Red Devils shut out Andrean 16-0 to stay unbeaten at 8-0

A Special Report by Mark Smith



Andrean's co-captains Teely Rhyne (25), Joe Rycerz (89) and Kennard Jarrett (17) stand for the coin toss in the center of the field in Lowell. (All photos by Mark Smith)
Lowell's offensive line including Caleb Bergstrom (66) and Cooper Kersey (76) head for work against the 59ers.
The American flag is big in Lowell. Figuratively and literally. It covers about 1/8 of the field when they roll it out as they do before every game in Lowell.
Lowell's Blake Jansky (44) puts pressure on Andrean QB Zack Merrill (7) in the Northwest Crossroads Conference matchup. Jansky sacked the QB twice.
Its easy to get fired up about Lowell's first touchdown because the scoreboard does. I guess that's why they call this 'The Inferno.'
Andrean's Teely Rhyne had a 25-yard run early but the Lowell defense held the 59ers to less than 100 yards.
Andrean star linebacker Cam Williams (3) looks to stop Lowell QB Ethan Igras in the Northwest Crossroads Conference (NCC) match-up.
It's a defensive struggle as Lowell QB Ethan Igras (3) waits for the snap from center Joe Rebesco (58).
Lowell's Mitch Wildman (24) tries to get by Andrean wide receiver Cam Williams (6). Both Williams and Wildman play on offense and defense.
Lowell's Tucker Greenholt (7) looks to lock down Andrean wide receiver Tyler Thomas (2) late in Friday's game in Lowell.
Lowell senior Cooper Kersey (76) is disappointed there is no one to hit after he gets through the Andean line. The Devils improved to 8-0 with a 16-0 win over the 59ers.
Lowell's Mitch Wildman (24) leads the Devils in passes caught. His brother Tyler Wildman (32) leads the Devils in rushing yards gained. Lowell is the only undefeated team in Northwest Indiana after eight weeks. (All photos by Mark Smith)

Copyright © 2017 and Meyer Multimedia Services, a division of Meyer Broadcasting Corp.  All rights reserved.
Revised: October 15, 2017 .

Team 1 2 3 4 F
ANDREAN (5-3) 0 0 0 0 0
LOWELL (8-0) 0 3 7 6 16

Friday, Oct. 6, 2017 - 68 degrees, misty (at kick-off), Northwest Crossroads Conference game at LOWELL, Ind.

1st Qtr: No scoring.
2nd Qtr: LOWELL (3-0) Michael Hutton, 27-yard field goal. 15-yard drive after fumble recovery by Mike Langen. 11:55 left.
3rd Qtr: LOWELL (10-0)
Jaeger Gill, 2-yard run. 76-yard drive, 14 plays. Ryan Farmer kick. 6:33 left.
4th Qtr: LOWELL (16-0) Cedric Caschetta, 8-yard run. 87-yard drive, 16-play dive. Kick wide. 1:21 left.

ANDREAN (20 carries, 37 yards, 0 TDs, 1 fumble): Teely Rhyne (HB) 10 carries, 45 yards; Andrew Benton (HB) 1-1 yard; Francis Rearson (QB) 2-3 yards, Zack Merrill (QB) 7 carries (minus-12 yards) 3 sacks, minus 17

LOWELL (47 carries, 169 yards, 2 TDs, 1 fumble): Tyler Wildman (HB) 17-60 yards; Jaeger Gill (HB) 12-61 yards, TD; Jordan Jusevitch (HB) 3-15 yards; Cedric Caschetta (HB) 3-14 yards, TD; Jake Post (RB) 2-7 yarsd, Ethan Igras (QB) 9-9 yards (2 sacks, minus-9); Zack Buss (P) 1-3 yards.

ANDREAN: Zack Merrill (QB) 3 of 18, 39 yards; Frances Reardon (QB) 0-for-1;
LOWELL: Ethan Igras (QB) 7 of 15, 94 yards, 0 TDs, 1 interception.

ANDREAN: Tyler Thomas (WR) 1-27 yards; Mike Mantel (WR) 1-12; Frances Reardon (WR) 1-0.
LOWELL: Mitch Wildman (TE) 3-45 yards; Jordan Jusevitch (WR) 2-27; Brandn Bertola (WR) 1-2; Jaeger Gill (WR) 1-10.

ANDREAN: (1) Jacob Tuttle; LOWELL: (0) none.

ANDREAN: (1) Mike Mantel (DB); LOWELL: (1) Mike Langen (LB).

