Hobart edges Lowell 10-7 in Sectional Championship defensive showdown

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith



The whole family had to show up for the big game, the sectional championship between Lowell and Hobart last Friday. (All photos by Mark Smith)
Lowell's Kyler Newcom (7) grabs a quick pitchout from quarterback Cam Stojancevich (17) in the sectional title game at Hobart.
Hobart's Zach Vode (83) can't quite get there as Lowell junior Chris Jancosek (34) gets off this Red Devil punt. Lowell punted six times and Jancosek was a major factor in a close game.
Lowell senior Jake Lax (51) does what he has to do to protect QB Cam Stojancevich (17) from big Hobart sophomore Noah Miller (60) in the sectional game at Hobart.
Lowell's Riley Bank (19) and Riley Binkley (37) check out teammate Spencer Barta (42) stopping Hobart QB Riley Johnston for a loss. No one scored after the second quarter.
Hobart star Zach Vode takes a handoff from QB Riley Johnston (3). Vode caught eight passes and ran twice for 18 yards in the sectional final against Lowell.
Hobart's Isaiah Wilson (77) tries to keep Lowell senior San Dumbsky (64) off running back Tyler Turley (47) in last week's playoff game in Hobart (11-6-20).
Lowell senior William Chapman (13) and junior Kyle Simmons (35) talk the ball into stopping at the one yard line after a punt by teammate Chris Jancosek in the third quarter of last week's Lowell-Hobart playoff game.
Hobart's Tyler Turley (47) is worried about Lowell lineman Ray Ambassi (3) doing bad things to his quarterback Riley Johnston (3) in last week's sectional championship game. The Brickies battled Lowell down to the final minutes.
When no one could score in the second half, everyone on the Lowell sidelines watched the Devils season end in a 10-7 loss at Hobart.
Hobart won Class 4A Sectional 17 for the second year in a row and linebacker Bobby Babcock (11), quarterback Riley Johnston (3) and defensive end Haidyn McLamb (52) said 'We're number one' again.
The Hobart scoreboard told the final tale late in the final quarter. The Brickies took the lead late in the second period and held on to beat Lowell 10-7 for the Class 4A Sectional 17 championship. (All photos by Mark Smith)
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Revised: November 11, 2020 .
Team 1 2 3 4 F
LOWELL (9-2) 0 7 0 0 7
HOBART (9-2) 3 7 0 0 10

Friday, November 6, 2019 - 60 degrees (at kick-off) at HOBART, IN


1st Qtr: HOBART (3-0) Miki Djankovich, 22-yard field goal. 80-yard drive, 15 plays. 5:14 left.
2nd QtrLOWELL (3-7) Ryan Marx, 2-yard run. 66-yard drive, 13 plays. Caden Britton kick. 11:56 left.
HOBART (10-7)
Riley Johnston, 25-yard run. 57-yard drive. 7 plays. 6:25 left.
3rd QtrNo scoring.

4th Qtr: No scoring.




LOWELL (36 carries, 97 yards, one TD): Ryan Marx (HB) 28-68 yards, TD; Cam Stojancevich (QB) 2-(-12 yard);
Johnny Johnson (HB) 1-14 yards; Kyler Newcom (WB) 5-27 yards.

HOBART (34 carries, 142 yards, one TD):
Tyler Turley (HB) 21 carries, 63 yards; Riley Johnston (QB) 9-56, Zach Vode (WR) 2-19 yards; Mark Enslen (WR) 1(minus-1 yard); Brayden Carlson (FB) 1-5 yards.

LOWELL: Cam Stojancevich (QB) 5 of 16, 62 yards, 0 TD, 0 interceptions, Kyler Newcom (WB) 0-1;
HOBART: Riley Johnston (QB) 8 of 18, 104 yards, 0 TDs, one interception.


LOWELL : Michael Havel-Ericks (WR) 2-19 yards, Ryan Marx (HB) (WR) 2 catches, 3 yards; Kyler Newcom (WB) 2-25 yards, Caleb Miranda (TE) 1-13 yards:
HOBART : Zach Vode (WR) 8-104 yards.


LOWELL: 159 yards, 10 first downs, 0 turnovers;
HOBART: 246 yards, 14 first downs, one turnover.

HOBART (11-06-2020) The better team won. Defending 4A Sectional 17 champion Hobart defeated Lowell 10-7 last Friday to repeat as sectional champs.

But the ‘not better’ team almost won.

The rematch of the 2019 sectional 17 final was a worthy championship game. Hobart took a 10-7 lead with 6:25 left in the second quarter and the defenses took over. In perfect weather conditions, both offenses were stopped from scoring the last eight times they had the ball as the drama increased for about 1,000 fans.

If a ‘good game’ is defined by an observer not knowing who was going to win until the end, this was a very good game. Until Lowell turned the ball over on downs on back-to-back incomplete passes with 1:40 to play, no one in the giant Hobart Brickyard stadium could be sure that the home team was going to win the school’s Northwest Indiana-record 22nd sectional football championship.

After losing the sectional championship game 20-0 last season, 4A No. 9 Lowell (9-2) pushed 4A No. 7 Hobart deep into the night before the Brickies held on to advance to a Friday, November 13 regional final game at Logansport (6-6).

“We came out flat,” said Hobart coach Craig Osika. “But that’s a damn good team (Lowell) over there. They played us hard, especially considering what happened to them during the week. That’s a testament to (Lowell) coach (Keith) Kilmer and his staff. We’ve relied on our defense most of the season. I wish we could get a little more out of our offense.”

Lowell was short three offensive players due to Covid-19 virus quarantine situations, but they got the ball one last time after they stopped Hobart on a 4th-and-4 play at the Lowell 21 with 4:35 to play in the game.

Junior halfback Ryan Marx picked up a first down at the Lowell 31 and linebacker-turned-wingback Kyler Newcom gained 10 on a wingback ‘jet sweep’ to the Lowell 48 with three minutes to play. On a 3rd-and-4, Newcom, who played the entire game at linebacker, threw a halfback pass deep into Hobart territory into double coverage that fell incomplete. On fourth down, Lowell QB Cam Stojancevich tried to hit tight end Caleb Miranda but the Brickies had two defenders in the area and the pass was deflected by Ryan Flores.

“Our kids did everything we asked of them,” said Kilmer after the game. “We missed a couple of opportunities. We made some adjustments early and they adjusted. And we couldn’t adjust to what they did.”

Hobart took the openiog kickoff and drove deep into Lowell territory before settling for a 22-yard field goal by kicker junior Miki Djankovich. Lowell then took the ball and surprisingly drove the length of the field.

Junior Ryan Marx scored on a two-yard run on the opening play of the second period. Hobart had not allowed a point in 11 consecutive quarters. Lowell, which won five consecutive 4A Sectional 17 titles from 2014 to 2018, had the ball just one time with a 7-3 lead, but they had to punt, giving the Brickies the ball at the Hobart 43-yard line.
Hobart then picked up three first downs creating a 2nd-and-8 play at the Lowell 25-yard-line.

Veteran quarterback Riley Johnston then kept the ball on a quarterback option play, split the Lowell defense and scored the Hobart touchdown with 6:25 left in the first half.

Defense dominated after that. Led by safety Zack Vode and linebackers Cam Smith and Bobby Babcock, Hobart held Lowell under 100 yards rushing. But Lowell’s defense, led by linebackers Spencer Barta and Kyler Newcom, safety Reec Ison and backed by everybody else, shut down the Hobart offense, which averages 37 points a game.

Lowell reached the Hobart 23-yard line late in the third quarter. But on a 4th-and-2 play, Marx was stopped by Hobart’s Babcock (6-0, 220), a Division I linebacker. Hobart reached the Lowell 21-yardline with 4:35 to play in the game.

The Brickies could have kicked a field goal for a 13-7 lead but Osika said he didn’t want that.

“A six point lead just isn’t that much,” he said. “If we get the first down there, that’s it.” On the 4th-and-2 play, Hobart’s Johnston, who was 8 of 18 passing, tossed a high lob into the corner of the end Zone for Vode (6-3, 175), another Hobart all-state player. Lowell’s Michael Havel Ericks stayed with Vode (who caught all eight completed passes from Johnston), and batted the ball down.

The Brickies were happy after the game, but clearly not overjoyed. Hobart reached the Class 4A Northern Semistate last November and led 17-0 before losing 29-24. Only returning to the semistate (and very possibly playing East Noble again) is good enough for the 2020 season.

“We won two games 70-0 and 56-0 (in the Sectional 17 quarterfinals and semifinals) and maybe it hurt us,” said Osika, the former Indiana University and National Football League player who played for Hobart from 1994-1997, “and maybe we weren’t quite ready tonight. It's hard when you have had to play a whole game and then suddenly you’re against a tough team in the fourth quarter.”

“We’ll just have to go back and see how Cam Smith is and try to be better next week.”

The post-game was different. Hobart and Lowell players did not shake hands due to the Covid-19 virus situation.

Coaches called to opposing players from a distance to congratulate or console them. Hobart’s players left the field quickly after the sectional trophy presentation.

Lowell played without halfback Joe Heuer (219 carries, 1,306 yards) and wide receiver Adam Bank (12 catches, 135 yards) but Lowell has been short players due to the virus in most games this year (so have most other teams) so Kilmer didn’t suggest it was a major factor in the loss.

“We had a couple of guys (Newcom and Marx) playing different positions, but they stepped up,” he said. “We had our chances on offense.”

DEVIL NOTES: Lowell officially ends the season with a 4-7 record, due to the unknowing use of an ineligible player in the first five weeks. On the field the Devils (9-2) lost only to Hobart (9-2) and Andrean (11-1).
Hobart lost star linebacker Cam Smith to a leg injury in the third quarter. Smith had to be helped off the field after a situation where no other player was near him. Smith, a three-year varsity player, did not return to the game.

Lowell’s co-captain and senior defensive back Reec Ison was hurt early in the fourth quarter and he did not return.

Lowell had 18 seniors on the original roster including quarterback Cam Stojancevich, linebackers Caleb Miranda and Kyler Newcom, ends Riley Binkley and Sam Dumsky, receivers Adam Bank and Michael Havel-Ericks linemen Zach Hayden and Thomas Browne and cornerbacks Cody Caschetta and Reec Ison.

It was a little difficult this year to always tell who was a regular starting player for Lowell. The Devils did have a large (for them) total group of 25 juniors on the original roster, not including sophomore linebacker Riley Bank, sophomore halfback Brayden Walker, sophomore kickers Chris Jancosek and Caden Britton.

The future for Lowell football seems bright.

Aug. 21 at Crown Point 6A W 6 0    
Aug. 28   Portage 6A W 37 19    
Sep. 4   Wheeler 2A W 26 13    
Sep. 11 at Griffith 4A W 47 28    
Sep. 25   Kankakee Valley 4A © W 28 21    
Oct. 2 at Highland 4A © W 27 7    
Oct. 9   Munster 5A © W 41 7    
Oct. 16 at Andrean 2A © L 14 35    
Oct. 23   Hammond Morton 4A W 21 0   Sectional 17
Oct. 30   Highland 4A © W 48 14   Sectional 17
Nov. 6 at Hobart 4A © L 7 10   Sectional 17


Aug. 21 at Chesterton 6A W 24 10    
Aug. 28   Merrillville 6A L 7 23    
Sep. 4   Griffith 4A W 42 0    
Sep. 11 at Culver Academy 4A W 38 0    
Sep. 25   Andrean 2A © L 24 35    
Oct. 2 at Kankakee Valley 4A © W 41 17    
Oct. 9   Highland 4A © W 44 6    
Oct. 16 at Munster 5A © W 53 0    
Oct. 23 at Hammond Gavit 4A W 56 0   Sectional 17
Oct. 30   Gary West 4A W 70 0   Sectional 17
Nov. 6   Lowell 4A © W 10 7   Sectional 17
Nov. 13 at Logansport 4A 6:30 pm    

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