Lowell rolls for 300 yards rushing in 65-6 Sectional opening win over West Side

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith

10-26-2016

 

Team 1 2 3 4 F
West Side (1-8) 0 0 0 6 6
LOWELL (6-4) 28 16 21 0 65

Friday, October 21, 2016 - 47 degrees in LOWELL, Ind.

Lowell senior Max Steward (64) reaches out to tip a pass from West Side QB Bryce James (11) on the first play of the Class 4A Sectional 17 quarterfinal playoffs. (All photos by Mark Smith)
After the tipped pass went to Jordan Jusevitch, who scored on a 24-yard runback, Jusevitch is congratulated by Trevor Espravnik (13).
Lowell halfback Trevor Espravnik (13) scored three touchdowns on runs of one, three and five yards - all in the first quarter.
West Side's Jerome Bailey (27) protects his QB Bryce James (11) from Lowell sophomore defensive end Brandon Chocholek (42).
Lowell senior Zac Galvan (3) holds for placekicker Jake Post who was 7-for-7 on extra points Friday night against West Side.
Austin Giordano (11) watches sophomore Ethan Igras (16) break into the clear for a 58-yard TD run on the first play of the second half. Lowell scored on the first play from scrimmage in the first and third quarters.
Lowell's Chandler Austgen (78), Austin Giordano (11) and Max Steward (64) watch sophomore defensive end Blake Jansky (44) take down West Side QB Bryce James (11).
Lowell's Max Steward (64) has a clear path to quarterback Bryce James (11) on this play. The Devils held West Side to less than 100 total yards.
Lowell senior Dayton Hornickel (14) watches Tyler Wildman (22) find open spaces Friday against Gary West Side. Wildman scored two of Lowell's seven rushing TDs.
Mr. Tootsie Roll' and 'Mr. Hot Dog' had good seats for the Lowell playoff game last Friday far away from the concession stand.
Lowell coach Keith Kilmer talks the situation over with senior center Mitch Sacco (72) Friday in the playoff opener against Gary West Side.
And the scoreboard tells the third quarter story Friday night at Lowell. Lowell led 65-0 and won 65-6 in the 4A Sectional 17 quarterfinals.  (All photos by Mark Smith)
 
Copyright © 2016 USA-365.com and Meyer Multimedia Services, a division of Meyer Broadcasting Corp.  All rights reserved.
Revised: October 27, 2016 .

1st QtrLOWELL (7-0) Jordan Jusevitch 26-yard interception runback (1st scrimmage play of the game). Jake Post kick. 11:53 left.
LOWELL (14-0)
Trevor Espravnik, 5-yard run, 37 yard drive, 4 plays after Austin Giordano recovered a fumble at the West Side 37-yard line. Jake Post kick. 9:08 left.
LOWELL (21-0)
Trevor Espravnik, 3-yard run. 48-yard drive, 10 plays. Jake Post kick. 3:01 left.
LOWELL (28-0)
Trevor Espravnik, 1-yard run (18th TD of the year) 36-yard drive, 5 plays. Jake Post kick. 0:10 left.
2nd Qtr: LOWELL (35-0) Jaeger Gill, 30-yard punt return. Jake Post kick. 11:26 left.
LOWELL (37-0) Bryce Lewis tackled in the end zone for a safety after a bad punt snap.
LOWELL (44-0)
Tyler Wildman, 2-yard run. 52-yard drive, 13 plays. Jake Post kick. 2:13 left.

3rd Qtr: LOWELL (51-0) Ethan Igras, 58-yard run (1st play of the second half). Jake Post kick. 11:33.
LOWELL (58-0) Tyler Wildman, 20-yard run. 30-yard drive, 2 plays. Nate Gard kick. 8:08 left.
LOWELL (65-0) Cedric Caschetta, 16-yard run (on 4th and 4). 43-yard drive, 6 plays. Nate Gard kick.
4th QtrWEST SIDE (65-6) Tajeem Muhammad, 86-yard run. 86-yard drive, 1 play. 8:46 left.