ANDREAN: 76 yards, 4 first downs, 1 turnover;
LOWELL: 260 yards, 14 first downs, 2 turnovers.

LOWELL (10-06-2017) When you look at Lowell playing football now, you see more spread out formations than you have for the last 25 years. It makes me a little nervous because, even though the Devils are undefeated, the points haven't been going up on the scoreboard like you might want.

After watching them last Friday in a key Northwest Crossroads Conference (NCC) game with Andrean, it's probably misleading to continue to say that Lowell wants to be the team with the college style offense showing four receivers and a tailback and NOT BE the team with two tight ends, a tailback and a fullback running I-formation power football.

The truth (and the struggle, if an 8-0 team can be struggling) might be that they want to be both teams. Starting the third quarter in a close game with Andrean, for Lowell, the style mesh seemed to improve. Or a sense of urgency seemed to arrive. Other things also changed and the Devils pulled away to win 16-0.

Struggling on offense against an Andrean team that provided the Devils toughest test in a month, Lowell (8-0) went to some of their past power offense, dominated the second half on both sides of the ball pulling away for their eighth consecutive win.

"That's what we needed," said coach Keith Kilmer. "Our offensive line needed it. We're having a lot of fun with these spread formations, throwing the ball around thing where we get our athletics in space. But we've got to know that when the going gets tough, we can line it up and run it and play tough defense."

Facing a very talented Andrean defense that included fast outside linebacker Cam Williams (6-3, 175) and powerful defensive end Evan Satoski (6-2, 230), Lowell didn't go all 1984 and run on every down. Quarterback Ethan Igras hit passes for 10 yards to Jaeger Gill and 16 yards to Mitch Wildman inside a 75-yard drive that boosted the Lowell lead to 10-0.

Then in the fourth quarter the Devils ran the ball 10 plays in a row against a tiring Andrean front before Igras zipped a 19-yard pass on 3rd-and-8 to the 59ers 10-yard line. Two plays later senior fullback Cedric Caschetta barged into the end zone from the 8-yard line and Lowell led by 16.

"I have to look at film but I think our offensive line did a better job. Not making adjustments, but doing what they had to do. We picked them up on that. We've got some nice little backs. They're not the power backs we're used to, but they were able to gain some yards for us."

In the second half, Lowell shifted Gill (6-1, 190) into the backfield and gave him the ball six times for 38 yards on the first TD drive. On the second TD drive, junior halfback Tyler Wildman (5-9, 165) carried the ball six times.

The Devils coaches clearly want to keep their two dominant players Gill and Division I safety and all-purpose player Jordan Jusevitch, on defense full time. Or to use them on offense in a way that they'll be fresh and ready for the post-season games against top teams. Part of the move to a spread offense is to get Jusevitch and Gill the ball or to spread opposing defenses so wide that the run opens up.

This is a rare Lowell team defensively. They chased Andrean quarterback Zack Merrill (3 of 18 passing) all over the field and shut down 1,000-yard rusher Teely Rhyne after the fast 59er (who gained 1,100 yards last year) broke a 25-yard run on Andrean's second offensive series. Unofficially, the 59ers gained 76 yards and four first downs in the entire game.

"They're good," said Andrean coach Chris Skinner, the former 59er standout of the last decade. "They're very good. But our offense owes our defense an apology. Lowell is very good but, we'll be making some changes on offense. Number 44 (Lowell junior defensive end Blake Jansky) ate us up. We couldn't block him all night. I don't have a lot more to say."

Jansky (6-1, 195), who is listed as a defensive end but plays like the linebacker he was in youth football, was in on 12 tackles and recorded two quarterback sacks. The junior leads the Devils with nine sacks in eight games.

Lowell appears to want teams to throw into the Red Devil secondary where Gill and Jusevitch patrol, but Merrill didn't have time to do that. Many of his incompletions were passes that were simply thrown away to avoid more sacks.

"I couldn't ask anything more of our defense," said Skinner. "But we did get tired. We were on the field a lot. They (Lowell) don't really have any weaknesses. They're Top-5 in the state."

We do tend to rate teams by how many points they score or, at least I do. I've said here before that highly-rated high school football teams usually average 35-40 points a game and that you won't go a long way in the post-season if you're winning regular season games 16-0, 19-0 or 27-13.

Now I'm not so sure. And while the players and coaches would obviously like more of a margin for error. More points are more fun. But let the record show that Lowell has won every game this season by 14 points or more.

