Wildman's 2 TD receptions lead Red Devils past Portage 20-7, improve to 2-0
A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith
|Lowell junior Chandler Austgen (78) gives the evil eye to Portage QB Anthony Maceo last Friday in Porter County. (All Photos by Mark Smith)|
|Lowell's Jaeger Gill (2) gets out in front of junior halfback Tyler Wildman (32) to block Portage's Damien Kennedy (42) in Lowell's matchup at Portage.|
|Lowell's Mitch Wildman (24) gets high in the air (photo 1 of 2) and is picture perfect center of attention scoring the game's first TD...|
|Lowell's Mitch Wildman (24) scores the game's first TD as Lowell athletic director Patti McCormack (photo 2 of 2) helps the refs make the call.|
|Lowell seniors Jordan Jusevitch (6) and Logan Charters (40) guard the goal line protecting a 14-0 third quarter lead at Portage.|
|Jordan Jusevitch (6) looks to close out Portage's Greg Milledge (18) after a 24-yard game in the second quarter.|
|DeAngelo Young (97) can't quite get to Jordan Jusevitch (6) on a first half run between the tackles.|
|Blake Jansky (44) and Logan O'Hanlon (10) encourage Portage QB Anthony Maceo (3) to flip the ball to junior halfback Jalen Smith (4) in Friday's game at Portage.|
|Lowell's students decided that Porter County was not too far to go to support the Devils on the road.|
|Portage fullback Cody Russell (1) looks to block Lowell linebacker Mitchell Wildman (24) in Friday night action. Lowell won 20-7.|
|Blake Jansky (44), Chandler Austgen (78) and Mitch Wildman (24) surround Anthony Maceo (3) as they tried to do all Friday night. Lowell led all the way to beat the Indians 20-7. (All photos by Mark Smith)|
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Friday, August 25, 2017 - 67 degrees (at kick-off) in PORTAGE, IN
Qtr: LOWELL (7-0)
Mitch Wildman, 21-yard pass
from Ethan Igras. 61-yard drive, 4 plays. Ryan Farmer kick. 2:16 left.
2nd Qtr: LOWELL (14-0) LOWELL (14-0) Jaeger Gill, 69-yard pass from Ethan Igras. 80-yard drive, 3 plays. Ryan Farmer kick. 4:30 left.
PORTAGE (7-14) PORTAGE (14-7) Angel Sanchez, 18-yard pass from Anthony Maceo. Stephen Szakacs kick. 62 yard drive, 12 plays. 5:37 left.
4th Qtr: LOWELL (20-7) LOWELL (20-7) Mitch Wildman, 20-yard pass from Ethan Igras. 72-yard drive, 8 plays. Kick blocked by Jimmy Craven. 7:40 left.
PORTAGE (27 carries, 100 yards, TD): Anthony Maceo (QB) 13 carries, 58 yards (5 sacks, minus-21), Cody Russell (FB) 9-32 yards, Jalen Smith (HB) 2-6 yards, Jeff Bloom (HB) 1-1 yard, Sterling Lawrence (HB) 1-2 yards, Michael McGregor (HB) 1-1.
LOWELL (28 carries, 97 yards, 0 TDs, 0 fumbles): Tyler Wildman (HB) 5 carries 12 yards, Jordan Jusevitch (HB) 11 carries, 37 yards, Jaeger Gil (WR) 2-31 yards; Ethan Igras (QB) 8-16 yards; Jared Sojka (FB) 2-1 yard.
PORTAGE: Anthony Maceo (QB) 8 of 19, 137 yards, one TD, 2 interceptions;
LOWELL: Ethan Igras (QB) 8 of 10, 204 yards, 3 TDs 0 interceptions.
PORTAGE: Greg Milledge (WR) 9-92 yards; Michael McGregor (HB) 2-34 yards; Angel Sanchez (WR) 1-11 yards.
LOWELL: Jaeger Gill (WR) 2 catches, 89 yards, TD; Jordan Jusevitch (HB) 1-10 yards; Mitchell Wildman (TE) 4-95 yards, 2 TDs; Jared Sojka (FB) 1-14 yards.
LOWELL (2) Logan O'Hanlon (CB) Jordan Jusevitch (S).
PORTAGE = 223 yards, 13 first downs, 2 turnovers;
LOWELL = 301 yards, 12 first downs, 0 turnovers.
(08-25-2017) With the new Lowell football schedule, Lowell has four seasons.
The Devils play two Class 6A schools, Crown Point and Portage. Lowell then plays
Class 4A Hammond schools Morton and Clark. The Devils then play the other five
Northwest Crosroads Conference (NCC) teams in the five weeks before sectional
Phase one is a success.
The Class 4A No. 5 Devils (2-0) started fast and made it last for a 20-7 road
won over Portage, sweeping the two 'big schools' at the start of their schedule.
Lowell never trailed for the second week in a row. The Devils drove deep into Portage territory for a failed field goal attempt before scoring on a 61-yard drive. Junior quarterback Ethan Igras, coming back into the lineup after a 2-game suspension, hit senior tight end Mitchell Wildman for a 38-yard gain to the Portage 23. Two plays later, Igras rolled to his right for Wildman again for a 21-yard TD with 2:16 left in the first quarter.
