Week 12 - Football Game of the Week Preview

4A Lowell (7-4) at
4A Hobart (9-2)

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith



Lowell's Mark Stolte (66) and Zach Hayden (70) return to the scene of the crime. Hobart ran all over Lowell 38-7 three weeks ago/ The Devils return to Hobart for the Class 4A Sectional 17 championship game Friday night.. (Photo by Mark Smith)

When:  Friday, Nov. 8, 2019.

Where:  Hobart High School, 2211 East 10th Street in Hobart, Ind.

Tickets:  $7.

Kickoff:   7 p.m.
TV/Radio/Internet: All Lowell games can be viewed on the Regional Radio Sports Network (https://rrsn.com/) web site.

Enrollment: LOWELL - 1,128; Hobart 1,284.

Very cold. Our string of frigid Fridays continues with daytime temperatures in the mid-30s and 7 p.m. temps in the upper 20s. I only remember a handful of games where the temperature (and not the wind chill) was actually below 32 degrees. It not only affects play, it hurries it. It will be important for players to take their time and not rush the execution of plays. I don't have good advice for fans about sitting in sub-freezing weather for two hours. Bring all the large warm friends you can find and sit in the middle of them. If it's a close game, you won't mind the cold so much. If it's not? Well, let's root for a close game.


PARKING: Show up early and stay in your car until moments before kickoff. I’ve said this many times: You don't get a ‘fan award’ for sitting in the cold the longest. There will be plenty of room for you at this game. The crowd at the CP-Lake Central game last week might have been 500 fans. And it will be noticeably colder this week than it was last week.


4A State Tournament Bracket Sectional Championships
17. LOWELL (7-4) at Hobart (9-2)
18. Plymouth (9-2) at New Prairie (10-1)
19. No. 10 Leo (10-1) at No. 4 East Noble (11-0)
20. No. 5 Mississinewa (10-1) at No. 7 Marion (9-2)

21. Pendleton Heights (7-4) at (Fortville) MT. Vernon (9-2)
22. Lebanon (5-5) at (Indy) Roncalli (6-5)
23. No. 1 East Central (11-0) at No. 8 Mooresville (9-2)
24. Evansville Memorial (9-1) at No. 6 Evansville Central (9-2)


ANALYSIS: Lebanon isn't going to beat Roncalli. The Rebels were 1-5 and have won their last five. Lebanon won last week 32-31. At the bottom of the state, the ‘battle for Evansville’ is a rematch from October 4 when Central beat Memorial 23-20 in two overtimes.

In the last five seasons East Central is 12-3 (2015), 11-3 (2016), 12-3 (2017) and 11-2 (2018). The 2019 EC Trojans (11-0) take the No. 1 ranking in the state to Mooresville (9-2) Friday.

If Hobart and New Prairie win, the Brickies host the regional matchup. If Lowell pulls an upset at Hobart, the Devils would be home the night of Nov. 15

The 'Distant Replay'...


Team 1 2 3 4 F
LOWELL (5-4) 0 0 0 7 7
Hobart (7-2) 14 17 0 7 38

Friday, October 18, 2019 - 50 degrees (at kick-off) at HOBART, IN


1st Qtr: HOBART (7-0) Riley Johnston, 4-yard run. 4-yard drive, 2 plays. Matt Hylek kick. 11:03 left.
HOBART (14-0) DJ Lipke, 43-yard run. 53-yard drive, 4 plays. Matt Hylek kick. 4:52 left.

2nd QtrHOBART (21-0) DJ Lipke, 10-yard run. One play, 10 yards after Matthew Benton’s interception. Matt Hylek kick. 9:36 left.
HOBART (28-0)
DJ Lipke, 5-yard run. 4 plays, 12 yards after Hayden Homoky’s interception. Matt Hylek kick. 3:26 left.
HOBART (31-0)
Matt Hylek, 33-yard field goal. 4:52 left.
3rd QtrNo scoring.