 

RUSHING:
WEST SIDE (22 carries, 95 yards, one TD, one fumble): Jerme Bailey (HB) 8 carries, 11 yards; Bryce James (QB) 6 carries (minus-25 yards) 2 sacks minus-18; Tajeem Muhammad (HB) 8 carries, 109 yards, TD;

LOWELL (51 carries, 300 yards, 6 TDs): Trevor Espravnik (HB) 14 carries, 90 yards, 3 TDs, Tyler Wildman (HB) 12 carries, 73 yards, 2 TDs; Ethan Igras (QB) 2 carries, 62 yards, TD; Dayton Hornickel (QB) 2-7 yards, Zac Galvan (HB) 1-18 yards, Cedric Cashetta (HB) 3-32 yards, Chris Bozak (HB) 1-3, Jared Sojka (FB) 3-11, Jeff Wallis (HB) 8-19, John Alessia (QB) 5 (minus-15).
 
PASSING:
LOWELL: Dayton Hornickel (QB) 2-for-2, 13 yards,
WEST SIDE: Bryce James (QB) 5 of 11, 2 yards, one interception.

RECEIVING:
WEST SIDE: Bashaar McCarter (WR) 2-11 yards, Antonio Reed (HB) 1 (minus-1), Dejon Crews (WR) 1- 0 yards, Tajeem Muhammad (RB) 1 (minus-8);
LOWELL: Mitch Wildman (TE) 1-12 yards, Zac Galvan (HB) 1-1 yards.

TOTAL YARDS:
WEST SIDE: 97 total yards, 3 first downs, 4 turnovers (including bad punt snap)
LOWELL: 313 yards, 23 first downs, 0 turnovers.

Interceptions:

Jordan Jusevitch (LOWELL).

Fumble recoveries:

Austin Giordano (LOWELL), Steve Ambassi (LOWELL).


LOWELL (10-21-2016) Friday's Lowell-Gary West Side game was not what you want from a competitive standpoint.

Lowell (6-4) scored on Jordan Jusevitch's interception on the first play from scrimmage. It was 28-0 at the quarter and 44-0 at the half. Not counting the interception TD and a 30-yard punt return TD by Jaeger Gill, the Devils scored touchdowns the first seven times they got the ball, making a cold October night much colder for the outmanned visitors from Gary.

A small, chilly crowd didn't see a playoff caliber game.

But, from a Lowell standpoint, the 65-6 victory was exactly what the Devils wanted. The starters played, but not more than a half. If somebody who was healthy and eligible on the bench didn't get in, I'm not sure who it was. There may have been only one minor injury for the winners. Everybody else seemed to come out of the night OK.

And a three-game path to victory in Class 4A Sectional 17 is now a two-game trip.

"The challenge has been all week, can we learn how to be mentally tough and handle this (situation)," said Lowell coach Keith Kilmer. "And we did. We didn't take a step back. We didn't relax. We didn't have any of that."

"There was no, 'It's West Side. They're 1-7.' None of that. I think we showed we're growing to where we want to be for the playoff season."

Lowell started as fast as you can start. On the first play from scrimmage a sidearm pass by West Side senior QB Bryce James appeared to be tipped by Lowell lineman Max Steward. Safety Jordan Jusevitch intercepted it and raced into the end zone. Lowell led 7-0 after just seven seconds.

"That's what you want," said Kilmer. "You want to make a play. Show that we are the team we like to think we are. Starting a game like that sets the tone. There's no relaxing. It's the playoffs. In that sense, we got the job done."

Three plays later, junior halfback Tajeem Muhammad fumbled and Austin Giordano recovered at the West Side 37-yard line. Senior 1,000-yard rusher Trevor Espravnik carried the ball on four consecutive plays, gaining 18, seven, seven and five yards to the end zone for a 14-0 lead with just 1:36 gone in the game.

The Cougars (1-9) seemed demoralized by the first two minutes. After short punts, Lowell drove 48 yards to make it 21-0 and 36 yards to make it 28-0 before the first quarter ended. The teenagers in the student section who do pushups to count Lowell points were wearing themselves out early.

A third short West Side punt was another disaster for West Side as Lowell junior Jaeger Gill caught it on the run at the 30-yard line and easily raced into the end zone to make the score 35-0 with 11:26 still to go in the first half.