After an exchange of punts, Portage moved deep into Lowell territory, coming up short on a 25-yard field goal attempt. Two plays later, senior Jaeger Gill lined up in the slot, caught a quick pass from Igras and ran through the Portage secondary for a 69-yard TD and a 14-0 lead.
Lowell coach Keith Kilmer didn't say why Igras was suspended, but it was clear the 5-foot-10 junior, who was 8-of-10 for 206 yards and three TDs, is back in good standing with his coaches and teammates.
"He did what a guy who led us to the semistate last year is supposed to do," said head coach Keith Kilmer. "He's got a lot to make up to his teammates. Credit to (first game QB) Payton Schreiber for pushing him in practice. We feel pretty good. We do have two guys we could go with."
"But Igras brings a lot to the table and that's what we expect out of him."
Portage, which won 28-27 at Lowell last August, rallied in the third quarter, driving 62 yards on 10 plays after the second half kickoff. Key runs by all-area QB Anthony Maceo and senior fullback Cody Russell (5-10, 230) set up the Indians for an 18-yard pass from Maceo to Greg Milledge to put the Indians first home TD of the season (Portage lost at Mishawaka 47-45 in week one) on the board.
The Indians had no chance to take the lead. Maceo completed a 43-yard pass to senior Greg Milledge to the Lowell 43 yard line. Portage was forced to punt but Lowell's Blake Jansky was called for roughing the punter and Portage got a first down at the Lowell 29-yard-line.
Jansky sacked Maceo on the next play and on 3rd-and 15, Red Devil star safety Jordan Jusevitch intercepted Maceo at the Lowell 35. Lowell then drove for the clinching TD, a 24-yard pass from Igras to Wildman with 6:30 left in the game.
Offensively, Lowell isn't really playing the way they have in the past. The Devils have a total of 166 yards rushing in two games and they know that dog won't hunt when the cold winds blow in November. But the Devils have won two games by double digits over 6A schools by two touchdowns each time and defenses are still surprised by Lowell's willingness to throw the ball.
"We're going to take what they give us,'" said Kilmer. "We've got some athletes. We've been working on this. If they're going to put eight guys in the 'box' (within five yards of the line defensively) then we're gong to use our athletes."
"Gill, Jusevitch, Wildman. We've got others. It's nice to open up the offense and make us harder to prepare for and harder to defend."
Lowell lost 28-27 to Portage last year when they could not contain Maceo (5-10, 185), the very shifty All-DAC QB.
Lowell didn't stop him, but they held the three-year starter to 54 yards rushing and 149 yards passing.
"We just tried to play assignment defense," said Wildman, who starts at linebacker. We're pretty fast as a team. We're good at rallying to the ball. Eleven hats to the football."
"I know I can go hard to the fullback and trust our defensive ends to take care of the quarterback. It's nice to have almost our entire defense back from last year. It's not so much study, study, study as it is doing what we know we have to do."
One of the defensive ends back from last year is Jansky, who was in on 12 tackles, including four quarterback sacks.
"They didn't really block me on a couple of plays," said Blake, who ran into Maceo so often, the two seemed to have conversations.
"I was just apologizing to him because I had to hit him so much," Jansky smiled. "He's a tough player. It's just about knowing our assignments."
Ethan Igras was 5-for-5 passing in the first quarter and Lowell's 14-0 halftime lead was no fluke.
"I just knew I had to bring it in the first half," Ethan would say later. Our defense shut down their quarterback. They had 400 yards last week. They blitzed a little. Our line blocked really well for me."
Why two TD passes to Wildman in one game?
"He is open a lot," Igras said. "They don't seem to cover him. He catches everything."
"Mitch Wildman plays like a receiver," said Kilmer. "There's times that we get on him because he plays more like a receiver than a tight end. He's workhorse. Plays every down on defense and offense and comes up with big plays."
Lowell's players are getting used to beating 6A schools. Crown Point and Portage every other year. But their coach is very proud of 4A Lowell defeating schools twice its size.
"These early games against the big schools are wars of attrition with our (roster) numbers," he said. "We've got to get first downs and keep our defense off the field. We did what we had to do."
DEVIL NOTES: I've been crediting extra points for Lowell to senior kicker Jake Post, but he's been injured and he hasn't played the first two weeks.
The kicker is number 83, freshman Ryan Farmer. Ryan is not listed in the printed Lowell roster, but he has been in both games.
Payton Schreiber, who threw two TD passes in the season opening win over Crown Point, did not get in until the final minutes last week at Portage. Starting QB Ethan Igras will almost certainly start at Morton. Schreiber (6-0, 215) is also a tight end, but it would seem unlikely he'll play much there this year.
The irony of Igras' suspension and Schreiber's one game start against CP is that Lowell has, in some small respect, a 'proven' backup QB, something high school teams almost ever have.
Jaeger Gill has touchdowns of 69, 75 and 94 yards in the first two games. Lowell has not scored a rushing TD yet this season. The Devils ran for 46 TDs in 2016.
Mitch Wildman caught 18 passes last year for 351 yards and five TDs. In two games, in 2017, he has five catches for 111 yards and two TDs.
Blake Jansky was credited with seven quarterback sacks last season. In two games, in 2017, Jansky has five sacks.
Lowell lost to Portage and Crown Point last season and finished at 9-5. In 2015, Lowell defeated both CP and Portage and ended the season at 12-1.
Lowell's next Opponent: