made of. Dayton is going to be all right. We never threw the ball on first down."

DOG/DEVIL NOTES: Lowell and Crown Point have now split the two schools' last 18 varsity football games with each side having won nine times. The last time Crown Point played a scoreless tie through four quarters was September 15, 1978 when they lost 3-0 in overtime to Calumet. On September 27, 1968, before the IHSAA instituted an overtime period for varsity football, Crown Point and Lake Central played a game that ended in a scoreless tie.

Lowell played without senior linebacker Austin Giordano (5-10, 197), who may be back next week for the home opener against Portage (0-1).

CP quarterback Grayson Lynk was an unofficial 12 of 25 for (48%) for 95 yards, but completion percentage can be a misleading statistic. More than once, under pressure, Lynk threw the ball away intentionally to avoid being tackled. The Bulldog senior was sacked just once. While he did throw an interception to Lowell's Jordan Jusevitch in the end zone, Lynk played a careful game against a top defensive team and gave his team a chance to win.

Lynk completed five passes for first down yardage and he was able to move the Bulldogs to the Lowell 20 yard line and later to the Lowell 24 in the fourth quarter. Both times Bulldog field goal attempts were blocked.

Tyler Gomez played defensive back for Crown Point last season as a sophomore. He was in on 41 tackles and credited with four pass 'breakups'. But he's definitely a ball carrier now after gaining 60 yards on 19 carries against Lowell.

"I've played offense before," said Gomez of his position change from defensive back. "I could do both if they wanted me to. I've played offense before. I just do what they want me to do."

Lowell coach Keith Kilmer noted that Jake Post hit the field goal in the first overtime that tied the game and sent it to the second OT.

"He played every down on defense, too," said Kilmer, "in place of Giordano. He played well and he gave us another chance. Kicked the field goal that tied it."

The crowd at Crown Point wasn't as large on the CP side as it has been in past seasons, probably a result of the 1-9 record in 2015. The smaller visitors' grandstand was full for Lowell again, not a surprise after last year's 12-1 record.

Kilmer recognized that Lowell has had great football seasons many times after losing the first game, but he acknowledged that losing the opener does create some problems.

"Our kids are talented," he said. "We'll figure it out and I'm sure we'll have a great season. But it's a test. Can we keep our focus? That's half the battle. Don't listen to the naysayers. Don't listen to the 'coaches' who aren't on the staff. Our kids are great and we'll figure it out. We always do."


Coach: Kevin Enright, 24-19 in 5th year at school
Aug. 19 Lowell {4A} 2ot W   9-  3   
Aug. 26 at Mishawaka {5A} 6:30 pm   
Sep. 2 at Merrillville {6A} 7:00 pm   
Sep. 9 Lake Central {6A} 7:00 pm   
Sep. 16 Portage {6A} 7:00 pm   
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: Keith Kilmer, 42-25 in 7th year at school
Aug. 19 at Crown Point {6A} 2ot  L   3-  9   
Aug. 26 Portage {6A} 7:00 pm   
Sep. 2 Kankakee Valley {4A} 7:00 pm   
Sep. 9 at Griffith {3A} 7:00 pm   
Sep. 16 at Highland {4A} 7:00 pm   
Sep. 23 Hobart {4A} 7:00 pm   
Sep. 30 at Hammond Morton {4A} 7:00 pm   
Oct. 7 Munster {4A} 7:00 pm   
Oct. 14 at Andrean {4A} 7:00 pm   


The Bulldogs next opponent: The Bulldogs face the Mishawaka Cavemen at Mishawaka High School on Friday, Aug. 26 at 7:30 p.m. EDT (6:30 p.m. CDT). Mishawaka defeated Portage 21-7 at the Duneland Athletic Conference school's home field in Portage last Friday, Aug. 19. The Cavemen are ranked 10th in Class 5A going into their home opener with Crown Point.
Coach: Bart Curtis, 75-27 in 9th year at school, 186-94 in 26th year overall
Aug. 19 at Portage {6A}  W 21-  7   
Aug. 26 Crown Point {6A} 7:30 pm   
Sep. 2 Indianapolis Cathedral {6A} 7:00 pm   
Sep. 9 at South Bend Adams {5A} 7:00 pm   
Sep. 16 at South Bend Clay {4A} 7:00 pm   
Sep. 23 Elkhart Central {5A} 7:00 pm   
Sep. 30 South Bend St. Joseph {4A} 7:00 pm   
Oct. 7 Mishawaka Marian {3A} 7:00 pm  nc 
Oct. 14 at Penn {6A} 7:00 pm