Week 7 -  Football Game of the Week Preview

Lowell (4-2) at Munster (0-6)

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith


The Lowell 'World Tour' continues this week. The fifth of six road games for the Devils this season is Friday night in Munster.  (Photo by Mark Smith)

When: 7:00 p.m., CDT on Friday, October 4, 2019.
Where: Munster High School, 8118 Columbia (Columbia is one block east of Calumet Ave.), Munster, IN.
Tickets: $6
TV/Radio/Internet: All Lowell games can be viewed on the Regional Radio Sports Network web site at https://rrsn.com/.

Enrollment: Munster 1,509, LOWELL - 1,128.

Weather: Remember how it was 88 degrees Monday and Tuesday? Well, we can forget about hot weather for the rest of the year. That’s not how October rolls.

Daytime temperatures Friday are set to be in the upper 50s with a light wind out of the north. We’ll be in the low 50s by the second half.

This is football weather and we can get used to it. We’re 12 weeks from Christmas. It's time for the weather to get cold.


Parking: A massive crowd is not going to be a problem Friday. But this is the final home game for Munster seniors and I believe it is the Homecoming game. So there should be a good-sized group on hand for this one as Lowell has won three in a row. A decent number of Devils fans should head north to watch this one.

If you have ever been to Munster, most football fans will park west of Columbia Ave and walk across the street to the field. You want to give yourself about 15 minutes to get from your car into the visitors' stands.


WHAT'S AT STAKE: Lowell (4-2, 2-0 NCC) wants to win the Northwest Crossroads Conference (NCC) and they will if they win their final three games of the regular season. Munster certainly wants a win. Just one win. Munster began playing varsity football in 1966 and no Munster team has ever gone winless. If you look at the final three games of the Mustang season, it's hard to find a win.



Munster, as I just said, began playing varsity football in 1966. Unlike almost every other program, Munster football was an immediate success, going 8-2 in the ‘66 season. Munster was 9-1 in 1969 and 8-1-1 in 1970.


But in the last couple of years, it's been hard to watch them. I don't know what’s happened. I really don't. Munster was 2-8 last year and they are 0-6 now.

Munster lost games last year 31-0 to Chesterton, 52-0 to Andrean, 49-12 to Hobart and 72-19 to Michigan City. Towns like Munster have pride in the local boys playing sports. Those scores hurt your pride. Before 2017, Munster had seen just nine losing seasons in history. The worst season in the history of Munster football is 3-7 and the Mustangs will not win thee games this year.


It bothers me a little that a proud program like this has apparently hit bottom. But it will turn around. It always does. Programs hit on hard times and it's okay to lose games. Lowell didn't have a winning season for 24 years in a row from 1970 to 1991.

Since 1991, the Devils have won 15 sectional titles, eight regionals and four semistate championships.

Munster will be back and, hopefully, it will be soon.

The 'Distant Replay'...


Lowell rolls over Munster 24-7

Team 1 2 3 4 F
Munster (5-3) 0 7 0 0 7
LOWELL (8-0) 10 7 0 7 24

Friday, October 10, 2008,  60 degrees in  LOWELL, IN

1st Qtr LOWELL (3-0) Matt Berkos, 21-yard field goal. 69 yard drive, 11 plays (after the opening kickoff).
LOWELL (10-0) Brandon Grubbe, 80 yard run. 85 yard drive, 2 plays.  3:28 left
2nd Qtr
LOWELL (17-0) Cody Midgett, 43-yard run.  97 yard drive, 5 plays.  Matt Berkos kick.  7:34 left.
MUNSTER (7-17) Jason Han, 21-yard pass from Joe Gill.  77-yard drive, 5 plays.  5:47 left.

3rd QtrNo scoring.
4th Qtr
LOWELL (24-7) Cody Midgett, 4-yard run.  81 yard drive, 16 plays.  Matt Berkos kick.  10:11 left.


MUNSTER (25 carries, 102 yards) Ben Balasia (HB) 11-70 yards; Joe Torres (HB) 3-19 yards; Aaron Estrada (WB) 3-17 yards;
Jason Han (WB) 3-6 yards, fumble; Joe Gill (QB) 5 (minus-10 yards) 2 sacks-12, fumble.

LOWELL (50 carries, 324 yards) Brandon Grubbe (HB) 29 carries, 209 yards, TD; Cody Midgett (HB) 8-64 yards, 2 TDs;
Bryan DeSomer (FB) 7-33 yards; Nate Cleveland (FB) 3-12 yards; Kurt Monix (QB) 3-6 yards.

MUNSTER - Joe Gill (QB) 5-of-20, 88 yards, TD,  interception;  

LOWELL - Kurt Monix (QB) 6-of-10, 118 yards, 0 TDs, 0 interceptions.

MUNSTER: Ben Balasia (HB) 1 (-2); Justin Gill (WR) 1-8 yards; Jason Han (WR) 1-21 yards, TD; Aaron Estrada (WB) 2-61 yards;
LOWELL: Jake Belt (WR) 2-46 yards; Joe Bell (TE) 1-17 yards, Cody Midgett (WR) 1-12 yards, Bryan DeSomer (FB) 2-33 yards.

MUNSTER - 190 yards, 9 first downs, 2 turnovers;
LOWELL - 442 yards, 13 first downs, one turnover.


LOWELL (10-10-2008) – Let's go back to the "salad days." Eleven years ago, Lowell was 7-0 and Munster was 5-2 and life was good.

