Week 14 -  Football Game of the Week Preview

4A No. 1 Lowell (13-0) vs.
No. 8 Bishop Dwenger (10-3)

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith

Lowell seniors Jordan Jusevitch (left) and Mitch Wildman want to help the Devils reach the state finals Friday night when they play Bishop Dwenger in the Class 4A Semistate championship at Homestead high school in Fort Wayne. (Photo by Mark Smith)

When:  7 p.m. (Lowell time) 8 p.m. (Fort Wayne time) on Friday, Nov. 18, 2017.

NOTE: The game has been moved to Homestead high school - 4310 Homestead Road in Fort Wayne. Apparently the field at Bishop Dwenger's home, the Zollner Athletic Complex, is in bad shape after lots of wear this fall. Homestead has artificial turf.

TV/Radio/Internet: WTMK (88.5) FM live. I believe thet
RegionSports.com wil have a live video feed of this game. That is not certain. SummitCitySports.com (they air a lot of Summit Athletic Conference games) also will air this game, but I do not know if it will be a live feed.

Tickets: $8 (Note the ticket price.) 

Tickets: $7

Enrollment:  LOWELL - 1,210; Bishop Dwenger - 1,075.

WEATHER: Good news here. It's not going to be as cold as it was last week and as the week has gone on, rain has been taken out of the forecast. Anyone who showed up for that freeze-fest Friday night deserves credit as a true fan.
It will not be that bad this week. Predicted game time temperatures are in the low 40s and if that's the case, it's a good night to play.
More good news: Homestead's field (David S. Walters Stadium) had a listed capacity of 4,000 and the field turf is said to be state-of-the-art. The visitors' grandstand is said to hold at least 2,000. Dry field. Temperatures in the 40s. For Mid-November in northern Indiana? That's about as good as we're going to get.

PARKING: Homestead is a Class 6A (2,282 teens) school so I assume they need lots of parking space every day. The combined enrollment of Lowell and Bishop Dwenger does not equal Homstead's enrollment so they handle lots of kids and cars on a daily basis. But in all my wandering of the state of Indiana, I have never actually been to Homestead, so I don't know what Lowell folks will find when they roll up.

Photos of the school campus show lots of room for cars. Bishop Dwenger folks are very familiar with Homestead and they'll be there early and in good numbers. Lowell folks should do the same.

WHAT's AT STAKE: The winner of Friday's Bishop Dwenger-Lowell game takes on Greenwood (11-2) or East Central (10-3) for the Class 4A state championship at 2:30 p.m. CST (3:30 p.m. EST) on Saturday, Nov. 25 inside the Lucas Oil Stadum in downtown Indianapolis. Bishop Dwenger is playing for the school's 10th semistate championship and their sixth in Class 4A. The Saints won four Class 3A semistate titles in the 1980s and 90s.

Lowell is playing for the school's fourth (2005, 2007 and 2009) Class 4A semistate championship. The Devils (13-0) have never been 14-0 in school history. Andrean (2008) is the only Lake County school to ever go 15-0.

HISTORY: Bishop Dwenger is the 55-year old Catholic school on Fort Wayne's north side. Joseph Gregory Dwenger (1937-1993) was the second arch bishop assigned to the Roman Catholic Diocese of the region (loosely South Bend and Fort Wayne) that includes what is now the city of Fort Wayne and he held that post for 20 years.

Bishop Dwenger was considered one of the earliest promoters of parochial schools and orphanages, which he felt was his special mission. John Henry Luers was the first bishop of the Fort Wayne area and Dwenger's south side arch rival school Bishop Luers is named for him. The sixth bishop of the Fort Wayne-South Bend area was John Francis Noll, for whom Bishop Noll high school in Hammond is named.

Obviously, Bishop Dwenger is much more like Andrean than they are like Lowell or any other public school. Tuition at Bishop Dwenger is listed at $7,000 to $9,000 per year and it is estimated that 80% of Dwenger students are involved in some sport or extra curricular activity. Bishop Dwenger has four state football championships, five state gymnastics championships and seven state cheerleading titles.

As is true in many cities, Fort Wayne's private schools tended to have more success in football while public schools excelled in basketball. Unofficially, Dwenger is 441-170-1 in 53 recorded varsity football seasons, which would be the fourth best record in the northern half of the state all-time.

