|59ers score early,
bedevil Lowell in 36-15 victory, clinch NW Crossroads Conference title
USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith
Oct. 5, 2018 - 68 degrees, overcast (at kick-off), Northwest Crossroads Conference game at
Qtr: ANDREAN (2-0)
Lowell punt snap out of the end zone. 9:19 left.
ANDREAN (9-0) Tyler Thomas, 36-yard pass from Zack Merrill. 51-yard
drive, 6 plays. JJ Wadas kick. 6:32 left.
ANDREAN (15-0) Andrew Benton, 1-yard run, 39-yard drive, 6 plays after
fumble recovery by Evan Satoski. Kick blocked by Rylee Torrence. 1:59 left.
Qtr: LOWELL (7-15)
Tyler Wildman, 20-yard run. 98-yard drive, 11 plays. Nate Gard kick. 5:23 left.
ANDREAN (22-7) Nick Flesher, 94-yard kickoff return. JJ Wadas kick. 5:07
3rd Qtr: LOWELL (22-15) John Alessia, 30-yard pass from Ethan
Igras. 80-yard drive, 7 plays. Nate Gard kick. 3:52 left.
ANDREAN (29-15) Tyler Thomas, 51-yard pass from Zack Merrill. 73-yard
drive, 4 plays. JJ Wadas kick. 1:50 left.
4th Qtr: ANDREAN (36-15) Zack Merrill, 1-yard run.
15-yard drive, 6 plays after an interception by Zack Kammer. JJ Wadas kick. 2:15
LOWELL (36 carries, 155 yards, one fumble, one TD): Ethan Igras (QB) 12
carries, 28 yards (2 sacks minus-10) Tyler Wildman (HB) 23 carries, 127 yards,
TD; Brad Goldsmith (HB) (1-0 yards)
ANDREAN (21 carries, 70 yards, 2 TDs, 0 fumbles): Riley Walsh (HB) 9
carries, 24 yards; Zack Merrill (QB) 8 carries, 31 yards (1 sack, minus-2 yards)
: Andrew Burton (HB) 4 carries, 15 yards.
LOWELL: Ethan Igras (QB) 10 of 23, 124 yards, one TDs, one INT;
ANDREAN: Zach Merrill (QB) 12 of 24, 188 yards, 0 INTs, 2 TDs.
LOWELL: John Alessia (WR) 5 catches, 83 yards, TD yards; Shawn Mooney (HB) 1-6
yards; Mike Sanfratello (WR) 1-13 yards; Tyler Wildman (HB) 3-23 yards.
ANDREAN: Cam Thornton (HB) 1-4 yards; Tyler Thomas (WR) 5-115 yards, 2 TDs; Nick
Flesher (WR) 6-69 yards.
ANDREAN (1) Zack Kammer (1)
ANDREAN (1) Evan Satoski
LOWELL: 279 yards, 13 first downs, 2 turnovers;
ANDREAN: 252 yards, 9 first downs, 0 turnovers.
When I looked at the play-by-play record of each quarter of the Lowell-Andrean
game and added everything up I thought I’d surely made a mistake. Going over the
four quarters two or three times it just didn’t make sense.
In the 36-15 Andrean victory over Lowell last Friday, the ‘numbers’ said Lowell
outgained the 59ers in yards gained from scrimmage. My totals said 272-258, but
I must’ve miscounted somewhere. The 59ers won by 21 points.
But then the official totals said Lowell 279-252. How could that be?
Class 3A No. 5 Andrean (7-1) led from the opening moments and the Class 4A No. 6
Devils (6-2) never got within seven points after the first five minutes.
The numbers were misleading. Andrean was ready to roll from the opening kickoff
and Lowell got started after they fell behind 15-0. The 59ers (7-1) won what
will probably be the deciding game in the Northwest Crossroads Conference (NCC)
season with less than their best.
Lowell wasn't bad, but they weren’t ready for this test.
“We wanted this one really bad,” said Andrean’s third year coach Chris Skinner,
who saw his team beat Lowell for the first time.
“Lowell has gotten us the last couple of years. They always have a good team. No
surprise that the conference championship came down to this week. It wasn’t
always pretty for us, but we got the job done.”