4th Qtr: HOBART (38-0) DJ Lipke, 17-yard run. 54-yard drive, 9 plays. Matt Hylek kick. 11:20 left.
LOWELL (7-38) Bradley Goldsmith, fumble recovery in the end zone. Nate Gard kick. 1:20 left.



LOWELL (30 carries, 59 yards, one TD, one fumble):
Adam Bank (HB) 8-41 yards; Ryan Marx (HB) 11-3 yards; Cameron Stojancevich (QB) 2 (minus-19) 2 sacks: minus 19 yards; Johnny Johnson (QB) 6-24 yards, fumble; Joe Heuer (HB) 1-6 yards; Jeffrey Wallis (RB) 2-4 yards.

HOBART (37 carries, 192 yards, 5 TDs, one fumble): DJ Lipke (HB) 21 carries, 122 yards, 4 TDs; Riley Johnston (QB) 10-55 yards, TD; Tyler Schultz (RB) 6-15 yards.


LOWELL: Cameron Stojancevich (QB) 1 of 5, 7 yards, 2 interceptions; Ryan Marx (QB) 0-1 one interception

HOBART: Riley Johnston (QB) 9 of 15, 138 yards, no TDs, no interceptions

LOWELL: Adam Bank (WR) 1-6 yards.

HOBART: Zach Vode (WR) 5 catches, 46 yards; Hayden Maggio (WR) 1-31 yards; Tyler Schultz (HB) 1-20 yards; Matthew Benton (WR) 1-15 yards; Luke Smith (WR) 1-5 yards.


LOWELL: 65 yards, 5 first downs, 3 turnovers (2 interceptions);
HOBART: 330 yards, 12 first downs, one turnover. (fumble).


HOBART (10-18-2019) Hobart boys were very sportsmanlike on this night but when the opposition is helping your guys up off the ground repeatedly in the first quarter, it means the game isn't going well for your side.

Hobart’s Bobby Babcock ran the opening kickoff back 93 yards and the Brickies led 7-0 before one minute had passed. Lowell lost 20 yards on its first play from scrimmage and it was 14-0 before seven minutes had gone by. The Brickies intercepted three passes in the first half. It was 31-0 at the half and that includes a Hobart fumble at the Lowell 10-yard line.

I have rarely seen a team so excited to play a game. Hobart’s enthusiasm level was high and Lowell’s confidence level was low. Looking back, the game was over in the second quarter.

I’ve said this before, but saying that a team ‘was not ready to play’ is usually not the whole story. In a big game, especially away from home, you have to match the intensity of the home team or they will make you look like you aren't ready to play.

This was a forgettable night for Lowell, but it was just three weeks ago so they can't forget it.


2019 (4A) Hobart (9-2)
7-3 (2018) 6-4 (2017) 10-3 (2016), 5-5 (2015)
Coach Craig Osika (2nd year) 16-5, Northwest Crossroads games in CAPS

8-23 (L) 13-21 (6A) Chesterton (6-4)
8-30 (L) 0-21 at (6A) Merrillville (9-1)
9-6 (W) 42-0 (4A) Griffith (3-8)
9-13 (W) 30-27 (3 OT) (4A) Culver Academy (6-5)
9-20 (W) 33-10 at (2A) ANDREAN (8-3)
9-28 (W) 48-10 at (4A) KANKAKEE VALLEY (4-6)
10-4 (W) 35-0 at (4A) HIGHLAND (3-5)
10-11 (W) 65-0 at (4A) MUNSTER (0-10)
10-18 (W) 38-7 (4A) LOWELL (7-4)

Class 4A Sectional 17
10-25 (W) 42-21 at Morton (8-2)
11-1 (W) 35-0 Highland (4-7)
11-8 (Fri.) LOWELL (7-4)


11-15 (Fri.) at Plymouth (10-2) or vs. New Prairie (11-1)


HOBART Update:

HOBART - The Brickies are winning a lot of games and looking good doing it. Since a 30-27 double overtime win over Culver Academy, the Brickies heave won eight games in a row, all by 20 points or more.

