Week 6 - Football Game of the Week Preview

4A No. 1 Lowell (8-0) at
4A No. 18 Hobart (6-2)

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith



Game time is 7 p.m. for the regular season finale between Lowell and Hobart at the Brickyard on 10th Street in Hobart. (Photo by Mark Smith)

When:  Friday, Oct. 13, 2017.

Where:  Hobart high school, 2211 East 10th Street in Hobart, Ind.

Tickets:  $6.

Kickoff:   7 p.m.
TV/Radio/Internet: WTMK (88.5) FM live coverage, live updates of all local scores all night on WLPR (89.1) FM.

Enrollment: LOWELL - 1,210; Hobart 1,285.

WEATHER: Should be a clear, dry night. With the early sunset, daytime highs in the low-70s should dip down into the low-60s. Very good for the players.

Might want to get to the 'Brickyard' early. Hobart has had a winning season and the fans will show up for their boys. This is an easy fan road trip for Lowell. Normally. Remember, I-65 'summer' construction is still going on and the highway might be down to one lane at some point. Give yourself a few extra minutes.


WHAT's AT STAKE: Hobart (6-2, 3-1 NCC) can tie Lowell (8-0, 4-0 NCC) for the Northwest Crossroads Conference (NCC) championship with a win. Hobart and Griffith split the conference title in 2016. Lowell was the undefeated NCC champ in 2015.

Hobart surely would like to spring into the state tournament off a win over the Class 4A team ranked number one half the season. This could be the final home game for Hobart's seniors since they open the playoff on the road at (South Bend) St. Joseph's. Lowell is also trying to complete an undefeated regular season for the sixth time (2015, 2008, 1993, 1936 and 1935) in school history, an accomplishment for a 4A school that plays a 5A and two 6A schools.
Both sides should be ready to play this one.


HISTORY: Hobart has the history of winning four Class 4A state titles in alternate years in 1987, 1989, 1991 and 1993.
Hobart had not gone deep into the playoffs since that time last season, under seventh year coach Ryan Turley, who played on the '89 state title team and the 1990 state runner-up team, the Brickies won 4A Sectional 10 for the first time in 19 years.

This year was expected to be a rebuilding team, but the Brickies are 6-2 and one win away from a league championship.

There's a lot of similarities between Hobart and Lowell in high school football. Both towns enjoy other sports, but live and die with the local football team. Not only has Hobart won four state titles but they also won 19 consecutive sectionals from 1979 to 1997.

Lowell hasn't won four state championships but the modern day success of Lowell football arguably began with a 28-25 victory over then-defending sate champ Hobart in Lowell on Nov 11, 1994.
Since then Lowell, which did not have a winning season for 25 consecutive years (1968-1992), began 24-year stretch (including 2017) where the Devils have gone 211-85. The Devils also won seven consecutive sectionals from 2003 to 2009.

An indication of the esteem that Hobart football is held. When they built a new school in 2008 and left their iconic stadium, the downtown 'Brickie Bowl' (1938 to 2008), Hobart needed a new name for the new 5,000-seat football field where they'l play Lowell Friday. Hobart's nickname the 'Brickies' comes from brickyards, where bricks were made for construction in another era. One name was obvious but it was taken. It's my understanding that, even though the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway is also called 'The Brickyard', the racetrack agreed to allow Hobart to call its new football field 'The Brickyard' as well. That is a huge honor and it isn't often mentioned.

Hobart (6-2)
10-3 (2016), 5-5 (2015), 3-7 (2014), 5-5(2013)
Coach Ryan Turley (40-33) 7th year
Northwest Crossroads Conference (NCC) games in CAPS

8-18 (L) 21-35 (6A) Chesterton (3-5)
8-25 (W) 34-23 (5A) LaPorte (5-3)
9-1 (W) 49-0 (4A) Gary West Side (2-6)
9-9 (W) 40-0 (4A) East Chicago (3-5)
9-15 (W) 13-10 (OT) at ANDREAN (5-3)
9-22 (W) 34-21 (4A) KANKAKEE VALLEY (3-5)
9-29 (W) 14-7 at (4A) HIGHLAND (3-5)
10-6 (L) 0-7 at (5A) MUNSTER (3-5)
10-13 (F) 4A LOWELL (8-0)

Class 4A Sectional 18
10-20 (F) at (South Bend) St. Joseph's (3-5)
10-27 (F) home vs KV (3-5) or (South Bend) Riley (5-3)

SCHEDULE: Hobart's schedule starts well, but they don't need to be playing Gary West Side anymore. I would guess they are looking for a stronger foe for the third week. East Chicago is a good local nonconference game. I don't think a 4A school wants to get too adventurous after they have already lined up two Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC) teams. With four nonconference games, you want one you know you can win most seasons.

HOBART Update:

I can't tell you what happened to Hobart the last two weeks. The Brickies were averaging 31 points a game through six weeks, but they've scored just 14 points total in the last two weeks. Many times when that happens there's an injury that isn't made public, but with all due respect to Highland and Munster, 14-7 and 7-0 are very surprising scores.