Lowell gained one first down after the opening kickoff, but when they had to
punt the snap from center bounced back in the general direction of punter Nate
Gard. The ball bounced behind Gard and the Lowell junior kicked it out of the
back of the end zone to give Andrean a two-point safety (instead of letting the
59ers recover for a TD) with just 2:41 gone in the game.
Lowell kicked off after the safety and Andrean scored quickly in six plays. The
TD was a 36-yard pass from senior quarterback Zack Merrill to wide receiver
Tyler Thomas down the home sideline.
Three plays after the kickoff, Lowell tried a pitchout, but the toss from senior
QB Ethan Igras was off line and Evan Satoski recovered at the Lowell 39 yard
Andrean quickly zipped through the foggy, humid October night for a second TD, a
1-yard run by Andrew Benton, taking a 15-0 lead with 5:15 still left in the
“It was awhile before we thought we belonged in this ball game,” said Lowell
coach Keith Kilmer. “But once we did, we did. Some our kids were ready to play
in a championship ballgame and some of them weren’t.”
Trailing by 15, Lowell mounted one of their best drives of the season. Igras was
4-for-4 passing, he ran 28 yards to the Andrean 20-yard-line and Tyler Wildman
ran 20 yards for the first Devils’ TD of the night just 5:23 before halftime.
But on the following kickoff Flesher (6-0, 175), a smooth running two-sport
sophomore star, zipped down the home sidelines 94 yards to make it 22-7 at the
“We played well at times,” said Kilmer. We go 98 yards to score and then we jog
down the field on the kickoff return. Let ‘em take it all the way back. Let them
run right by you.”
Lowell held the 59ers to just one first down in the third quarter and they drove
98 yards to cut the lead to 22-15 on a 30-yard pass from Igras to John Alessia
and two-point Igras-to-Alessia conversion.
But Andrean quickly expanded the lead. Merrill, who has 23 TD passes in eight
games, hit Flesher for gains of five and 17 yards. He then fired a strike down
the visitors sidelines to Thomas behind the Lowell defense for a 51-yard TD with
1:50 left in the third quarter to make the score 29-15.
Andrean fumbled a punt snap at the 59er 43-yard-line with 11:01 to play, but
Lowell turned the ball over on downs at the 59er 48-yard-line four plays later.
Merrill scored the final TD himself on a QB sneak late in the fourth quarter.
Andrean's 36 points equals the total the Red Devils allowed in their first seven
games combined and it was no secret why that happened. Losing speaks for itself,
but Merrill (6-1, 185) is not only the most skilled QB Lowell has seen, he’s
also better than any QB Lowell will see in the upcoming post-season Class 4A
But Andrean did punt five times. Facing a team with more experience, speed and
skill on the perimeter, the Devils didn’t give up even when the 59ers pushed
them to the point of quitting.
“At some point you’ve got to make plays,” said Kilmer “Not tonight. We weren’t
the better team.”
DEVIL NOTES: Lowell all-purpose player Shawn Mooney was injured
early in the third quarter Friday and had to be taken by ambulance to the
Mooney was carried off the field with his head and neck restrained as the
players, coaches and fans looked on in silence. The senior wide receiver,
defensive back and kick returner apparently did not suffer a permanent injury
and should recover fully.
Andrean’s seven game winning streak is the longest for the 59ers since they won
the first 14 games of the 2014 season. Andrean lost 49-27 to Tri-West in the
2014 Class 3A championship game.
It was a good weekend for Andrean all around. They drew winless Benton Central
(0-8) in the quarterfinals of Class 3A Sectional 25. Andrean and 3A No. 1 West
Lafayette (8-0) are in opposite brackets and could not meet until Nov. 3.
Lowell will open the Class 4A Sectional 17 playoffs at Highland (4-4) in a
rematch of a Sept. 21 game won by Lowell at Highland 7-0.
Tyler Wildman gained an official 123 yards on 23 carries, giving him 854 yards
on 191 carries this season. In 2017, Wildman gained 885 yards on 189 carries.
Ethan Igras’ TD pas to John Alessia was Lowell's first TD pass of the 2018