Lowell and Bishop Dwenger have met only three times. Lowell won the two games played in Lowell. Dwenger won in Fort Wayne in 2008. In the years 2007-2009, Bishop Dwenger had a won-loss record of 40-3 with one loss to Cathedral and two to Lowell. Bishop Dwenger was the 2015 Class 4A state champion and they lost the 2013 state championship game 28-27 to now-5A Columbus East.

Team 1 2 3 4 F
Bishop Dwenger (13-1) 0 7 14 0 21
LOWELL (13-1) 0 7 14 3 24

Saturday, November 21, 2009,  48 degrees, Class 4A, Northern Semistate Championship in LOWELL, IN

1st Qtr  No scoring.
2nd Qtr:  LOWELL (7-0) Brandon Grubbe 1-yard run (35th TD).  80-yard drive, 14 plays.  Boge Pejoski kick.  9:40 left.
DWENGER (7-7) Remound Wright, 37-yard run (35th TD).  72 yard drive, 6 plays.  Emerson Ueber kick.  2:30 left.
3rd Qtr:  DWENGER (14-7) Remound Wright, 76-yard run (36th TD).  1st scrimmage play of the second half.  Emerson Ueber kick.  11:42 left.
LOWELL (14-14) Cole Midgett, 21-yard run.  7 yard drive, 10 plays.  Boge Pejoski kick.  3:57 left.
DWENGER (21-14) Landon Feitcher, 86-yard kickoff return.  Emerson Ueber kick.  3:45 left.
LOWELL (21-21) Brandon Grubbe, 7-yard run (36th TD).  1st play after Jordan Juarez ' 67-yard kickoff return.  Boge Pejoski kick.  3:30 left.
4th Qtr:  LOWELL (24-21) Boge Pejoski, 24-yard field goal.  14-yard drive, 6 plays after Mike Sekuloski returned an interception 45 yards to the Dwenger 22.  4:33 left.



BISHOP DWENGER (27 carries, 253 yards, 2 TDs):  Wade Markley (QB) 3 carries, 5 yards; Tony Svarczkopf (FB) 1-11 yards, Mike Udoh (HB) 1-5 yards, Brad Freiburger (FB) 2-2 yards; Remound Wright (HB) 20 carries, 230 yards.

LOWELL (47 carries, 247 yards, 3 TDs):  Jordan Juarez (HB) 4-15 yards; Cole Midgett (WR) 2-32 yards, TD; Ray Skamay (QB) 3-34 yards; Nate Cleveland (FB) 1-0 yards; Brandon Grubbe (HB) 37 carries, 161 yards, 2 TDs.

BISHOP DWENGER: Wade Markley (QB) 12 of 24, 168 yards, 0 TDs, 2 interceptions;
LOWELL: Ray Skamay (QB) 3-of-8, 37 yards, 0 TDs, 2 interceptions; Cole Midgett (WR) 0-for-1.

BISHOP DWENGER: Landon Feithcer (WR) 2-66 yards; Joel Gerardot (WR) 4-72 yards; Remound Wright (HB) 5-27 yards, Bobby Widner (TE) 1-3 yards.
LOWELL: Jake Grah (WR) 1-5 yards; Joe Bell (TE) 2-32 yards.

BISHOP DWENGER: 421 yards, 14 first downs, 2 turnovers;
LOWELL: 279 yards, 13 first downs, 2 turnovers.

LOWELL (11-18-2009)
If you were to make up a list of Lowell's greatest games in the last 25 years, the three meetings with Bishop Dwenger would all be high on the list. In 2009, Dwenger was second-ranked and undefeated and they came to Lowell for a 'rubber game', a third meeting in three years.

This was one of Bishop Dwenger's greatest teams. They had outscored their previous 13 foes by the combined score of 593-89. They had three boys who would go on to sign with Division I colleges.
Things got totally out of hand in the third quarter after Remound Wright raced 76 yards for a TD on the first play of the second half. Lowell drove the length of the field to tie the game 14-14 but Landon Feitcher ran the kickoff back for another Dwenger TD. Lowell's Jordan Juarez ran the next kickoff back 67 yards and Brandon Grubbe scored to tie the game at 21.