"People say we're not scoring enough points," Kilmer said. "But I'm really happy with 16-0."

DEVIL NOTES: Lowell senior tight end and linebacker Mitch Wildman says that it doesn't matter who you play in the post-season, because teams react differently to winner-take-all games.

"You may run into a team which simply doesn't want to lose," he explained. "They're not ready to quite playing. It may not matter who they are. They just don't want to go yet."

Mitch's brother, Lowell's leading rusher Tyler Wildman is aware they he's got another year, but his brother does not.
"I'm just enjoying playing with him this last year," Tyler said. "These guys are all my brothers here but he's my blood brother and we work together at home. Going over the playbook. We practice during the summer and we celebrate together. It's been great."

Lowell is 8-0 for the first time since 2015 when they were 12-0. Lowell was 10-0 in 1993 and 13-0 in 2008. Lowell was 8-0 in 1946 before they lost 12-6 to Bishop Noll.

If you assume a top athletic class begins to rise to the varsity as sophomores and judge a team by three-year runs, Devils history probably has three top teams.

Lowell's Hall of Fame pre-World War II team that was 9-0 in 1935, 8-0-1 in 1936 and 7-1 in 1937 was 24-1-1 for coach Jim Carter in the days long before there was an Indiana state football playoff tournament.

Coach Kirk Kennedy's 2005 team won state, but they were 9-5 that year. Kennedy's 2007 (13-2), 2008 (13-1) and 2009 (13-2) team, arguably Lowell's best ever, was 39-5.

This present senior class: The present three-year of 2015 (12-1), 2016 (9-5) and 2017 (8-0) is 29-6 so far for coach Keith Kilmer.

Kilmer expects Lowell's offensive production to pick up. "We're just missing on some plays. We couldn't block for Ethan (to pass) in the first half. But the whole idea of getting our athletes in spaces is that we can hit big plays like we did against Crown Point. And when we spread out the defense, there's more room for little backs like 32 (Wildman) and 26 (Caschetta). It's a different mentality for us. There's a few more 3-and-outs.

"We started that with this class three or four years ago. We knew these guys were coming."

Coach: Keith Kilmer, 60-29 in 8th year at school
Aug. 18 Crown Point {6A}  W 27-13   
Aug. 25 at Portage {6A}  W 20-  7   
Sep. 1 at Hammond Morton {4A}  W 19-  0   
Sep. 8 Hammond Clark {3A}  W 63-  6   
Sep. 15 at Kankakee Valley {4A}‡  W 27-13   
Sep. 22 Highland {4A}‡  W 27-  0   
Sep. 29 at Munster {5A}‡  W 28-  9   
Oct. 6 Andrean {3A}‡  W 16-  0   
Oct. 13 at Hobart {4A}‡  W 30-  7   
Oct. 20 Gary West {4A} 7:00 pm  sectional

Coach: Chris Skinner, 11-9 in 2nd year at school
Aug. 18 at Merrillville {6A}  W 42-13   
Aug. 25 at Hammond Noll {2A}  W 58-21   
Sep. 1 New Prairie {4A}   L   3-42   
Sep. 8 at Hammond {4A}  W 52-14   
Sep. 15 Hobart {4A}‡ ot  L 10-13   
Sep. 22 Munster {5A}‡  W 34-  0   
Sep. 29 Kankakee Valley {4A}‡  W 42-  7   
Oct. 6 at Lowell {4A}‡   L   0-16   
Oct. 13 at Highland {4A}‡  W 41-  6   
Oct. 20 Hanover Central {3A} 7:00 pm  sectional

  W-L Pts OP W-L Pts OP Streak
Lowell 5-0 128 29 9-  0 257 55 Won 9
Andrean 3-2 127 42 6-  3 282 132 Won 1
Hobart 3-2 68 75 6-  3 212 133 Lost 2
Munster 3-2 84 104 4-  5 170 207 Won 2
Highland 1-4 56 142 3-  6 179 228 Lost 1
Kankakee Valley 0-5 82 153 3-  6 193 234 Lost 5
Friday, Oct. 13
Andrean 41, Highland 6‡
Lowell 30, Hobart 7‡
Munster 28, Kankakee Valley 21‡
Friday, Oct. 20
Gary West at Lowell, 7 pm
Highland at Hammond Gavit, 7 pm
Kankakee Valley at South Bend Riley, 6:30 pm
Hobart at South Bend St. Joseph, 6:30 pm
Hanover Central at Andrean, 7 pm
‡Conference game