|Lowell takes early lead,
holds on to beat Morton 20-14 for 5th straight sectional title
USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith
Nov. 2, 2018 - 48 degrees, cloudy (at kick-off), Class 4A, Sectional 17
Championship game at
Qtr: LOWELL (7-0)
Tyler Wildman, 1 yard run (16th TD). 79-yard drive, 11 plays. Nate Gard kick.
LOWELL (10-0) Nate Gard, 34-yard field
goal. (12th field goal) 42-yard drive, 6 plays. 10:51 left.
MORTON (10-7) Eric Johnson, 6-yard run. 80-yard drive, 4 plays. Jordan
Pinkins kick. 3:34 left.
3rd Qtr: No scoring.
4th Qtr: LOWELL (17-7) Tyler Wildman, 1-yard run (17th
TD).26-yard drive, 6 plays (after 24-yard Morton punt). Nate Gard kick. 11:49
LOWELL (20-7) Nate Gard, 32-yard field goal (13th field goal). 12-yard
drive, 6 plays (after 12-yard Morton punt).
MORTON (20-14) Marcus Hardy, 15-yard pass from Credell Prather (23rd TD
pass). Jordan Pinkins kick 4:16 left.
MORTON (21 carries, 45 yards, one TD, one fumble): Eric Johnson HB) 8
carries, 29 yards, one TD; Credell Prather (QB) 8 carries, 3 yards; Koebe
Clopton (HB) 1 carry (minus-3 yards); Jo Jo Johnson (WR) 1 carry, 16 yards.
LOWELL (40 carries, 50 yards, 0 TDs, 2 fumbles): Tyler Wildman (HB) 17
carries, 33 yards, 2 TDs; Mike Langen (FB) 2-8 yards, Rylee Torrence (WR) 1-1
yard; Ethan Igras (QB) 19 carries, 91 yards.
MORTON: Credell Prather 15 of 26, 223 yards, one TD no interceptions.
LOWELL: Ethan Igras (QB) 9 of 14, 159, no TDs, no interceptions.
MORTON: Koebe Clopton (WR) 3 catches, 34 yards; Kashon Prather (WR) 4-86 yards;
Marcus Hardy (WR) 2-38 yards, TD; Jo Jo Johnson (WR) 4-18 yards.
LOWELL: Blake Jansky (TE) 2 catches, 68 yards; Shawn Mooney (WR) 2-23; John
Alessia (WR) 2-23; Tyler Wildman (HB) 1-10; Mike Langen (TE) 1-9.
LOWELL (1) Trevor Matovina (DE) one
MORTON: 259 yards, 8 first downs, one turnover;
LOWELL: 292 yards, 15 first downs, 0 turnovers.
When it came time for the sectional championship game last Friday at Lowell,
Morton was a bit more ready to play than they were in a previous meeting on
Maybe a lot more.
But in the 12th week of the season, where traditionally Lowell finds a way to be
the best they can be, the Devils held on to beat the Great Lakes Conference (GLC)
champion Governors 20-14 in a hard fought Class 4A Sectional 17 championship
Lowell (10-2) led all the way. But it was 10-7 at the half and 20-14 with 4:16
to go ion the game before the boys in the black jerseys ran out the clock and
walked to the center of the field to claim another championship trophy.
“I don’t know if it's our process or what,” said Lowell coach Keith Kilmer. “But
we always try to be at our best in the 10th week (sectional quarterfinals) on
the season. We knew we weren’t 38 points (Lowell beat Morton 38-0 in September)
better than them. We knew it would be closer this time.
Morton junior quarterback Credell Prather escaped the Lowell pass rush to
complete 15 of 26 passes for 223 yards. But in what became a battle of star QBs,
Lowell senior quarterback Ethan Igras passed for 159 yards and ran for 91 more
(on 19 carries) to end Morton’s eight game winning streak.
In the final four minutes, Igras, the Red Devils three-year starter, completed a
14-yard 3rd-and 6 pass to tight end Blake Jansky for one key first down and ran
six yards on 3rd-and-4 for a final first down as the clock ran out.
“Their coach said that they go as their quarterback goes and it’s the same for
us,” Kilmer said. “He took a lot of hits. He’ll be sore tomorrow He’s a fullback
The win was Lowell’s fifth consecutive championship game win and it marked the
12th consecutive sectional championship game they have won, going back to 2001.
Lowell has won 15 sectional championships in 26 years and the boys know, when the
season begins, you are expected to raise that trophy in week 12.
“This is great,” said junior John Alessia, who made 10 tackles battling Morton’s
“I didn’t play (varsity) last year, so this is so much better. It's much better
than I thought it would be.”
