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Football: Crown Point digs out of early hole to beat Lake Central

Crown Point's Jake Jatis hands off Tristan Peterstouchdown run during second quarter against Lake Central Friday St. John. | Scott

Crown Point's Jake Jatis hands off to Tristan Peterson on a touchdown run during the second quarter against Lake Central on Friday, in St. John. | Scott R. Brandush~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: November 28, 2012 6:12AM



ST. JOHN — Trailing by two touchdowns in the first quarter, Crown Point didn’t panic against Lake Central in a Class 5A sectional 1 semifinal on Friday night.

Instead, converting a fourth-down stop in LC territory into the go-ahead touchdown, the Bulldogs rallied for a 21-14 win, scoring twice in the fourth quarter.

“To our credit, the kids never felt down,” said Crown Point coach Kevin Enright, whose team plays Merrillville’s in next week’s sectional final.

The pivotal sequence came midway through the fourth quarter. Facing a fourth-and-1 from its 39-yard line, Lake Central (8-3) opted to go for it, and Crown Point (8-3) stuffed Riley Arvanitis with 7:34 left.

Jake Jatis — who rebounded from three first-half interceptions to throw two fourth-quarter touchdowns — then connected with Zach Plesac for a 32-yard gain to the LC 5. And after a 5-yard loss, Jatis hit Plesac on a fade for a 10-yard touchdown with 6:25 left to snap a 14-14 tie.

“It knew it was a risky call,” LC coach Brett St. Germain said of the fourth-down play. “I knew it was a decision that if it didn’t work out, it ultimately could affect the outcome of the game. Philosophically, I trust our kids to make a play.”

Crown Point then held firm. After the Bulldogs took the lead, the Indians had three more possessions — punting, throwing four incompletions (on a drive that started at the CP 43 after Gelen Robinson blocked a punt), and throwing an interception on a desperation pass on their third play after getting possession at their 34 with 17.5 seconds left.

Crown Point held Lake Central — which again played without the injured David Yancey — to 34 yards and one first down in the second half.

“Going into the second half, we didn’t change anything from a scheme standpoint,” Enright said. “We just played our football and executed better.”

In particular, the Bulldogs limited the bruising Arvanitis to 33 yards on nine carries in the second half. He finished with 102 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries. LC quarterback Alec Olund had minus-1 yard in the second half, after he had 73 in the first.

“(Arvanitis is) a big, physical back,” Enright said. “He’s a mismatch for us. We talked all week about how we had to stay low.”

Tristan Peterson had 92 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries for the Bulldogs.

Jatis completed 13-of-23 passes for 142 yards and two touchdowns — the second, a 7-yarder to Tyler Smith, tied the score at 14-14 with 11:17 left in the fourth — and the three picks.

Lake Central scored on the game’s first possession. After Olund ripped off a 54-yard run on a keeper, Arvanitis ran for a 3-yard touchdown.

The Indians made it 14-0 with 5:29 left in the first quarter, taking advantage of a special teams miscue by the Bulldogs. A high punt snap allowed Lake Central to take over at the Crown Point 1, and Arvanitis scored on the next play.

The Bulldogs gained some momentum when Connor Andras came up with an interception, and an Indians personal foul on the play put the ball at the LC 22. On the next play, Peterson scored with 6:23 left in the

second quarter.

“It’s always tough to send a positive message that sinks in when your season ends,” St. Germain said. “We tried to convince the kids all

week, if they really realized how much they accomplished this season.

We had a lot of injuries, even prior to David. … We won games on toughness.

“I’m not crying about injuries, everyone has injuries. But it was hard to get going.”



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