Lowell finishes regular season
on 3-game winning streak
with 35-21 win
at Andrean

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith


Lowell's Jordan Jusevitch (6) tries to catch Andrean QB Patrick Reardon (3) on this 50-yard run. Jusevitch and Jaeger Gill tackled Reardon at the five yards line, but he fumbled and Andrean's Emilio Starks picked the ball up and scored the 59ers' first touchdown of the game. (All photos by Mark Smith)
Junior lineman Cooper Kersey (76) gets a good push on Andrean's Aaron Clarkson (38) in support of this running play. The Devils gained an unofficial 257 yards on 50 carries Friday night.
Lowell's Trevor Espravnik (13) finds himself in the end zone in first quarter action Friday night. Espravnik scored his 14th and 154th touchdowns of the season.
Lowell QB Ethan Igras (16) hands off in third quarter play. The Devils are 3-0 since Igras has been inserted as the starting QB for the Devils.
Lowell's Mitch Wildman (24) reaches to grab a key fourth down pass in the fourth quarter last week at Andrean. Wildman has scored four receiving TDs in the last four weeks.
Lowell's Jordan Jusevitch (6) and Austin Giordano (11) try to open a hole for Trevor Espravnik (13) at Andrean last Friday. Espravnik went over the 1,000 yards mark for the season in Lowell's ninth game.
Lowell defensive end Blake Jansky (44) grabs Andrean QB Patrick Reardon (5) late in Friday's game. Jansky had two QB sacks in the fourth quarter.
Lowell's Jordan Jusevitch (6) celebrates after his 13-yard fourth quarter TD run put Lowell ahead by 14 points in the final two minutes.
Andrean players enter the field through the big 'Niner' helmet on Senior Night' last Friday in Merrillville.
Lowell QB Ethan Igras (16) returns the ball to the referee as time runs out in Friday's game. Lowell won their third consecutive game 35-21 over the 59ers at Andrean.
Lowell's Jaeger Gill (2) caught a second quarter TD pass and grabbed a fourth quarter interception as the Devils won for the third week in a row. (Photos by Mark Smith)
Copyright 2016 USA-365.com and Meyer Multimedia Services, a division of Meyer Broadcasting Corp.  All rights reserved.
Revised: October 17, 2016 .
Team 1 2 3 4 F
LOWELL (5-4) 7 14 7 7 35
ANDREAN (4-5) 7 0 7 7 21

Friday, October 14, 2016 -  57-degrees, dry & clear, Northwest Crossroads Conference in MERRILLVILLE, IN

1st QtrLOWELL (7-0) Trevor Espravnik, 1-yard TD run. Jake Post kick. 81-yard drive, 8 plays. 5:19 left
ANDREAN (7-7) Emilio Starks, 5-yard run with fumble after 30-yard run by Patrick Reardon. 64 yard drive, 6 plays. Chris VanEekeren kick. 2:31 left.

2nd QtrLOWELL (14-7) Jaeger Gill, 55-yard pass from Ethan Igras. 81-yard drive, 7 plays. Jake Post kick. 11:50 left.
LOWELL (21-7) Mitchel Wildman 5-yard pass from Ethan Igras. 51-yard drive, 4 plays. Jake Post kick. 3:18 left.

3rd QtrANDREAN (21-14) Deonte Kelly, 47-yard pass from Patrick Reardon. 79-yard drive, 10 plays. Chris VanEekeren kick. 3:41 left.
LOWELL (28-14) Trevor Espravnik. 12-yard run. 64-yard drive, 12 plays. Jake Post kick. 11:08.

4th Qtr: ANDREAN (28-21) Mike Mantel, 30-yard pass from Patrick Reardon. 71-yard drive, 4 plays. Chris VanEekeren kick. 10:10 left.
LOWELL (35-21) Jordan Jusevitch, 13-yard run. 62 yard drive, 11 plays. Jake Post kick. 1:47

LOWELL (50 carries, 257 yards, 3 TDs, no fumbles) Trevor Espravnik (HB) 33 carries, 158 yards, 2 TDs, Jordan Jusevitch (HB) 1 carry, 13 yards, TD; Jaeger Gill (WR) 6 carries, 20 yards, Ethan Igras (QB) 6 carries, 46 yards; Austin Giordano (FB) 4-20 yards.

