Red Devils beat Griffith 42-7 to win 4th straight sectional title, remain unbeaten

A Special Report by Mark Smith



Lowell seniors Mitch Wildman (24), Jaeger Gill (2) Jordan Jusevitch (6) and Robert Miller (21) represent Lowell at the center of the field for the pre-game coin toss.
(All photos by Mark Smith)
Senior Jaeger Gill (2) picks up some of Lowell's 379 yards of total offense in the 4A Sectional 17 title game against Griffith.
Lowell junior QB Ethan Igras (16) picked up 87 yards on 13 carries against Griffith in the sectional final.
Griffith QB Fred Winston (13) rarely had this much time to throw against Lowell. The Devils recorded three QB sacks.
Lowell's Chandler Austgen (78) and Blake Jansky (44) hurry Griffith QB Fred Winston (13) in the sectional championship game. Lowell held the Panthers to an official 71 total yards.
Lowell senior Jordan Jusevitch (6) returns a second quarter interception, the Devils held Griffith to 2-of-11 passing and intercepted two passes.
Lowell junior guard Bryan Schantz (51) gets set to help move the ball against Griffith in the sectional title game.
Lowell junior Chandler Austgen (78) puts the hand on Griffith fullback Khadafi Coleman (44) in the Sectional 17 championship game. Lowell held Griffith to 44 yards rushing.
Jordan Jusevitch (6) and Mitch Wildman (24) spend quality time with the sectional championship trophy after the 42-7 win over Griffith.
Senior fullback Jared Sojka (22) lets everybody know how many consecutive sectional championships Lowell has won.
Lowell's Cedric Caschetta (26) also has no trouble broadcasting how many sectionals Lowell has won in the last four seasons.
Lowell's Cedric Caschetta (26) holds up the Devils 14th sectional championship football trophy after Lowell defeated Griffith 42-7. (All photos by Mark Smith)

Copyright 2018 and Meyer Multimedia Services, a division of Meyer Broadcasting Corp.  All rights reserved.
Revised: February 19, 2018 .

Team 1 2 3 4 F
GRIFFITH (10-2) 7 0 0 0 7
LOWELL (12-0) 14 21 7 0 42

Friday, Nov. 3, 2017 - 45 degrees, 4A Sectional 17 Championship game at LOWELL, Ind.

1st Qtr: GRIFFITH (7-0) Cole Cervantes, 90-yard kickoff return. Jacob Damski kick. 11:43 left.
LOWELL (7-7) Ronald Bergstrom recovered Ethan Igras fumble in the end zone. 21-yard drive, 6 plays after Jordan Jusevitch recovered a fumble. Ryan Farmer kick. 7:04 left.
LOWELL (7-14) Ethan Igras, 5-yard run. 54-yard drive, 7 plays. Ryan Farmer kick. 1:40 left.

2nd Qtr: LOWELL (7-21) Jordan Jusevitch, 5-yard run. 54-yard drive, 4 plays. Ryan Farmer kick. 10:16 left.
LOWELL (7-28) Jordan Jusevitch, 36-yard punt return. . Ryan Farmer kick. 2:54 left.
LOWELL (7-35) Jaeger Gill, 49-yard pass from Ethan Igras. 49-yard drive, 1 play. Ryan Farmer kick. 2:09 left.
3rd Qtr: 
LOWELL (7-42) Cedric Caschetta, 4-yard run. 38-yard drive, 5 plays after Logan O'Hanlon interception. Ryan Farmer kick. 2:33 left.
4th Qtr: No scoring.

GRIFFITH (29 carries, 40 yards, 0 TDs, 1 fumble): Fred Winston (QB) 14 carries, 5 yards (3 sacks, minus 22 yards), Tayvien Walker (HB) 6-22 yards, Khadafi Coleman (FB) 8-13 yards; Ernie Johnson (HB) 1-0 yards.

LOWELL (37 carries, 212 yards, 3 TDs, 0 fumbles): Tyler Wildman (HB) 16 carries, 105 yards; Jordan Jusevitch (HB) 3-5 yards, TD; Cedric Caschetta (HB) 6-36 yards, TD; Jake Post (RB) 1-1 yard, Ethan Igras (QB) 12-66 yards, 2 TDs.

GRIFFITH: Fred Winston (QB) 2 of 10, 29 yards, 2 interceptions;
LOWELL:  Ethan Igras (QB) 9 of 13, 133 yards, 2 TDs, 0 interceptions.

GRIFFITH: Khadafi Coleman (FB) 2-29 yards..
LOWELL: Jordan Jusevitch (WR) 3-41; Jaeger Gill (WR) 4-83, TD; Jake Post (FB) 1-0 yards; Jared Sojka (FB) 1-9.

GRIFFITH (0); LOWELL (2) Jordan Jusevicth, Logan O'Hanlon

GRIFFITH (0); LOWELL (1) Jordan Jusevitch

GRIFFITH = 69 yards, 3 first downs, 3 turnovers;
LOWELL = 345 yards, 15 first downs, 0 turnovers.

LOWELL (11-03-2017) It was a mismatch.

Correction. After the opening kickoff, it was a mismatch.

