Devils hold off Morton in home opener
By Mark Smith firstname.lastname@example.org August 28, 2012 1:56PM
Morton's Eleazar Henderson scored a touchdown in a 26-14 loss to Lowell on Friday, August 24, 2012, in Lowell. | Mark Smith~Sun-Times Media
Lowell 26, Morton 14
MORTON (0-2) 0 - 0 - 7 - 6 === 13
LOWELL (1-1) 13 - 7 - 6 - 0 == 26
8-24-12, 84 degrees in Lowell
LOWELL (7-0) George Fields, 14-yard run. 24 yard drive, four plays after short punt. Kick blocked by Alfredo Valencia. 4:18 left.
LOWELL (13-0) George Fields, 62-yard run. 83-yard drive, 5 plays.
Colton Wilkey kick. :15 left.
LOWELL (20-0) George Fields, 43-yard run. 78-yard drive, 6 plays. Colton Wilkey kick. 3:14 left.
MORTON (20-7) Kendall Huff, 65-yard run. 91-yard drive, 5 plays.
Zack DeWitt kick. 2:46 left.
LOWELL (26-7) George Fields, 45-yard run (7th TD in two games) . 67-yard drive, 6 plays. :00. Bad snap. no kick.
MORTON (26-13) Eleazar Henderson, 1-yard run. 80-yard drive, 11 plays. Zack DeWitt kick. 8:18 left.
RUSHING: MORTON: 29 carries, 191 yards, one TD, no fumbles: Kendall Huff (WB) 14 carries, 148 yards, TD; Jimmy Glidewell (QB) 7-30 yards (one sack - minus-3); Torey Armstrong (QB) 3-6 yards; Eleazar Henderson (HB) 5-7 yards LOWELL: 45 carries, 3-6 yards, 4 TDs, no fumbles: Bryan Thomas (QB) 10 carries, 19 yards (one sack - minus 6) Nick Hamm (FB) 3-21 yards, Mitch Leckrone (TE) 1-3 yards; Tyler Hopkins (HB) 2-3 yards; George Fields (HB) 29-260 yards, 4 TDs (2-game totals: 53 carries, 451 yards, 7 TDs)
PASSING: MORTON: Jimmy Glidewell (QB) 9-24, 147 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs; Torey Armstrong (QB) 1-1, 21 yards; Nate McClurg (WR) 0-1.
LOWELL: Bryan Thomas (QB) 2-4, 24 yards.
RECEIVERS: MORTON: Eleazar Henderson (RB) 6-88 yards; Nate McClurg (WR) 4-85 yards; LOWELL: Paul Mauer (FB) 1-11 yards; Tyler Hopkins (HB) 1-13 yards.
TURNOVERS: MORTON: 0; LOWELL 0
KICKING: Zack Dewitt (MORTON) 2-2 extra points; Colton Wilkey (LOWELL) 2-for-3, one blocked.
WEEK TWO QUESTIONS
1. Is George Fields going to gain 200 yards every week?
No. But it’s not a silly question. Teams like Hobart, Griffith and Andrean are going to create more of a rush defense challenge than Morton could, but teams like Hammond and Highland may not. Fields (43 carries, 451 yards, 7 TDs) has not been playing on defense and if Lowell can avoid that, it will help his numbers as the season goes on. Lowell’s halfback always gets 20-30 carries a game. That’s not going to change.
2. What team looks toughest on Lowell’s schedule now?
Kankakee Valley has imporved. Andrean is strong. But the answer is Griffith. I think New Prairie’s 14-7 win at Griffith last week says more about New Prairie than it does about the Panthers. Griffith has the option running-passing combination that could give Lowell major problems. The Devils have gone against conventional passers the first two weeks and they see a pure wishbone from KV in week three. Andrean, KV and Hobart have a lot to say to Lowell but Austin Brown and Griffith will be their toughest test.
3. Is Lowell’s passing attack making an impact yet this season?
No. But the Devils did complete 2-of-4 passes and a third completion was called back by a penalty. I’m waiting for Lowell to put top rushing back George Fields in the slot and see what the defense does. The Devils also have some tall tight ends that they will eventually use in the pass game near the goal line. That’s somewhat of a Lowell tradition.
4. Lowell hasn’t scored a point in the fourth quarter in two weeks. A problem?
Yes. Lowell’s “pitching (pitch sweeps) and defense” style demands that they impose their will on the opposition late in the game. They certainly have not done that in the first two weeks on offense and I’m guessing its because so many boys are starting for the first time. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Lowell won’t be dominated the rest of the season as they were dominated by Morton in the fourth quarter. Not by anyone. Not again. This problem is correctable and I think you can count on Lowell’s coaches to make an issue of this.
5. Who was the unsung hero in week two for Lowell?
Senior co-captain Spencer Kersey. At center, he had to bump with Morton nose tackle Darius Niuamoa (6-5, 380), the biggest player he will see all year. Then, when punter Aaron Hamm was hurt late in the game, Kersey stepped in as the back-up punter and, against an all out rush, booted a 40-yarder out of bounds at the Morton 5-yard-line.
Updated: August 29, 2012 12:58PM
LOWELL — It was a must win game for Lowell and they played like it in the first half, grabbing a 20-0 lead against Morton last Friday night.
The Governors, a three-time defending sectional champion, were lucky they were still in the game at halftime down on Route 2.
But Morton turned the game around in the third quarter and held Lowell without a first down in the final period. The Red Devils were lucky the game didn’t last another 12 minutes.