All this in front of about 4,000 fans, one of the largest crowds ever at Lowell, on a Saturday evening.

In the fourth quarter, an interception by Mike Sekuloski set up the go-ahead field goal by Boge Pejoski. But the Saints moved down the field and on the final play of the game, Lowell's Brandon Grubbe was called for pass interference, giving Dwenger the ball at the 20-yard line. On an untimed extra play after the clock had expired, Dwenger's Emerson Ueber pushed a 37-yard field goal just wide, allowing Lowell to win.

Lowell defeated No. 10 Morton, No. 9 Washington, No. 6 Plymouth and No. 2 Dwenger to reach the state title game, where they would lose to top-ranked Reitz high of Evansville. Brandon Grubbe would finish his career as the 22nd leading rusher all time in Indiana and he would go on to play for Indiana University and Butler University. Bishop Dwenger would go 13-0 again the next season, losing to Cathedral 31-20 in the state title game. Coach Kirk Kennedy left Lowell after the 2009 season and the Devils could not win a sectional until they mounted this present run of four sectional titles in row (2014-2017) under coach Keith Kilmer.

In the 45 years of the IHSAA state tournament, among Northwest Indiana teams, only Hobart, Andrean and Lowell have reached the state finals three times in five years. The Devils have a had a lot of dramatic home field state tournament wins. But it would be hard to find a game that was better than this one.

(4A) Bishop Dwenger (10-3)
8-4 (2016), 14-1 (2015), 4-6 (2014), 11-4 (2013)
Coach Chris Svarczkopf (15th year) 149-48.
Summit Conference league games in CAPS

8-18 (W) 27-12 at (4A) WAYNE (5-7)
8-25 (W) 37-0 (5A) FORT WAYNE NORTH (0-10)
9-1 (W) 48-14 (4A) FORT WAYNE SOUTH (1-9)
9-8 (L) 0-42 (6A) HOMESTEAD (8-2)
9-15 (L) 24-28 (6A) CARROLL (7-4)
9-22 (W) 27-0 (3A) CONCORDIA LUTHERAN (7-5)
9-29 (W) 15-14 (3A) BISHOP LUERS (8-5)
10-6 (L) 30-31 at (6A) SNIDER (11-1)
10-13 (W) 38-18 (6A) NORTHRUP (2-8)

Class 4A Sectional 20
10-20 (W) 41-7 Fort Wayne South (1-9)
10-27 (W) 13-6 No. 7 New Haven (9-2)
11-3 (W) 41-20 Wayne (5-7)

4A Regional
11-10 (W) 34-0 No. 5 Angola (12-1)

4A Semistate
11-17 (Fri.) LOWELL (13-0) 8 p.m. EDT

4A State Finals - 3:30 p.m. EST
11-15 (Sat) vs. No. 18 Greenwood (11-2) or No. 9 East Central (10-3)

SCHEDULE: Bishop Dwenger always finds a test in the Summit Athletic Conference. There is a little question about the Saints' schedule since three Dwenger wins are over Fort Wayne South (1-9) and Fort Wayne North (0-10), who had very forgettable years. Dwenger's arch rival is Bishop Luers and the 15-14 win must have been a boost. Lowell's schedule features two Class 6A schools and one 5A foe. Dwenger faces four Class 6A teams including Snider and Homestead. If it matters, Dwenger did not play at Homestead this season.


Bishop Dwenger's numbers on the offensive side of the ball are not impressive. The Saints' numbers on defense are. Dwenger has 42 quarterback sacks and 21 pass interceptions in 13 games. NFL teams don't have 42 sacks and 21 interceptions in 13 games.

The Saints quarterback is a sophomore rookie Patrick O'Keefe (5-11, 175) who has had a good year. An example of how close this game is: O'Keefe (64 of 122, 1,014 yards, 11 TDs, 5 interceptions) has exactly the same number of pass attempts and interceptions as does Lowell junior second year QB Ethan Igras (64 of 122, 1,225 yards, 13 TDs and 5 interceptions). I have never seen a game between two QBs that have the same number of attempts and interceptions 13 games into the season.

