Lowell football preview
August 28, 2012 1:56PM
Lowell players during a timeout on Friday, August 24, 2012, in Lowell. | Mark Smith~Sun-Times Media
Lowell red devils
Coach: Keith Kilmer, 12-10 (3rd year) NW Crossroads games in CAPS
Aug. 17 21-28 at CP (2-0)
Aug. 24 40-26 Morton (0-2)
Aug. 31 KAN. VALLEY (2-0)
Sep. 7 at GRIFFITH (1-1)
Sep. 14 at HIGHLAND (1-1) Sep. 21 HOBART (1-1)
Sep. 28 at Hammond (1-1)Oct. 5 MUNSTER (0-2)
Oct. 12 at ANDREAN (1-1)
Class 4A Sectional 10 with South Bend schools Clay, Riley and Washington plus New Prairie, Kankakee Valley, Hobart and Mishawaka
Updated: August 29, 2012 12:58PM
AT A GLANCE
Kankakee Valley (2-0) @ LOWELL (1-1)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: at Lowell (capacity: 2,500)
Tickets: $6 each
TV/Radio: WTMK (88.5) FM
Weather: Temperatures are predicted to reach 90 degrees again Friday. Clear and dry. That means mid-80s by game time. A lot of these boys practiced in 100-degree heat over the summer but you don’t get used to it, you just survive it. This time of year on clear days the temperature drops quickly after dark.
Parking: Unless the heat keeps them home, there should be a good-sized crowd from Jasper County. KV hasn’t been 3-0 since 1995 and their people are behind them.
Last season: Lowell won 36-14 at KV and they lead the all-time series 20-2. Lowell has won 18 games in a row from KV going back to a 28-27 KV victory in Lowell on Sept. 21, 1984.
Enrollment: Lowell, 1,296; Kankakee Valley, 1,147
What’s at stake: This is a Northwest Crossroads Conference game and it is played for the Milk Can, a traveling trophy that refers to the rural nature of Lowell and DeMotte and Wheatfield (KV’s two home towns). It’s a traveling trophy that has never traveled. After not playing for a few years Lowell and KV got back together in the early 90s and ‘the Can’ became the symbol of the matchup. But KV hasn’t beaten Lowell in 26 years so ‘the Can’ has never stayed in Jasper County.
Kankakee Valley High School is a 1970 consolidation of DeMotte and Wheatfield high schools, which each go back before World War II. There are pictures online of a DeMotte Public School in 1920 but almost 100 years ago, it’s difficult to determine what was “high school.”
Both DeMotte and Wheatfield high played some 8-man football, which small schools played due to lack of manpower in the middle of the 20th Century.
KV has not won a football sectional title in 27 years and they’ve never won a regional, so there’s a lot of motivation to win here.
The move of former ace Lowell defensive co-ordinator Brad Stewart to KV last season has lifted the Kougars hopes, who have scored 109 points in the first two weeks. They scored 108 in the entire 2011 rrgular season.
KV is still trying to upgrade to playing Munster, Andrean and Griffith every year in football. It’s been slow (12-41 overall in 6 seasons since joining those schools in league play in what is now the Northwest Crossroads Conference) but it may be coming now.
KV is a sleeping giant. DeMotte has a million-dollar middle school athletic complex that is superior to what CP and Merrillville have at the middle school level. KV is the outcast in the NCC because it is so far south. I do not think the Kougars have won the conference title on any team sport since joining the NCC.
But that day is coming.
Probably sooner than later.
Respect your foe
When the team you are playing has never defeated your school in your lifetime, there might be a tendency to overlook them when a big rival (Griffith) is on the schedule the following week. Lowell wants to win its league and its sectional but watch out.
KV may just want to beat Lowell.
What else can you do?
Lowell’s George Fields has 444 yards on 52 carries (7 touchdowns) in two games. KV’s Tyler Birky (6-2, 215) has 449 yards on 42 carries (9 TDs) in two weeks. Both boys will run the ball a lot and both sides know it. But this matchup begs for reverses and misdirection plays that use the “main man” as a decoy.
Throwing the ball
It’s not Lowell’s strength but Rensselaer QB Hunter Hickman completed 11 of 16 for 176 yards on KV. Lowell has allowed 400 yards passing in two games. A couple of well-aimed and well-timed tosses could put one side over the top.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN
Neither side wants to throw the ball much so this will be a quick game. George Fields has scored every TD for Lowell so far this year but that comes to an end when Bryan Thomas scores on a QB option run in the sceond quarter.
KV ties the game with a Tyler Birky run before halftime and George Fields gives the Devils a lead with a long kickoff return TD.
This will be a defensive struggle with Colton Wilkey’s first field goal upping the lead to 17-7 early in the fourth quarter.
I’m seeing a turnover-filled game that ends with a scoreless final period.
These teams won’t vary from their strong running attacks and both sides will play conservatively. You have to throw the ball against Lowell and Kankakee Valley hasn’t shown they can do that.
But save the tape. KV probably isn’t ready for this one after playing two 2A teams. If they meet again in November it might be different.
LOWELL 20, Kankakee Valley 7