Week 4 - Football Game of the Week Preview

Griffith (0-3) at Lowell (1-2)

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith


After two tough weeks away from Lowell, the Red Devils return to the hometown Friday night to face old rival Griffith. (Photo by Mark Smith)

When: Friday, September 13, 2019

Where:  Lowell high school, 3 miles east of I-65 on US-2, Lowell, Indiana.

Tickets:  $6 - (for everybody).

Kickoff:    7:00 p.m.

Enrollment: Griffith - 724; LOWELL – 1,128.

WEATHER: It will be a little warmer than it has been the first three weeks. It was probably a difficult week of practice for these two teams because summer-like heat returned Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The forecast for Friday seems a bit suspect to me, but temperatures are scheduled to drop into the mid-70s Friday and into the upper 60s after halftime. Wind is predicted to be a factor at 15-20 miles an hour. I’m concerned that the week-long heat will carry over into Friday. Let’s hope not.

Friday nights have been very pleasant so far this season.


PARKING: This is a great old traditional game, but Griffith is 0-3. The Panthers are trying, but they have not been competitive in three weeks. Griffith folks certainly love their boys, but they’re not coming down to Lowell Friday night to watch this game.

So there’s probably no need to get to the high school early so you can get a parking spot close to the field. Parking will not be a problem for Lowell’s second home game of the season.


WHAT's AT STAKE: This could be a preview of the 4A Sectional 17 playoffs, so the Panthers are probably taking the mind-path that they have two shots to beat Lowell and this is the first one.

Both teams badly need a win and it will get tense if the game stays close. Watching Griffith on tape last week, they are giving a strong effort despite being overmatched. Lowell needs to prove they can get better. This is just a non-conference game, but the Devils need to win AND play well.


HISTORY: Griffith and Lowell have played a varsity football game every single season since Griffith began playing varsity football in 1934. Lowell defeated Griffith 45-6 on October 26, 1934, almost 85 years ago.

On Friday, the 13th in 1940, 79 years ago, Lowell beat Griffith 33-6. When Lowell won the state championship in 2005, Griffith defeated the Devils 21-0.

Griffith leads the all-time series 51-35-3 based on the Panthers winning 17 games in a row from 1976 to 1992. To the thousands of us who have been stalled by a train blocking Broad Street in Griffith it will come as no surprise that the town is named after a railroad engineer.

According to more than one source, a man named E.P. Griffith, a surveyor for the Grand Trunk Railroad in the late 1800s, is the reason this town has its name.

In 1852, what is now Griffith was swamp land. Settlers bought the land and drained it. Mr. Griffith mapped the terrain for the railroad and the area he mapped, when the line was completed, became known as the ‘Griffith Section.’  It's that simple.

The Griffith public school system was established 107 years ago in 1912.

Take away all the trains and Griffith and Lowell are very similar places. Probably more so than they know. Before the Panthers went to the Greater South Shore Conference three years ago, Lowell faced Griffith in every varsity sport.

Griffith dropped Lowell from the schedule at that time, but the two schools signed up to meet in football annually last year. Both teams will have losing records when they step on the field Friday, but that won't happen very often. These two programs should always meet.

The 'Distant Replay'...


Griffith "roughs up" Red Devils in 35-0 shutout


Team 1 2 3 4 F
LOWELL (1-2, 0-1 LAC) 0 0 0 0 0
Griffith  (3-0, 1-0 LAC) 7 8 13 7 35

Friday, September 1, 2006,  68 degrees, dry in Griffith - LAC Black Division

1st Qtr GRIFFITH (7-0)  Corey Nash, 17-yard run (4th-and-3).  56-yard drive, 8 plays.  Nate Vaughn kick.  4:52 left.
2nd Qtr:  GRIFFITH (15-0)  Doug Ashenbaugh, 2-yard run.  57-yard drive, 10 plays.  Ashenbaugh run.  0:35 left.
3rd Qtr:  GRIFFITH (21-0)  David Alexander, 98-yard kickoff return.  Kick wide.  11:42 left.
GRIFFITH (28-0)  David Alexander, 35-yard run.  Nate Vaughn kick.  0:45 left.
4th Qtr
GRIFFITH (35-0)  David Alexander, 94-yard run.  Nate Vaughn kick.  8:13 left.