Dwenger halfback Chip Clark (5-10, 175) looks like a reliable ball carries. He has 1,138 yards and 13 TDs on 190 carries and
has five 100-yard games. The Saints don't have anyone else who has gained as many as 300 yards. O'Keefe has 233 yards on 61 carries.

The Saints' top pass receiver is Tommy Steele (5-10, 165), who has grabbed 26 passes for 556 yards (a 21.4 yard average) and four touchdowns. The running back Clark has 15 catches for 112 yards and senior Bradley Black has 26 catches for 340 yards in nine games.

When the Saints need a yard or two, they probably run behind big left tackle Joe Tippman (6-6, 283), a Division I college prospect, listed as the No. 5 high school prospect in the state of Indiana for the class of 2019. The Dwenger line is big, including senior Mitch Campbell (6-3, 265) and juniors Nick Hosier (5-9, 225) and Alex Kolkman (5-10, 220). Dwenger usually splits a couple of wide receivers, which suggests they have great confidence in the offensive line. They do have a power-I formation, but there's a lot of video of the Saints (there are entire games on SummitCitySports.com) and you don't see them passing the ball a lot on first down.

If the game comes down to a field goal, Dwenger is probably going to win, because Saints' junior Michael Garrett is 39 of 39 on extra points and 10 of 11 on field goals. Garrett, who also averages 34.8 yards a punt and 43 yards a kickoff, appears to have 40-50 yard field goal range.

For what it's worth, I see 35 sophomores and 18 juniors on the Bishop Dwenger roster. Many key players are seniors, but there will be a lot of underclassmen on the field for the Saints. Watching some film of Dwenger, it's all about the defense. At least, lately it is.

Senior Jacob Fabini (5-11, 205) has 89 tackles and 10 QB sacks. Junior linebacker TJ McGarry (6-2, 200) is another college prospect with 110 tackles. Linebacker Isaac Blume (6-2, 205) has 102 tackles.

The Saints have faced some top offensive teams and they have allowed just 15 points a game. I don't see great speed, but they are physically strong, again a lot like Andrean.

LOWELL (13-0)
9-5 (2016), 12-1 (2015), 8-5 (2014), 6-4(2013)
Coach Keith Kilmer (8th season, 61-29)
Northwest Crossroads Conference (NCC) games in CAPS

8-18 (W) 27-13 (6A) Crown Point (7-5)
8-25 (W) 20-7 at (6A) Portage (5-6)
9-1 (W) 19-0 at (4A) Morton (8-3)
9-8 (W) 63-6 (3A) Clark (1-9)
9-15 (W) 27-13 at (4A) KANKAKEE VALLEY (3-7)
9-22 (W) 27-0 (4A) HIGHLAND (4-7)
9-29 (W) 28-9 at (5A) MUNSTER (4-6)
10-6 (W) 16-0 (3A) ANDREAN (8-4)
10-13 (W) 30-7 at (4A) HOBART (6-4)

Class 4A Sectional 17
10-20 (W) 41-0 Gary West Side (2-8)
10-27 (W) 35-0 at Highland (4-7)
11-4 (W) 42-7 No. 10 Griffith (10-2)

Class 4A Regional

11-11 (W) 25-20 No. 6 New Prairie (11-2)

Class 4A Semistate
11-18 (Fri) at No. 8 Bishop Dwenegr (10-3)

Class 4A state final game

11-26 (Sat) vs. Greenwood (11-2) or No. 9 East Central (10-3) in the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis - 3:30 EST.

SCHEDULE: If the state tournament is designed to have you face tougher teams every week you advance, that's the way it's worked for Lowell. The Devils battled it out
with sixth-rated New Prairie last week after rolling over No. 10 Griffith in week 12. Now, the Devils will take on their toughest test in a road match at four-time state champ Bishop Dwenger.

I think the Saints are the toughest team Lowell has seen, because Dwenger annually faces a schedule that is superior to what Lowell can confront. Simplistically, Dwenger is a larger version of Andrean.

LOWELL Update:

Lowell held New Prairie's 500-yards per game offense to 240 yards and, if they came out of the game healthy, they will be good to go this Friday. The Devils' great challenge seems to be moving the ball on Dwenger, which shut out an offensive-minded Angola team last week. Lowell has been good on offense in the post-season, scoring 42 on No. 10 Griffith and 25 on No. 6 New Prairie.