ANDREAN (28 carries, 126 yards, TD) Patrick Reardon (QB) 13 carries, 71 yards; Teely Rhyne (HB) 8-21 yards, Zsack Merrill (QB) 4-12 yards, Evan Satoski (FB) 2-17 yards; Emilio Starks (WR) 1-5 yards, TD/

LOWELL : Ethan Igras (QB) 7 of 13, 171 yards, 2 TDs, no interceptions;
ANDREAN: Patrick Reardon (QB) 16 of 23, 247 yards, 2 TDs, one interceptions, Zack Merrill (QB) 1 of 3, 10 yards.

LOWELL: Mitch Wildman (TE) 4-95 yards, TD, Jaeger Gill (WR) 3-76 yards;
ANDREAN: Deonte Kelly (WR) 7-85 yards, TD; Teely Rhyne (HB) 3-87 yards, Joe Rycerz (TE) 2-20 yards, Mike Mantel (WR) 2-42 yards, Emilio Starks (WR) 2-23 yards, Adam Maluchnik (WR) 1-1 yard,

LOWELL: 428 yards, 18 first downs, 0 turnovers;
ANDREAN: 378 yards, 13 first downs, 1 turnover.

Jaeger Gill (LOWELL).

Fumble recoveries:

Jaeger Gill (LOWELL).

MERRILLVILLE (10-14-2016) One week before the state tournament begins, you'd like to have a good, spirited warmup.

Friday's regular season ending Lowell-Andrean game was a little more than that. In a game that produced over 800 yards of total offense and eight touchdowns, the Devils and 59ers raced up and down the field on a perfect fall night with Lowell winning the track meet, 35-21.

"Love it," said Lowell coach Keith Kilmer. "Two proud programs going at it. I remember when (former Andrean, present Michigan City head coach) Phil Mason was here. We always used to say, 'It's the last game of the season. Let's take it easy.' But we never did. I'm glad we're moving it."

Because of Griffith leaving the Northwest Crossroads Conference (NCC), all NCC members' schedules change in 2017 and the Devils won't play Andrean seven days before the state tournament.

So if the Lowell-Andrean games are like this, both sides will have some time to recover.

Lowell (5-4) never trailed on this night, but they were never comfortably ahead until the final minutes. Andrean's spread offense, led by senior quarterback Patrick Reardon (17 of 256, 257 yards), kept a very good Lowell defense on the run. But the surprise here was, Lowell looking and playing like Andrean, with soph QB Ethan Igras leading a 400-yard multiple offense attack, the likes of which Red Devil fans don't see much.

"I'm just trying to go with it," said Igras, who started for the third week in a row. "Everybody's playing well. We're on a roll."

Lowell had 12 possessions. Two times, the clock ran out in the second and fourth quarter. Five times, they punted. Five times they scored touchdowns.

Senior halfback Trevor Espravnik carried 33 times for an unofficial 158 yards, giving him 164 carries for 1,050 yards and 15 TDs. Espravnik became Lowell's 21st 1,000-yard rusher in the last 24 seasons.

Igras rushed six times for 46 yards and was 7 of 13 passing for 171 yards with TD tosses of five yards to tight end Mitchell Wildman and 55 yards to junior end Jaeger Gill. Even some of the Lowell folks seemed a little surprised at the 21st century Devils' attack.

"When the running works, the play action pass is there," said Kilmer, who always says he wants to develop more of a pass attack than what Lowell has traditionally won with. "Everybody had a part in it. Give the quarterback a lot of credit. Give the line credit. Give the running backs credit."

And Give Wildman a little credit. He's caught four TD passes in four game and he's found a way to clip off the line and find space to be a pass catching threat.

"It's not me," Wildman said. "It's the line and the running back and the quarterback. When they're going good, the play-action (run fakes) works and I'm open."

On Lowell's second possession Espravnik had runs of 18 and 13 yards before Igras broke loose for 35 yards to the Andrean 5-yardline.

Two plays later, Espravnik scored from a yard out to make it 7-0. Andrean came right back when Reardon broke loose for 30 yards on an option run and was dragged down by Gill and Jordan Jusevitch at the Lowell 5-yard-line. As he was going down, Reardon fumbled, but 59er wide receiver Emilio Starks scooped it up and scored to tie the game.

On the first play of the second quarter, Igras tossed a sideline pass to Gill, who broke a tackle and raced to the end zone for a 55-yard score. Two possession later, Igras found Wildman open for a 43-yard pass-run play to the Andrean 8-yard-line. Two plays later, Igras rolled out to his right and threw back to his left to Wildman for the TD to make it 21-7.