GAME TOTALS (Unofficial Numbers)



LOWELL 203, Griffith 370



LOWELL (33-98, 2 fumbles)  Steffan Peck (HB) 19-68, Josh Kuiper (QB) 4-16, 2 fumbles; 

Danny Remboski (FB) 2-8; Chris Briggs (HB) 2-6, Max Znika (HB) 1-2; 

Andrew Eldred (HB) 1 (-1); James Zelenka (HB) 1 (-1)
GRIFFITH ( 36-292, fumble, 4 TDs)  Doug Ashenbaugh (FB) 14-70 yards; David Alexander (HB) 9-164, 2 TDs; 

Corey Nash (QB) 8-34, TD; Derek Hitt (QB) 1-7; Austin Guzior (HB) 1-6; Josh Davis (HB) 2-14;
Rex Cullen (HB) 1 (-3).


GRIFFITH - Corey Nash (QB) 7-10, 78 yards,  

LOWELL - Josh Kuiper (QB) 2-8, 18 yards; Zach Porras (QB) 3-4, 40 yards, one interception; 

Danny Remboski (FB) 0-1;  Doug Lang (P) 1-1, 47 yards.


GRIFFITH - Brandon Brown (WR) 2-40 yads; David Alexander (HB) 2-11; Nate Lehman (TE) 2-19, Ryan Galiher (WR) 1-8.

LOWELL - Dean Frigo (TE) 3-40 yards; Lukas Palmer (WR) 1-47, Eric Roadruck (WR) 1-15, Jeff Barker (TE) 1-3.


GRIFFITH -  0;  LOWELL - 3 (2 fumbles)


GRIFFITH (09-01-2006) Lowell was simply overrun on this night, mostly by speedy David Alexander, who ran for 164 yards from scrimmage and scored three touchdowns, one on a 98-yard kickoff return and another on a 94-yard run from scrimmage. Runs like that make the losing team feel helpless.

I was at this game and I remembered writing about the ‘anger’ the Panthers played with. I mistook anger for confidence.

That Griffith team started the season 8-0 and won every sectional and regional game by at least 19 points. The Panthers lost the semistate 35-7 to undefeated Norwell and Norwell (14-1) lost the state title the next week 7-0 to Bishop Chatard (14-1) of Indianapolis.

I chose this ‘distant’ game because, after losing to Griffith by 35 points, the Devils also lost to Morton and Andrean to fall to 1-4. Seemed like a bad season, but that’s not how it turned out. Lowell went on to win Class 4A Sectional 17.

The next year, in 2007 with some of the same players who lost by five TDs at Griffith, Lowell again lost to Griffith. And in 2007 Lowell won the sectional and went to the state title game. A history lesson for both teams of the field this Friday. Situations are not always how they seem after three weeks. Things do change.

2019 (4A) Griffith (0-3)
8-3 (2018) 10-2 (2017) 8-4 (2016), 4-7(2015)
coach Adam Musielak (1st year) 0-3…Greater South Shore Conference (GSSC)
SOUTH division games in CAPS

8-23 (L) 7-60 at (5A) Michigan City (2-1)
8-30 (L) 0-63 at (5A) Valparaiso (3-0)
9-6(L) 0-42 (4A) Hobart (1-2)

9-13 (Fri) at (4A) Lowell (0-3)
9-20 (Fri.) at (3A) HANOVER CENTRAL (1-2)
9-27 (Fri.) (3A) Calumet (2-1)
10-4 (Fri.) (3A) BOONE GROVE (3-0)
10-11 (Fri.) (3A) WHITING (2-1)
10-18 (Fri.) vs. (3A) WHEELER (2-1)

Class 4A Sectional 17
10-25 (Fri) quarterfinal vs. Morton, East Chicago, Gavit, Lowell, Highland, Gary West Side and Hobart.




GRIFFITH - Okay, so things aren't going well.  I do not know what has happened to quarterback Carson Crowe, who had a promising 2018. He only threw four passes in the first two games after going 69 of 141 for 945 yards as sophomore. Crowe (6-2, 180) also ran for 751 yards and nine TDs.