On West Side's next possession they tried to punt on 4th-and-10 from their own 18 and the snap sailed over the head of James, who is also the Cougar punter. James was tackled in the end zone for a safety to make the score 37-0. West Side kicked off after the safety and Lowell drove 53 yards for another score as sophomore halfback Tyler Wildman ran it in from two yards out to up the lead to 44-0 at the half.

Lowell scored three more TDs against the outmanned Cougars in the third quarter before inserting much of the freshman team in the fourth quarter. Muhammad, a track standout for West Side, took a sweep play 86 yards for the only Cougar TD with 8:41 to go in the game. Lowell used four different quarterbacks and six different running backs. The Cougars, whose only win this season was over Clark (0-10), had just 30-35 players in uniform, scored just their 11th touchdown in 10 games.

"Physically," said Kilmer, "we ran three plays and we played as basic a defense as we could. Everyone got in and we gave our freshmen a chance to play."

This game was no-contest, but history suggests that's not bad.

When Lowell won seven consecutive sectionals from 2003 to 2009, they won the opening sectional games 58-21 over Lew Wallace (2003), 57-12 over Lew Wallace (2004), 41-6 over Gary Roosevelt (2005), 24-6 over Kankakee Valley (2007), 54-13 over Logansport (2008) and 24-7 over (South Bend) Washington (2009). The post-season in Indiana high school football is the longest single-elimination tournament in any sport and maybe you need a fast and easy start.

"We're where we thought we would be at the start of the year," said Kilmer. "It took us a few peaks and valleys that we didn't think we'd have, but we're growing. Hopefully we can keep this train rolling."

DEVIL NOTES: The total of 65 points is the most scored by Lowell since a 76-0 victory over Lake Station back on Aug. 25, 2000. Lake Station played Lowell every year in the old Northwest Hoosier Conference (NHC, which existed from 1968 to 1997.

Lowell moved to the NHC after the Lake Suburban Conference disbanded in 1992.

The NHC disbanded in 1997. Lowell continued to play Lake Station in nonconference games for three more years, but after the 76-0 game, it was decided that this matchup (Lowell won seven in a row from 1994-2000) had seen better days. Lowell has not played Lake Station since 2000.

There were 10-15 fans in the visitors' stands supporting Gary West Side, but the Cougars did sing the school song to the few who traveled to support them after the game ended.

Lowell now faces Morton, which defeated Gavit 18-12 in overtime last Friday night, in the Class 4A Sectional 17 semifinals Friday night at 7 p.m. Had the Gavit Gladiators defeated Morton, Lowell would have faced Gavit at Morton high. Gavit is not equipped to hold a playoff game because they reportedly do not have adequate play clocks on the field.

Lowell topped Morton 33-6 on September 30. The Devils defeated Morton twice last year and have won four in a row from Morton. Highland (5-5) and Munster (5-5) meet at Highland in the other Sectional 17 semifinal. The four quarterfinal winners in Sectional 18 (the winners of sectionals 17 and 18 meet in the regional championship on November 11) were Kankakee Valley (3-7), Hobart (8-2), Andrean (5-5) and New Prairie (8-2). Hope all the boys aren't baseball fans. The 7 p.m. Friday start time is the same time as game three of baseball's World Series between the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago Cubs.

In the 43 previous years of the IHSAA state tournament, Lowell has won 10 sectional titles. They have won the last two Class 4A Sectional 17 championships in a row and they won seven sectional titles in a row from 2003 to 2009.

While Lowell and West Side were meeting in the 64-team IHSAA Class 4A football playoffs, most of Class 5A and all 32 teams in Class 6A got a bye, meaning they didn't play at all the first week.

Would Lowell have benefitted from a bye?

“I'd rather play,” said coach Keith Kilmer. “Who wants to sit home this time of year? Some of our kids say, 'Coach I want to play (more).’ But you have to be smart. That’s what we did tonight.”

“In the end, though, you don't work all summer not to play. You can't play worried about injuries. That’s our mentality here. We want to be smart and get them off the field, but these kids work too hard not to play.

"How many varsity games do you have in your life? The average kid? Ten. Maybe 18. Just play. It's what we’re here for.”