Lowell had won the Class 4A state championship in 2005 and gone to the state finals in 2007. Munster was rebounding from a 3-7 season and had won five of their first seven. There was little that was unusual about the game. Lowell was in their prime with future all-stater Brandon Grubbe, future all-area star Cody Midgett, future wrestling state champ Nate Cleveland, future state finalist wrestler and two sport Manchester college star Kurt Monix.
This Munster team would finish at 7-3 and follow that up with a 7-4 record in 2009 and a 7-3 record in 2010.

The Devils?

Lowell would win their first 13 games in 2008 before losing 38-22 at Bishop Dwenger (with present day Cincinnati Bengal NFL star Tyler Eifert) and the Devils would go 13-2 in 2009. From 2005 to 2009, Lowell was 57-16.

Those were the days, right?

If you had told me in 2008 that in the next decade, Lowell would have gone 12-1 in 2015, 9-5 in 2016, 14-1 in 2007, 10-3 in 2018 and 4-2 in 2019, (a record of 49-12) I would have said that’s not possible. Like the old song says, the future ain't what it used to be.

2019 (4A) Munster (0-6)
2-8 (2018) 4-6 (2017) 6-6 (2016), 5-5 (2015)
coach Jason Grunewald (2nd year) 2-14.
Northwest Crossroads games in CAPS

8-23 (L) 7-37 (6A) Lake Central (3-3)
8-30 (L) 0-40 at (6A) Chesteron (4-2)
9-6 (L) 0-16 (4A) East Chicago (4-2)
9-13 (L) 7-69 (4A) Morton (5-1)
9-20 (L) 3-30 at (4A) HIGHLAND (3-3)
9-28 (L) 6-49 at (2A) ANDREAN (3-3)

10-4 (Fri.) vs. (4A) LOWELL (4-2)
10-11 (Fri.) at (4A) HOBART (4-2)
10-18 (Fri.) at (4A) KANKAKEE VALLEY (2-4)

Class 5A Sectional 9
11-1 (Fri) vs. Michigan City (2-4), LaPorte (1-5) or Valparaiso (6-0).




MUNSTER - It's clear that Munster can't run the ball.

In six games the Mustangs have run 122 times for 194 yards and that probably says more about their offensive line than it does about their running backs. Without a running attack, Munster quarterback Nate Eng has had a hard time.

Eng (5-10, 170), a senior, has completed 54 of 134 passes for 513 yards, but he has been intercepted 10 times. The Devils may see backup QB Vince Forrester (5-10, 150) who is 15 of 42 for 93 yards. Junior receiver Nate Poole (5-01, 160) has some speed and he’s caught 11 passes for 100 yards and a touchdown.

There is a reality here. Munster has scored just three touchdowns all season for a grand total of 23 points. What that suggests to me is: Munster, at any moment, could put different players at different positions or they could bring up a JV player.

This is the final home game for Munster seniors and the Mustangs could conjure up one great last effort for the home fans.

It happened last year.

Munster was 1-7 last year going into the final home game, which they won 20-13 over Kankakee Valley.


Lowell should take note of that.

2019 (4A) LOWELL (4-2)
10-3 (2018), 14-1 (2017) 9-5 (2016), 12-1 (2015)
Coach Keith Kilmer (8 years, 78-35) NCC Conference games in CAPS

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

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


LOWELL Update:

LOWELL – This will be Lowell’s fifth road game of the year after last week’s game with Highland was switched from Lowell to Highland due to the weather.

Last week was the best game for the Devils offensive line. Lowell rolled up 216 yards and 16 rushing first downs on 52 carries.

The Devils, who have spent as lot of the season in a three receiver, one back set, went back into the ‘old Lowell playbook’ and rolled out some I-formation runs at Highland. The Devils took a receiver off the field and inserted sophomore fullback Ray Ambassi (5-7, 190) as a blocker in front of either Jeff Wallis (17 carries, 106 yards) or Jacob Chandler (20 carries, 79 yards).

For one day, it worked very well. The Lowell line of sophomore Adam Maleve (5-10, 210) and junior Caleb Miranda (6-3, 215) at tackles, seniors Sam Chandler (5-10, 225) and Nick Bozak (6-0, 185) at guards and senior Trevor Matovina (6-2, 230) at center took over this game in the second half.

The I-formation was a new/old look that future Devil foes will have to prepare for, but with that said, the more time junior quarterback Cam Stojancevich (6-2, 170) gets in action, the more confident he looks running and throwing.

It would seem that, despite a young and somewhat undersized offense, Lowell has multiple formations that they have reason to have confidence in. Lowell is still shorthanded. Leading rusher Ryan Marx (5-7, 155) is still out and I do not know his situation.

But the Devils have won their last three and they looked more in control of the game in the second half at Highland than they have all year.


LOWELL (4-2) at MUNSTER (0-6)

Munster Pete Nicksic Field: capacity 3,000 (est.)



There’s no need to elaborate here. Munster has not been competitive in any game this season. Lowell has wins over Crown Point (3-3) and Highland (3-3). For the record, Lowell was favored by two points over Highland last week and they won by 17.



MUNSTER (10-04-2019) I don't think Lowell was happy with anything but results the last time they faced a winless team. Lowell took on Griffith (now 0-6) in week four and gave up 28 points in a 42-28 victory.

That won't happen this time. The Devils aren't really equipped to run up the score on anybody and they probably have no desire to. I’d love to see rookie quarterback Cam Stojancevich work on the Devils' air game here, but there isn't any need for that.

This is a business trip. Give the Devils 250 yards rushing and five TDs and let's get back on the bus.

LOWELL 35, Munster 0

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Revised: October 03, 2019 .