Junior quarterback Riley Johnston is a double threat with 67 of 123 passing for 1,081 yards (7 TDs and 6 interceptions) and 525 yards rushing and 13 TDs on 88 carries. Senior halfback DJ Lipke (5-9, 170) has run 208 times this year for 1,176 yards and 25 touchdowns. The Brickies have 358 rushes as a team for 2,084 yards. The numbers scream that most Brickie plays are Johnston optioning the defense and either keeping the ball or handing it to Lipke, who is very hard to tackle.

Tight end Zack Vode (6-1, 190) has caught 38 passes for 708 yards and four TDs. Vode has grabbed four interceptions as a defensive back. Senior Matthew Benton (5-11, 180) is also a two-way player with 20 catches for 273 yards and nine pass interceptions defensively.

The Brickies can throw and they have good receivers. But clearly they don't want to throw a lot. But they want to win on the offensive line of center Connor Bock (6-0, 220), guards Jacob Gresham (6-0, 215) and Elizjah Wilson (5-10, 265) and tackles Trevor Underdahl (6-6, 230) and Sean Underdahl (6-5, 215).

Sean Underdahl was injured in the 42-21 win over Morton on Oct. 25 and I don't know if he’s playing Friday.

Hobart is good on offense, but they are better on defense with just 117 points allowed all season. The Brickies are not that big on defense with Underdahl and Haidyn McLamb (6-2, 195) around Alex Pickett (5-9, 200) up front in what looks like a 3-4 base defense.

But the linebackers excel. Mark Mummey (6-1, 190), Cameron Smith (5-10, 180). Tyler Turley (5-8, 160) and Bobby Babcock (6-0, 220) are trouble makers. Babcock has an eye-opening 20 tackles for loss and six quarterback sacks. Smith, also a junior, has 14 tackles for loss and 3.5 of Hobart’s 16 quarterback sacks. Babcock, who also runs back kicks, has the speed to drop into coverage and the Brickies are very aggressive.

The perimeter is experienced for Hobart with junior Vode, and seniors Benton, Nate Schammert (5-6, 155) and Hayden Homoky (6-2, 160). Hobart has 21 pass interceptions in 11 games.

Hobart’s kicker is Matthew Hylek (5-9, 145) who is 51 of 53 on extra points and 4-of-6 on field goals. Hylek’s best boot was a 46-yard field goal.

If there’s a blueprint to beat the Brickies, it's been lost since August. Hobart has to stay out of 3rd-and-long situations because they don't have that kind of offense. But this is a solid team and if they don't turn the ball over, they are very hard to beat.

2019 (4A) LOWELL (7-4)
10-3 (2018), 14-1 (2017), 9-5 (2016), 12-1 (2015)
Coach Keith Kilmer (10 years, 81-37) NCC Conference games in CAPS

8-23 (W) 21-19 vs. (6A) Crown Point (6-4)
8-30 (L) 9-35 at (6A) Portage (1-9)
9-6 (L) 23-35 at (4A) Morton (8-2)
9-13 (W) 42-28 (4A) Griffith (3-8)
9-20 (W) 21-14 at (4A) at KANKAKEE VALLEY (4-6)
9-27 (W) 24-7 at (4A) HIGHLAND (4-7)
10-4 (W) 48-13 at (5A) MUNSTER (0-10)
10-11 (L) 0-13 (2A) ANDREAN (8-3)
10-18 (L) 7-38 at (4A) HOBART (9-2)

Class 4A Sectional 17
10-25 (W) 63-0 Gary West Side (2-7)
11-1 (W) 55-20 at Griffith (3-8)
11-8 (Fri.) at Hobart (9-2)

11-15 (Fri.) vs. Plymouth (10-2) or New Prairie (11-1)


LOWELL Update:

Lowell was crushed 38-7 three weeks ago at Hobart, but they rebounded with dominating wins over two overmatched teams, Gary West Side and Griffith. What’s changed? They are running the ball. Lowell ran 31 times for 300 yards against West Side and 48 times for 300 yards against Griffith.