CLASS SECTIONAL ORDER YOUR INDIANA FOOTBALL DIGEST RECENT SEASONS
4A 17 E-MAIL CORRECTIONS MAP TO SCHOOL 6-4
TOURNAMENT HISTORY
LOWELL
RED DEVILS
Coach: Keith Kilmer, 48-28 in 7th year at school
DATE OPPONENT CENTRAL TIME OA 30.1, DA 12.9
Aug. 19 at Crown Point {6A} 2ot  L   3-  9   
Aug. 26 Portage {6A}   L 27-28   
Sep. 2 Kankakee Valley {4A}‡  W 35-  0   
Sep. 9 at Griffith {3A}‡   L   9-17   
Sep. 16 at Highland {4A}‡  W 41-14   
Sep. 23 Hobart {4A}‡   L 12-18   
Sep. 30 at Hammond Morton {4A}  W 33-  6   
Oct. 7 Munster {4A}‡  W 41-10   
Oct. 14 at Andrean {4A}‡  W 35-21   
Oct. 21 Gary West {4A}  W 65-  6  sectional
Oct. 28 at Hammond Morton {4A} 7:00 pm  sectional
‡NORTHWEST CROSSROADS CONFERENCE GAME


CLASS SECTIONAL ORDER YOUR INDIANA FOOTBALL DIGEST RECENT SEASONS
4A 17 E-MAIL CORRECTIONS MAP TO SCHOOL 1-8
TOURNAMENT HISTORY
GARY WEST
COUGARS
Coach: Jason Johnson, 23-40 in 6th year at school
DATE OPPONENT CENTRAL TIME OA 7.8, DA 40.6
Aug. 19 at Hobart {4A}   L   6-41   
Aug. 26 at Valparaiso {6A}   L   0-49   
Sep. 2 Chicago Mount Carmel (Ill.)   L   6-56   
Sep. 16 at Hammond {3A}   L   6-18   
Sep. 23 Hammond Gavit {4A}   L   6-45   
Sep. 30 at Detroit Central Catholic (Mich.)   L   0-47   
Oct. 7 Hammond Clark {4A}  W 20-16   
Oct. 14 Gary Roosevelt {2A}   L 20-28   
Oct. 21 at Lowell {4A}   L   6-65  sectional
CLASS SECTIONAL ORDER YOUR INDIANA FOOTBALL DIGEST RECENT SEASONS
4A 17 E-MAIL CORRECTIONS MAP TO SCHOOL 4-6
TOURNAMENT HISTORY
HAMMOND MORTON
GOVERNORS
Coach: Sean Kinsey, 4-6 in 1st year at school
DATE OPPONENT CENTRAL TIME OA 14.3, DA 24.2
Aug. 19 Highland {4A}   L 13-42   
Aug. 26 Kankakee Valley {4A}  W 26-24   
Sep. 2 at Hammond Clark {4A}‡  W 34-  0   
Sep. 9 Hammond {3A}‡  W 20-  6   
Sep. 16 at Munster {4A}   L   7-20   
Sep. 23 East Chicago Central {4A}‡   L   0-40   
Sep. 30 Lowell {4A}   L   6-33   
Oct. 7 at Hobart {4A}   L 12-35   
Oct. 14 at Hammond Gavit {4A}‡   L   7-30   
Oct. 21 Hammond Gavit {4A} ot W 18-12  sectional
Oct. 28 Lowell {4A} 7:00 pm  sectional
‡GREAT LAKES CONFERENCE GAME

 

NEXT WEEK'S PAIRINGS
POTENTIAL MATCHUPS AND SITES
All records include the victory a team would receive for winning this week
CLASS 4A
SECTIONAL 17
  Lowell [7-4] at Munster [6-5]
or Highland [6-5] at Lowell [7-4]
or Hammond Morton [5-6] at Munster [6-5]
or Hammond Morton [5-6] at Highland [6-5]
SECTIONAL 18
  Kankakee Valley [4-7] at Andrean [6-5]
or Kankakee Valley [4-7] at New Prairie [9-2]
or Hobart [9-2] at Andrean [6-5]
or Hobart [9-2] at New Prairie [9-2]
SECTIONAL 19
  East Noble [8-2] at Northridge [4-7]
or NorthWood [11-0] at East Noble [8-2]
or Plymouth [6-5] at Northridge [4-7]
or NorthWood [11-0] at Plymouth [6-5]