Lowell’s senior class saw four sectional titles in four years. Mike Langen is
the best story. He didn’t play football until eighth grade.
“I had to be talked into it,” admitted Langen, who forced a key third quarter
Morton fumble at the Lowell 36-yard-line.
“Bryan Schantz (Lowell’s senior guard)
talked me into playing and it changed my life. This is about the best thing you
can do in high school. It was the best decision I ever made. I almost wasn’t
Lowell scored the first time they had the ball on an 80-yard drive keyed by a
53-yard pass from Irags to Jansky, who has become a pass catching threat. The
Lowell defensive end and sack leader (14 sacks in 12 games) has caught four
passes for 155 yards in the Devils’ last two games after catching just three
passes in the entire nine-game regular season.
Lowell expanded the lead to 10-0 after a short punt set up Lowell at the Morton
47-yard line. Nate Gard’s field goal gave the Devils a 10-point lead and the
Governors seemed to be headed for another big loss.
But the Governors rallied after Justin Hudson deflected a second field goal
attempt by Gard with 4:45 left in the half.
Morton, which went 5-0 in the GLC this season, was noticeably inspired by the
blocked kick. Moments later, Prather threw a 53-yard pass to his 6-foot-3
brother Kashon Prather to the Lowell 13.
The Governors tried all night to isolate their bigger, taller receivers on
Lowell’s shorter defensive backs like Shawn Mooney (5-10, 143) and Adam Bank
When senior halfback Eric Johnson scored on a 6-yard run, Morton had cut the
Lowell lead to 10-7 at the half.
Lowell held the Governors scoreless in the third quarter with the help of a
fumble recovery by junior Trevor Matovina at the Lowell 36.
The Devils expanded their lead in the fourth quarter on Tyler Wildman’s second
TD run and a second field goal by Gard, both after punting miscues by the
But Morton (9-3) didn’t quit at a point where they could have.
The Governors drove 79 yards in nine plays, including six pass completions by Kashon Prather, the final one for 15 yards to Marcus Hardy with just 4:16 left
in the game.
That was when Lowell ran the clock out, holding the ball through eight plays and
two first downs.
After the game ended, the Devils’ players and coaches stayed on the field for
almost a half hour, taking pictures and talking about what it means to get that
trophy on the first Friday in November.
“We had to win to extend the season,” Langen said. “Its means everything.
“You start the season wanting to win the sectional and creating that bond with
your teammates,” said Alessia.
“We want to win the helmet (the Leather Helmet traveling trophy awarded for
beating Crown Point)," said Kilmer. “We want to win the Can ("The Old Milk Can"
traveling trophy awarded for beating Kankakee Valley) and we want to win the
sectional. Those are our goals every year.”
DEVIL NOTES: This was Lowell’s seventh consecutive win over Morton and the forth
in two years.
Nate Gard’s two field goals gave him 13 in 12 games, believed to be a Lowell
Lowell’s 2017 semistate opponent Bishop Dwenger, is still alive in the 2018
tournament, as is Lowell’s 2017 state finals opponent East Central.
This week’s Class 4A regional final between No. 8 Evansville Central (11-1) and
defending state champion and No. 3 East Central (11-1) will be played Saturday
afternoon at 3 p.m.
Lowell coach Keith Kilmer seemed more proud of this team that he was over the
Devils' last four sectional champs, if that’s possible.
“These guys heard how they weren’t as good as last year’s team,” he said. “They
head how they couldn’t win without the D-1 player (2018 grad Jordan Jusevitch,
now redshirting at Indiana).
“Look, that kid did more for me than I’ll ever be able to do for him. He was
“But these guys had something to prove and they’re doing it.”
Morton added ‘spice’ to the rivalry when senior Delwin Cook ran a giant sized
Morton flag to mid field during the warmups and waved it to the small but
spirited Morton crowd.
The Lowell victory marked the eighth consecutive time the Devils have defeated
Morton (Morton last won 42-41 on August 29, 2014), but last Friday’s 20-14 final
score was a close as the Governors have come in any of those games.
POTENTIAL MATCHUPS AND SITES
All records include the victory
a team would receive for winning
Mishawaka [12-1] at Angola [13-0]
Fort Wayne Dwenger [12-1] at
Fort Wayne Dwenger [12-1] at Mishawaka
Angola [13-0] at Lowell
Marion [13-0] at Evansville Central [12-1]
East Central [12-1] at Mooresville [12-1]
East Central [12-1] at Marion [13-0]
Evansville Central [12-1] at Mooresville