QB Ethan Igras has over 1,100 yards passing and has thrown for 13 TDs. He has also run for 532 yards on 110 carries. Junior halfback Tyler Wildman has 170 carries for 822 yards and 10 TDs.
As Lowell fans know, the Devils spread their two biggest threats out wide on most plays. Jordan Jusevitch has 14 catches for 270 yards while Jaeger Gill has 22 catches for 615 yards. A key player in this game may be tight end Mitch Wildman who has 225 yards on 12 catches.

Late in last week's game against New Prairie, Lowell whipped out a very unique offense. The Devils lined up Jusevitch or Gill as the only back and ran them play after play against a tiring New Prairie defense. Then the Devils lined up Gill as the lone back and he threw a 25-yard TD pass to Jusevitch. I have never seen Lowell run that particular play.

Defensively, the Devils gave up 240 yards to New Prairie and that's the most gained against them this season.

Jusevitch was credited with 15 tackles and Mitch Wildman added 10 from his linebacker position. Jusevitch has six pass interceptions and Logan O'Hanlon has three more. New Prairie ran some roll-right, throw back plays that almost caught the Devils napping. But I don't think Dwenger's going to challenge the Lowell secondary a lot with a sophomore QB.

A key factor in this game is: Is Dwenger going to kick the ball to Lowell's kick returners Gill and Jusevitch? Few teams have all season, but Dwenger has a high quality kicker and they might. In the 31-30 Dwenger loss to Snider, the Saints kept kicking the ball to dangerous Snider kick returners. It would not be a good idea. The Devils have run back five kicks for TDs.

In the last three seasons, Lowell is 34-6. Lowell varsity football did not have a winning season from 1969 to 1992. Present day Lowell has not had a losing season since 1998.

One more thing: Lowell has been here before. The Devils lost the semistate to Northwood last season 21-14. No one has to remind Lowell seniors that it has taken 13 games to get back to this point and Friday night is the 'do-over' they have asked for.


LOWELL (13-0) at Bishop Dwenger (10-3)

Homestead Stadium - capacity 4,000


SAGARIN RATINGS: Bishop Dwenger by 1.

This seems like a very even game. Both teams have good numbers on offense, but no 2,000-yard rushers or passers. Nobody with 35 touchdowns. All those teams have been eliminated. Dwenger has played together teas than Lowell in Homestead and Snider, but they lost to those teams. Both of these teams have defeated two Top-10 4A teams in the post-season to reach this week. Anything less than a 3-point spread is virtually an even game. Lowell expected to be here and I'd guess that Dwenger, with four state titles in their past, always expects to be here. This is the matchup you want at this point.


FORT WAYNE (11-18-2017) I see a scoreless first quarter as both sides find out if they can run the ball. Even in fairly good conditions it's going to be hard for either team to collect consecutive first downs. Bishop Dwenger will lead 6-0 in the second quarter on two field goals by Michael Garrett.

Lowell gets going on a long kick return, which sets up an option TD run by Ethan Igras. I think the Saints feel they can kick to Lowell's returners. Dwenger regains the lead on a run by 1,000-yard halfback Chip Clark after a long drive. But Lowell responds with a pass and run to Jaeger Gill, setting up a goal line score from Cedric Caschetta for a 14-13 lead.

A pass interception leads Lowell to a third TD, a pass to tight end Mitch Wildman. Dwenger rallies with a long drive, but they settle for a third field goal by Garrett. The Saints get a final chance, but a second pas interception allows Lowell to run out the clock.

I don't see Dwenger moving the ball consistently as the game goes on. The Lowell defense will turn would-be TDs into field goals.

The field switch to Homestead will favor Lowell as it gets their fast skill position players on a dry, fast surface. All three previous Lowell-Bishop Dwenger games were decided by three points. This game will be very similar.

LOWELL 21, Bishop Dwenger 16

Copyright 2017 USA-365.com and Meyer Multimedia Services, a division of Meyer Broadcasting Corp.  All rights reserved.
Revised: November 17, 2017 .