Ryan Gordon (5-9, 181) and Brian Bolden (6-0, 175) are running backs the Panthers will rely on. Pass protection has been a problem.

Griffith reportedly has just four seniors on the roster. They appear to be undersized and there is a lack of depth. Griffith does use some sophomores like Rondell Latiker (5-10, 165) who have potential.

Crowe seems to look for Latiker as his top target as a receiver. Griffith runs a spread offense with three receivers and a slot man plus a wingback. The QB is the Panthers' most experienced player and Griffith's best play is often to let him run.

Reportedly, the Panthers did not convert a third down opportunity against either Michigan City or Valparaiso, but they moved the ball early against Hobart. Reitz, Logan Vallandigham and Rashod Shaw (6-2, 266) are key seniors in the offensive line.

The defense is led by tackle Cole Reitz (6-0, 195) and linebacker Ryan Davenport (6-0, 205).
Griffith must commit to the run because throwing the ball 20-30 times, as they could do with Crowe, keeps their undersized defense on the field and leads to bad things.

One question for Griffith moving forward is, do they think they have a chance to win on any Friday? Is their confidence fragile? Do they lose hope early in games when things go wrong?

The Panthers obviously know Lowell has lost a couple and they might see this night as a chance to win. But if they don't score early Friday they could lose faith that good things can occur.

2019 (4A) LOWELL (1-2)
10-3 (2018), 14-1 (2017) 9-5 (2016), 12-1 (2015)
Coach Keith Kilmer (8 years, 75-34) NCC Conference games in CAPS

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

Class 4A Sectional 17
10-25 (Fri) quarterfinal vs. Griffith, East Chicago, Gavit, Morton, Highland, Gary West Side and Hobart.


LOWELL Update:

Lowell was cut low last week by the passing game of Morton making it three consecutive weeks that the opposition has thrown for at least 160 yards against the Devils. I thought the Lowell pass defense might be a strength this year, but that hasn't been the case and Griffith will certainly try for big plays against a defense that has allowed six TD passes, 18 passing first downs and 780 passing yards in three games.

Morton rolled up 459 totals yards on Lowell despite committing 14 penalties.

Lowell may have simply faced three talented offenses in the first three weeks. I’m not sure they are as weak on defense as the numbers indicate.

The Devils moved the ball last week, gaining 13 first downs and they trailed Morton just 21-16 after three quarters. Lowell ran the ball 35 times for 116 yards, but the Devils trailed the entire game and they cold not hurt Morton through the air.

I thought that a significant play last week was a 27-yard option run by junior quarterback Cameron Stojancevich, his first significant run of the season.

Defenses obviously can more easily key on Ryan Marx (23 carries, 85 yards, 2 TDs last week) if they don't think the QB is going to run.

Lowell may face a crisis in confidence this week. They are somewhat fortunate to even be 1-2, but the level of competition won't be as high the next six weeks as it was the first three and the Devils' younger players figure to improve if they can stay confident.

This Friday could be a confidence builder.

Griffith (0-3) at LOWELL (1-2)

Lowell Stadium, 'The Inferno' capacity: 2,500 (est.)


SAGARIN RATINGS:  Lowell by 18.

This rating has to do with Lowell’s win over Crown Point and a competitive game against Morton. Griffith has been outmanned in all three games so far. While they have played what the Sagarin computer calls the sixth toughest schedule state wide so far, they have not been able to stay close in any game. Here’s a ray of hope for Lowell fans. On the Sagarin computer, the Devils would be favored to beat any of the final six teams on their schedule.
Too bad we don't play actual games on the computer.




LOWELL (09-13-2019)  I’ll shorthand this one. It is going to be difficult for the Panthers to stop Lowell running the ball. Griffith’s hope is to score first and take Lowell out of their plan of attack. If that does not happen, this game won't be close.


Lowell is a young team, but not as young as Griffith and most of the Devils problems so far this year have been on defense.

Lowell runs for 250 yards and five TDs to even their record at 2-2. Griffith will leave 0-4, but after playing four schools larger than they are, the Panthers will try to the next five weeks against schools smaller than they are.


LOWELL 41, Griffith 14


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Revised: September 11, 2019 .