In the big matchup of undefeated league champions, Greater South Shore Conference (GSSC) champ Griffith scored when senior Cole Cervantes ran the opening kickoff back 90-yards to give the Panthers a 7-0 lead.

Top-ranked Lowell, the Northwest Crossroads Conference (NCC) champion, was trailing for the first time all year and they had been scored on in the first quarter for the first time this season. The Griffith defense then stopped Lowell short of a first down and the Devils had to punt.

And then reality set it.

Lowell scored 42 unanswered points and looked like the state's top-ranked Class 4A team, rolling to a no-doubt 42-7 victory over the visiting Panthers.

The Devils controlled this game at the line of scrimmage, scoring on three consecutive possessions in the first half for a 21-7 lead. The final score of 42-7 was on the board with 2:33 left in the third quarter.

"It was exciting," said Jaeger Gill, who caught four passes for 83 yards and a touchdown. "When they scored on the kickoff we responded. Our defense was good. We came right back."

The Devils were aware that kickoff return put them behind for the first time all season.

"Yeah but we just tried to stay calm. The seniors stayed focused."

The Panthers (10-2), who averaged 500 yards and 40 points (444 points scored in the first 11 games), were held to an unofficial 69 yards and four first downs. If your post-season is supposed to end when you face a superior team, Griffith's season was meant to end Friday.

The Lowell defense dominated the line of scrimmage again. Games have only been close this season when the offense has not been able to score.

"I think the smartest thing we've done," said coach Keith Kilmer, "is to keep our best athletes on defense. It's an offensive world out there and we have kinda bucked that trend."

"We've done what we can on offense so that those (defensive) guys can be at their best on the defensive side of the ball. There's not a lot at our (Class 4A) level that those guys cannot handle defensively."

Jordan Jusevitch, who scored three TDs, commented on how far the offensive line has come.

"At the start of the year, they had their ups and downs," he said. "A lot of people wrote them off. But they've been building every day at practice and we're all on the same level now."

Kilmer didn't have to ask his boys if they were looking forward to facing New Prairie (11-1) in the regional on Nov. 4.

"It's a rivalry that's not a rivalry," he said. "We don't play them regularly. But the kids remember (a 28-27 loss in the regional title game at New Prairie in 2014) so they'll be excited to play them here. If you can't get excited about a regional championship game, you are in this for the wrong reason. And we'll play that angle up."

Jusevitch played in the 2014 game and he was ready to face New Prairie again. But the Lowell star wanted to take note of the Devils' four consecutive sectional championships, the ultimate for a senior class in Indiana high school football.

"I've been on four great teams and we've won four in a row," he said, looking across the open field. "When I'm gone, it can't be forgotten those four numbers up on that board (Lowell titles are listed on a sign at the south end of the field). Or class. It's a good feeling knowing all our work has paid off.

DEVIL NOTES: This was a spirited game, especially early on as Griffith came in with a long winning streak and memories of a 17-9 win over Lowell in 2016.

Griffith's playoff roster had 57 players and 17 were seniors, including most starters. The Panthers are going to need a boost in manpower to maintain their winning ways in 2018.

Lowell's Jaeger Gill says he has 'heard from a few schools" but that he has no college offers yet. Gill (6-1, 190) can't be the 6-foot-3 or 6-foot-4 receiver colleges like, but he's not small and I would think scouts recruit speed and then decide where to put it. Gill ran an :11.09 100-meter dash at the Valparaiso Regional last year and he added a :22.96 200-meters at the Crown Point track sectional last spring. He has been a state finalist member of Lowell's 400-meter relay team and their 1600 meter relay team.

"I love track," he said after the sectional title win. "I love football. A couple of schools have talked to me, but nothing definite."

Jordan Jusevitch added. "He (Gill) is a great athlete. I know he doesn't have the offers yet. But I'm trying (to put in a good word for him). It's crazy."

Lowell junior defensive end Blake Jansky returned to action after missing four games.

"I dislocated my knee in practice," he said. I slipped in the mud. It was a noncontact injury. Partially torn MCL. I couldn't have played last week, but I feel great now. I can go the rest of the way."

Coach: Keith Kilmer, 65-30 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} W 41-  0  sectional
Oct. 27 at Highland {4A} W 35-  0  sectional
Nov. 3 Griffith {4A} W 42-  7  sectional
Nov. 10 New Prairie {4A} W 25- 20  regional
Nov. 17 at Fort Wayne Dwenger {4A} W 21-  7  semistate
Nov. 25 (n) East Central {4A} W  7- 14  state

2017 SEASON (10-2)
Coach: Ben Geffert
Aug. 18  at Michigan City  L 20-25  
Aug. 25  Whiting W 48-  9  
Sep. 1  at River Forest W 42-  0  
Sep. 8  Calumet W 60-  0  
Sep. 15  at Wheeler W 48-  0  
Sep. 22  at Boone Grove W 55-12  
Sep. 29  South Central (Union Mills) W 53-10  
Oct. 6  Lake Station W 62-  0  
Oct. 13  at Hanover Central W 56-21  
Oct. 20  Hammond W 55-  0   sect
Oct. 27  Hammond Morton W 35-21   sect
Nov. 3  at Lowell  L   7-42   sect