Football: Andrean tops Lowell to finish undefeated
By Steve T. Gorches 314-3797 or firstname.lastname@example.org October 22, 2013 1:16PM
Andrean's Jamie Johnson (16) celebrates with teamates after making juggling catch for a touchdown on the last play of the seond quarter against Lowell during their game held at Lowell High School on Friday October 18, 2013. | Charles Mitchell/for Sun-Times Media
LOWELL — Two plays. That’s all Friday night’s Northwest Crossroads Conference championship game came down to, according to Lowell coach Keith Kilmer.
He was likely correct since the final score between Andrean and the host Red Devils — both undefeated in NCC play heading into the game — was 42-28 with the 59ers winning a second straight conference crown.
And those two plays were back-breakers when Lowell faithful at the Inferno thought their team was on the precipice of turning the contest around.
The first play was at the end of the first half after the Red Devils (6-3, 5-1 NCC) cut the Andrean lead to 21-14 with 56.6 seconds remaining. The 59ers looked content to run out the clock, but an offsides penalty on Lowell on a third-and-2 with about 21 seconds left gave Andrean free plays.
As time expired, one of those free plays turned into six points as quarterback Matt DeSomer threw long to Jamie Johnson, who bobbled the pass after Lowell defender Aaron Hamm deflected it, secured the ball and leaped over another defender for a 62-yard touchdown.
“That was Matt making a great throw and Jamie making a great play,” Andrean coach Phil Mason said.
Of course, the other coach has a slightly different take.
“The kid got behind Aaron, who got a hand on it, and we missed a tackle,” Kilmer said.
Still, the Red Devils were down 14 to the 59ers early in the game after Trevor Berg first two rushing touchdowns of the game, and they came back.
But on the first possession of the third quarter, Andrean (9-0, 6-0) converted on fourth down twice. The first was on fourth-and-3 at the 59ers’ own 48-yard line when Berg ran for 7 yards. The second was actually from further back on fourth-and-16 when DeSomer dropped back to punt. He bobbled the snap just a little, then took matters into his own hands by running straight ahead for 48 yards and a first-and-goal. Three plays later it was DeSomer keeping it for a touchdown and a 35-14 lead.
“I’m not going to tell you,” Mason joked when asked if that fake was a planned play. “He saw the rush and took off. If Matt DeSomer isn’t the best player in the northern half of the state, I don’t know who is.”
You can’t argue with the numbers. On Friday, he finished with 172 yards rushing on 27 carries, and also made just seven completions count for 177 yards passing. That brings his season totals to 1,468 yards through the air and 1,190 on the ground.
“It came down to two plays,” Kilmer said, focusing on the second debilitating play in the third quarter. “We had them on the fake punt and all of a sudden the ball is on the 5-yard line.”
In his return to the lineup after being suspended for a game and two series on Friday, Lowell running back George Fields had 132 yards rushing and all three of the Red Devils’ offensive touchdowns. Lowell also added a 94-yard kickoff return from Eddie Simmons with 4:20 left in the game.