Lake Central dominates Merrillville to win first sectional since 1999
By John O’Malley Post-Tribune correspondent November 1, 2013 11:10PM
Lake Central's Antwan Davis runs the ball wide for a first down.| Shane Cleminson/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 3, 2013 6:12AM
ST. JOHN — The long drought for Lake Central is history and it ended emphatically.
There had been 16 straight losses to Merrillville, 14 years between sectional championships and 11 years since an Indians’ team had beaten the Pirates — until Friday night’s Class 6A, Sectional 1 title game.
Talk about winning a championship in style and being completely dominant, LC was that and more, rolling to a 31-0 dismantling of Merrillville (9-2).
Lake Central hosts No. 1 and unbeaten Penn (11-0) in the Class 6A Regional next week.
The Indians (9-2) made winning their first sectional crown in 14 years look almost too easy.
They used their stingy, hard-hitting, opportunistic defense to pulverize the Pirates’ offense by causing five turnovers — four lost fumbles and a pick six by Alec Olund.
Coach Mike Bork’s defensive crew, led by a man among boys in Gelen Robinson, Logan Lambert, C.J. Lessentine, among others, dominated the game played in a quagmire.
Lake Central’s victory was the largest by any area team over Merrillville since Valparaiso blanked the Pirates 41-0 back in 2001.
“All week long we stressed 17, 17,’’ Robinson said. “We didn’t want it to become 17 (straight losses to them) and I didn’t want to go my senior year without ever beating Merrillville.’’
Thanks to his dominating play — treating Merrillville ballcarriers and quarterback D.J. Wilkins like ragdolls — Robinson and the rest of his fellow seniors don’t have to.
Robinson made two fumble recoveries as LC’s incredible defense made life miserable for Wilkins, running back Bryant Isabell, and all of the Pirates.
“Coach (Brett St. Germain) told me in our pregame and challenged me,’’ Robinson said. “He told me that this (game tonight) is when it has to happen, that I had to step up. I took it personally and in a clear way. I knew I just had to take it to another level. I think I did great and I think my teammates did great.’’
That’s an understatement.
Lambert scored LC’s last TD on a short return following yet another lost fumble by the Pirates, who never managed to get untracked all night long.
Brandon Scott rushed 29 times for 112 yards, using a 51-yard ramble to set up his own 1-yard TD with 6:37 left in the first period.
The Indians added 10 more points in the second quarter to take a commanding 17-0 halftime lead.
Jillian Doan, who scored seven points, booted a 21-yard field goal to make it 10-0, while Antwan Davis caught a 21-yard scoring pass from quarterback Ethan Darter with 6:55 left in the second period to up the count to 17-0.
Olund’s 30-yard pick for a TD in the third quarter a little more than midway through the period, and Lambert’s TD with 3:12 to go, rounded out the scoring for LC.
“We never talked about it (the streak) throughout the whole week,’’ St. Germain said. “They all wanted this game. When you want something badly enough, sometimes you’re able of accomplishing some great things.’’