The 59ers, who average 30 points a game, came right back with a 37-yard screen pass from Reardon to 1,000-yard rusher Teely Rhyne down to the Red Devil 14-yard-line. But Gill blocked a 25-yard field goal attempt and the Devils led 21-7 at the half.

Andrean's second possession of the third quarter moved the ball 79 yards with a well-thrown 47-yard pass down the visitor's sidelines from Reardon to Deonte Kelly to cut the lead to 21-14 with 3:41 left in the third quarter.

The 59ers tried an onside kick, but the Devils covered it at their own 34 and drove the length of the field again. Espravnik's second TD of the night and his 15th of the season put Lowell up 28-14 with 11:08 left in the game.

Andrean, which scored 52 against Bishop Noll, 55 against Hobart and 52 against Highland, just kept coming. Reardon flipped a screen pass to Rhyne for 40 yards to the Lowell 31. Two plays later, Reardon lobbed a deep pass down the visitor sideline to Mike Mantel. It did not appear than Mantel caught the ball, but the game referees ruled he did. The 30-yard TD cut the lead to 28-21 with 10:10 still to go.

Lowell punted three plays later and another controversial play went Lowell's way. A deep sideline pass by Reardon to Kelly was intercepted by Gill at the Red Devil 38-yard-line.

Not everybody on the home side thought Gill was inbounds when he caught it, but Lowell got the call with 6:56 to play. The Devils then drove 62 yards on 11 plays with Jordan Jusevitch sweeping left end for the clinching TD with 1:47 left. "Six weeks ago," said Kilmer, "we'd have lost this one. It was up and down the field. But we are more solid now. We have more composure now."

Lowell was 0-2 and 1-3 in September and, while they have come from 0-2 or 1-3 to win sectional championships in 2005, 2006 and 2014, the present boys only know they were 12-0 last year. Doubt would have been understandable.

"I don't know of anyone on our team that thought we weren't good," said Wildman. "We had a lot of faith in each other that we'd be alright. We knew we were pretty good."

DEVIL NOTES: If Andrean's next quarterback is already on the roster, he is sophomore Zack Merrill (6-0, 190), who replaced senior Patrick Reardon temporarily in the second quarter when Reardon appeared to have hurt his hand. Merrill is a mobile QB prospect with a strong arm.

The 59ers have just 14 seniors on the 57-man roster. Andrean has 23 sophomores and 17 juniors. Soph kicker Chris Van Eekeren had his only field goal attempt blocked against Lowell, but he displayed 50-yard range in pre-game and halftime warm-ups.

A spark to Lowell's turnaround was the insertion of sophomore Ethan Igras at quarterback ahead of senior Dayton Hornickel. It's very difficult for coaches to replace a senior with a sophomore, but Igras said that Hornickel has been good about it.

"He (Hornickel) helps me," Ethan said after Friday's game. "He'll talk to me when I come off the field and tell me what to do. He really gives me confidence."

Coach: Keith Kilmer, 47-28 in 7th year at school
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} 7:00 pm  sectional
Coach: Chris Skinner, 4-5 in 1st year at school
Aug. 19 at Merrillville {6A}   L   7-35   
Aug. 26 Hammond Noll {2A}  W 56-12   
Sep. 2 at New Prairie {4A}   L 28-38   
Sep. 9 Munster {4A}   L 13-21   
Sep. 16 at Hobart {4A}  W 55-28   
Sep. 23 Highland {4A}  W 52-28   
Sep. 30 at Kankakee Valley {4A}  W 20-  0   
Oct. 7 at Griffith {3A}   L 13-28   
Oct. 14 Lowell {4A}   L 21-35   
Oct. 21 at South Bend St. Joseph {4A} 6:30 pm  sectional

CLASS 4A Sectional Pairings
Gary West [1-7] at Lowell [5-4]
Hammond Gavit [5-3] at Hammond Morton [3-6]
East Chicago Central [7-1] at Munster [4-5]
Hammond Clark [0-9] at Highland [4-5]
South Bend Clay [0-9] at Kankakee Valley [2-7]
South Bend Washington [3-6] at Hobart [7-2]
Andrean [4-5] at South Bend St. Joseph [2-7]
New Prairie [7-2] at South Bend Riley [2-7]