Lowell’s 26-14 victory over Morton in 80-degree heat was a game you think the better team won but you’re not sure.
“We learned how to win a game,” said Lowell’s third year coach Keith Kilmer. “Now we have to learn how to close one out. We needed to win the second half and we didn’t. They came back and fought. If we played another quarter, you’d be talking to the winning coach over there (on the Morton sidelines).
“They really wanted it in the end and we didn’t finish. That’s growing pains for us. We’ll get there.”
The game began as a Lowell rout.
The Devils’ (1-1) special teams boosted them in the first quarter as junior Aaron Hamm’s 48-yard punt rolled out of bounds at the Morton 2-yard line after Lowell’s first possession. The Devils stopped Morton on three plays and Alfredo Gutierrez’ punt sliced out of bounds at the Morton 24-yard line.
Lowell quickly scored as halfback George Fields took a handoff off left tackle 14 yards for the score with 4:18 left in the first period.
Morton gained 45 yards on a pass in the flat to speedy senior receiver Nate McClurg, but QB Jimmy Glidewell’s passes were incomplete on third and fourth down from the Lowell 17.
The Devils scored again five plays later as Fields (5-10, 172) took a pitchout around left end and ran away from the defense 62 yards for his second TD of the game 15 seconds before the end of the first quarter.
Morton, which gained over 500 yards in a season-opening 42-35 loss to Griffith, found their offense in halfback Eleazar Henderson (6-0, 190) in the second quarter as Glidewell (6-1, 190) started zipping short passes to his senior halfback lining up in the slot position.
Gains of 26 and 14 yards moved the Governors into Lowell territory but again, the Devils’ pass defense forced a couple of in completions inside the Lowell 30 yard line.
Lowell drove for a third rushing TD and again it was Fields, who scored three times in Lowell’s 28-21 season-opening loss to CP. The Lowell halfback broke off left tackle and raced 43 yards to the goal line to make it 20-0 at the half.
Fields continues to produce big yards, an unofficial 19 carries for 260 yards after 191 yards on 24 carries in week one.
The Devils offense has been built around the tailback for two decades and they almost can’t win when the feature back doesn’t get four yards a carry.
But ten yards (451 yards on 43 carries) a carry? And seven TDs?
“They brought 11 guys inside the tackles and I guess we did, too,” said Kilmer, who is breaking in four new offensive line starters this month.
“Its just a matter of will. You saw his vision. I don’t know if we blocked all that great but it was good enough. He (Fields) has the vision to see the hole.”
But let the record show (if the scoreboard didn’t) that it all turned around after halftime.
Except for a 45-yard run by Fields on the final play of the third quarter when Morton assumed Lowell would let the clock run out, the Governors got stronger as the game ran longer.
“We have a lot of depth,” said Morton coach Roy Richards, “but our big guys get tired and we have to get them off the field. That’s the second game in a row we’ve come on from the start of the second half. I saw a good, physical football team out there in the second half.
“I think our concentration puts us in a hole. A lack of ability to focus.
“We didn’t change plays in the second half. They didn’t change their defense. We see it in practice. We turn it on and then we’re impressed. We have to do it from the start.”
Lowell did not gain a first down in the fourth quarter and was forced to punt three times. Morton out-gained the Devils 145-10 in the final quarter but they had fallen too far behind.
DEVIL NOTES: Lowell’s 45-yard touchdown on the final play of the third quarter was a subject of controversy afterwards.
With 22 seconds left in the quarter, the 25-second play-clock was started by the referees. Lowell did not have to run a play as the quarter would end before the play-clock ran out. You have 25 seconds to start the next play once the ref puts the ball on the ground.
The Lowell offense just stood looking at the sidelines as if waiting for the quarter to end. Morton recognized that the quarter would end before the play clock did and their boys started to walk towards the sidelines to get water on a hot night and get set for a crucial series.
Seeing that, Lowell coach Keith Kilmer told QB Bryan Thomas to run a play, a handoff to George Fields which easily broke loose for a 45-yard TD as the Morton defense scrambled back to cover up.
The Devils led 26-7 after three quarters in a game in which Morton dominated the fourth quarter. Governors’ coach Roy Richards was not happy with Lowell for running that play when they knew the Morton boys assumed the quarter had ended.
“I would never do that to a friend of mine,” said Richards, who was visibly upset. “He’s a good guy but sometimes you have to ask yourself how important it is to win a football game.
“I guess he asked and answered. It was hot and their kids started to go off to get water. Our kids came off to get water. And then they run a play. I have a lot of respect for those guys but I would not have done that to them.”
Lowell coach Keith Kilmer said he just wanted to clinch the much-needed victory.
“They can score at any time,” he said. “They’re so potent. I didn’t want to do that, but when you get in the game, the game takes over. Nobody feels worse about scoring that way than I do. Especially on Roy Richards. He’s a class guy. I wish I hadn’t done it.”
The loss for Morton was only their eighth in the Governors last 42 games and they are 0-2 for the first time since 2008.
The only time Morton, which was 11-2 in 2011, did not score two touchdowns in a game last season was the 13-6 win over Lowell.
Morton’s best play was what they call a counter play where the quarterback hands off to man in motion. It’s something future Lowell foes may try.
“We balance the defense up,” said Richards. “He (QB Jimmy Glidewell) calls that at the line. We told them at the half, they are challenging us to run the ball. In the first half, they were getting off the blocks and then we blocked it.
“We made a statement physically. It was big for us to do that and not scheme up something that would trick somebody. We were physical.”