ST. JOHN | It might not register on a tape measure, yardstick or scale, but Colin Studer grew Friday night.
While the Lake Central defense continued a dominant three-week run, Studer’s increased efficiency on offense was a huge part of Times No. 7 Lake Central’s 23-0 shutout of No. 4 Crown Point on Friday night in Duneland Athletic Conference action.
The sophomore quarterback, who was the backup coming out of camp, went 11-for-24 for 112 yards and two touchdowns passing and ran for 54 yards, mostly in a 20-point first half, to help the Indians (3-1, 2-0) overcome a stout Crown Point defense and win their third straight game.
“He’s making strides, and when we have a young quarterback, that’s what you want to see,” Lake Central coach Brett St. Germain said.
The Indians held tough on defense, and Studer helped them take advantage of Crown Point turnovers and penalties. The 20-0 score at halftime represented Lake Central’s biggest half of offense thus far this season.
“Most of what happened was because the offense worked as a unit,” Studer said. “Our goal was to get better, and we did. Our goal was to play like a DAC offense, and that’s what we did. In the DAC, you need a good D and a good O, and tonight we had that.
“Crown Point is a huge rival, and all week the team’s been pumped.”
Studer entered the game in the fourth quarter of the season opener and has had the reins to the offense ever since then, as senior incumbent quarterback Alec Olund remains out with an injury.
Two of L.C.’s first three drives ended with blocked field goals, but Studer found Antwan Davis for a 2-yard TD pass near the end of the first quarter for the game’s first points. After a touchdown by Brandon Scott (25 carries, 102 yards), Lake Central followed a Crown Point three-and-out with a drive that exemplified Studer’s potential.
On an eight-play, 74-yard drive, Studer completed three of his four pass attempts, punctuated by a 13-yard scoring strike to Jake Turngren. He also ran four times for 35 yards on the drive.
“I definitely had the jitters out of me,” Studer said. “It’s been a rocky (start). I’ve been nervous, I’ve been rocky, and I’ve been OK, but when you win it’s a win.”
Studer, who threw two interceptions and said he took more of a leadership role at practice recently and made sure to study Crown Point’s defense to find vulnerable spots.
Crown Point’s offense did not break 100 yards from scrimmage, even with 32 yards of rushing in the game’s final two minutes. Quarterback Jake Jatis was 6-for-20 passing with two interceptions. The Bulldogs (2-2, 0-2) only fumbled once but turned the ball over on downs twice inside Crown Point’s 25.
Although not as prominent as the growth of Studer, recent walk-on Jorge Trujillo enjoyed an eventful night in his debut as the Lake Central place kicker.
The senior soccer player’s first two field goal attempts were blocked, but he converted his first two PATs and then provided the only points of the second half with a 31-yard field goal with 6:10 to go in the brisk period.
“It was nice for him to get in there,” St. Germain said. “We knew he had a tough mentality.”