Senior Sam Erlich (5-10, 175), a converted defensive back, has been good news for the Brickies, completing 31 of 71 passes for 434 yards and six TDs, while running the ball 154 times for 1,013 yards and seven more TDs. Junior halfback Sam Valle (5-10, 180) has run 98 times for 670 yards and six TDs.

The wonderfully named Omena Onomakpome (6-2, 175) has caught 10 passes for 124 yards and two TDs. Senior Brock Cooper (5-10, 170) has nine catches for 153 yards. I've wondered all year how Hobart has been winning a year after losing 28 seniors.

The Brickies do have two sophomores, Matt Hylek (5-9, 145) and DJ Lipke (5-9, 165), who have averaged a combined 41.5 yards on 13 kickoffs. The Brickies have allowed just 12.9 points per game defensively, and since the first two games have controlled the ball and limited the other sides' chances.

Hobart described their freshman class as the best in many years. Reportedly last year's Hobart middle school team was undefeated and the No. 1 defense was never scored on. This Hobart team might be better than its statistics indicate.

LOWELL (8-0)
9-5 (2016), 12-1 (2015), 8-5 (2014), 6-4(2013)
Coach Keith Kilmer (8th season, 59-29)
Northwest Crossroads Conference (NCC) games in CAPS

8-18 (W) 27-13 (6A) Crown Point (5-3)
8-25 (W) 20-7 at (6A) Portage (4-4)
9-1 (W) 19-0 at (4A) Morton (6-2)
9-8 (W) 63-6 (3A) Clark (1-7)
9-15 (W) 27-13 at (4A) KANKAKEE VALLEY (3-5)
9-22 (W) 27-0 (4A) HIGHLAND (3-5)
9-29 (W) 28-9 at (5A) MUNSTER (3-5)
10-6 (W) 16-0 (3A) ANDREAN (5-3)
10-13 (F) at 4A HOBART (6-2)

Class 4A Sectional 17
10-20 (F) vs. Gary West Side (2-6)
10-27 (F) at Highland (2-6) or Gavit (3-5)

SCHEDULE: Lowell's schedule worked well for them this season, opening with two 6A schools and Morton (6-2). That's a tough stretch, but it fit this team which had high expectations. The Devils now should benefit from a favorable sectional draw. They will be heavily favored in the first two rounds while Griffith (7-1) and Morton (6-2) do battle in the other half of the 4A Sectional 17 bracket. If I'm reading the bracket correctly, there is no way Lowell's semifinals game with Highland or Gavit would be at home.

LOWELL Update:

Lowell held Andrean to just 63 total yards in a 16-0 win last week. The Devils also fired up the running game with 172 yards on 49 carries against a strong 59er defense. The Devils have allowed just 48 points all season and none in the first quarter. Lowell has nine interceptions, nine fumble recoveries and 15 quarterback sacks.

Offensively Lowell has keyed their offense on the threat of junior stars Jaeger Gill and Jordan Jusevitch and the quarterback Ethan Igas and halfback Tyler Wildman. Wildman and Igras have run the ball 162 times for 797 yards. Gill and Jusevitch have a combined 86 touches on offense.

I'm fairly certain the Lowell coachers would like to get the ball to Gill and Jusevitch more, but the Devils are not as predictable as they were. The time to run a diversified offense is in the post-season when, in theory, you face better defenses. Lowell's 15 pass, 49 rush mix against Andrean was very effective as the game wore on. It will be interesting to see who the Devils feature offensively this week. It isn't as easy to predict anymore.

Senior Mike Hutton kicked the first Lowell field goal of the season last week. Blake Jansky had two sacks to increase his season total to nine and linebacker Robert Miller was in on 11 stops.


4A No. 1 LOWELL (8-0) at 4A No. 18 HOBART (6-2)

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

Sagarin computer ratings:  Lowell by 15

Let the record show that the computer spread was 15 points last week as well and Lowell won by 16. Lowell obviously is favored because they defeated the Munster team that shut out Hobart. The Brickies also lost to a Chesterton team that is 3-5. Lowell's wins over Crown Point and Morton have increased in value as those teams have mounted late season winning streaks.


HOBART (10-13-2017) After a scoreless first quarter, Lowell takes the lead on a run by Tyler Wildman. Hobart immediately ties the game on a kickoff return TD from DJ Lipke.

In the third quarter, the Devils regain the lead on a pass from Ethan Igras to Tyler Wildman. Hobart's offensive problems figure to continue and the Devils score a rushing TD from Igras.

Hobart's offense begins and ends with Sam Erlich who has run 154 times and passed 71 times. It's going to be difficult for the Brickies to find a lot of ways to gain big yards on Lowell.

The Devils finish the regular season at 9-0 for the second time in three seasons.

LOWELL 21, Hobart 7

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Revised: October 13, 2017 .