I don't want to make too much of sophomore halfback Joe Heuer (5-6, 175) running the ball 11 times for 110 yards and four TDs against West Side and then 21 times for 221 yards and five TDs against Griffith. I don't want to make too much of it because it was against West Side and Griffith.

But I don't want to make too little of it either. Heuer ran the ball four times during the regular season. Four times. He started several games at safety and he ran back two kickoffs for TDs, but let's just say he was well down the running back depth chart. What Heuer does is potentially answer ‘the question’.

The question is: What’s the difference between the Lowell team that lost 38-7 to Hobart on Oct. 18 and the Lowell team that returns to Hobart this Friday night? If Lowell’s offensive line creates a more competitive match against Hobart’s defensive front and Heuer can make some positive runs early, it will be a major boost to Lowell's chances.

The key player on offense for Lowell will be junior QB Cameron Stojancevich, who is 58 of 115 for 793 yards, eight touchdowns and nine interceptions. Stojancevich (6-2, 170), who transferred from Hobart to Lowell last summer, was overwhelmed by his old school’s defense in the October 38-7 Brickie win. Stojancevich was 6-of-6 last week against Griffith for two TDs and 91 yards.

Defensively, Lowell has collected nine turnovers in the last two weeks and that’s their shot against Hobart. Johnston and Lipke are coming at you with a two-man game. Lipke is very difficult to tackle, but the Devils should be able to do a better job of recognizing that it's one of two options. You dare the opposition to throw on a night like this. On a night when there may be be bad handoffs, bad kicks and dropped balls, Lowell needs to get their share.

Linebacker Kyler Newcomb (5-11, 181) has nine tackles for loss, four sacks and three fumble recoveries. Defensive end Trevor Matovina (6-2, 230) has 21 tackles for loss. Cornerback Reec Ison (5-11, 160) has nine pass breakups and three interceptions.

The Devils are a good kick return team. Heuer has run two kickoffs back for TDs. Jacob Chandler has an 87-yard kickoff return TD and John Alessia has an 85-yard punt return score. Seniors like Alessia and Matovina will play both offense and defense against the Brickies.

Hobart isn't 31 points better than Lowell, but they could beat the Devils by 31 again. Lowell was clearly intimidated the first meeting. The Brickies were much more physical. Lowell appeared to be playing in slow motion on offense. In a championship game, I expect the Devils to meet Hobart’s level of intensity.

But this game comes down to what the Lowell boys believe. Something has to go Lowell’s way early Friday so Lowell can think they will win.

This will be Lowell’s eighth road game this season and they will be playing in extreme (for high school football) cold. But as kickoff approaches Friday, Devils will talk themselves into the ‘second chance’. They were down 31 when they left Hobart last month but this game is tied at 7 p.m. Friday.

A positive play early Friday and this is a close game.


4A LOWELL (7-4) at 4A HOBART (9-2)

At  Hobart's Brickyard: Capacity 5,000 (est.) 

Sagarin computer ratings:
Hobart by 22.

Considering the previous meeting, this spread seems fair. Common opponents also favor the Brickies. Hobart defeated Andrean 33-10 and Lowell lost to Andrean 13-0. Hobart defeated Morton 52-21 and Morton beat Lowell 35-23. For the record, Hobart was a 21-point favorite over Lowell three weeks ago and the Brickies won 38-7.


HOBART (11-08-2019) How does Lowell win a game they lost by 31 three weeks ago? The Devils have to find five yard gains. Short plays that keep the clock and the ‘chains’ moving. Lowell also has to run their plays with precision. They made Hobart look faster and quicker than they probably are in the October 18 game.

Statistically, the Devils have to run the ball 35-40 times and hold the ball at least 30 minutes of the time. All games Friday night figure to be conservatively played. Lowell has to see the cold weather as an equalizer.

If they get two turnovers and gain 150-200 yards rushing, Lowell can win a close game.

Will it happen? You know what I’ve said here for years. I do not remember a team losing by 20 or more points to a team and then defeating that same team in the post-season.

Hobart 28, LOWELL 17

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Revised: November 08, 2019 .