Football: George Fields suspended but Lowell’s defense shines in sixth straight win
By John O’Malley Star correspondent October 15, 2013 11:50AM
Lowell's Eddie Simmons (left) dives to make an interception past Munster's Zach Pickett in the second quarter during their game held at Munster High School on Friday October 11, 2013. | Charles Mitchell/for Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 15, 2013 12:41PM
MUNSTER — In the biggest game of the year, Lowell’s best player wasn’t even dressed.
That spelled big problems for the Red Devils, right? Wrong.
Even though running back George Fields was suspended Friday afternoon only hours prior to kickoff for undisclosed reasons, coach Keith Kilmer’s Red Devils (6-2, 5-0) never flinched as they won their sixth straight game.
With defensive back Eddie Simmons intercepting two passes and Josh Bottos picking off one, Lowell rode the workhorse effort of junior running back Tyler Hopkins (88 yards on 26 carries) and the play of its stingy defense to a 17-7 Northwest Crossroads Conference win over Munster (5-3, 3-2) Friday night.
“We were definitely upset because we wanted him here, but we had to deal with adversity and overcome that, and we did and we came out victorious,’’ Hopkins said. “I was biting my nails tonight. I wanted to be on that field. I just went out and did what I do and we did what we do. We dealt with the adversity and our defense rose to the occasion.’’
Quarterback Seth Anderson threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Hamm with 3:02 left in the first half to help Lowell tie the game at 7.
Two plays later, Simmons made the first of his two key interceptions to set up a 27-yard field goal by Colton Wilkey, giving Lowell a 10-7 halftime lead.
After a scoreless first period, Munster had taken a 7-0 lead with 10:13 left in the first half on an eight-yard run by Dom Lucito.
Lucito’s TD was set up after Anthony Conroyd picked off Anderson at the Munster 16 and returned to the Lowell 41.
“My first pick was great because it got us points,’’ Simmons smiled. “That was good because it gave us the lead and momentum.’’
Munster opened the second half with Lucito and Jeffery Proctor pounding the ball as far as the Red Devils’ 20-yard line, but a nine-yard loss on a sack of Mustangs’ quarterback, Joe Jumonville was followed by an interception in the end zone by Josh Bottos with 4:42 left in the third period.
After a Lowell punt, Simmons went over the top to intercept a Jumonville pass in the end zone to thwart another Munster scoring opportunity.
With only 2:25 remaining, Lowell sophomore running back Isaac James, who rushed for 52 yards on nine carries, scored from three yards out, giving Lowell a 17-7 cushion.
“This is a huge win for us,’’ Simmons said. “We came in with the mindset that it’s the conference title on the line and we needed to win. Even without our star running back unable to play, we were still able to come in here, play together, and get a big win.’’