CHESTERTON | As Lake Central took the field for a pivotal fourth-quarter drive, it had 2 yards passing.
Trailing Chesterton 13-7, the prospects of a quick strike seemed remote.
Remote, but not impossible.
John Gbur pulled down a 36-yard toss from Ethan Darter to quickly put the Indians at the Trojans' 25-yard line. Two plays later, Gbur took an 18-yard quick screen to the end zone to tie the game and Jillian Doan's extra point, out of the hold off Gbur, proved to be the difference in a 14-13 Duneland Athletic Conference thriller.
"It looked like (defensive back Jordan Dilosa) was going to tip it," Gbur said. "I just kept my focus. (The touchdown) was blocking. I didn't do anything on that. I told (Doan), 'We're going to need you later. Keep your head up. We've got this.'"
Doan missed a 28-yard field goal earlier in the fourth, but Chesterton's Nate Needham was just wide on a 33-yarder that left the margin within one score, and she got her second chance.
"I was nervous, but the whole team's reaction boosted my spirits," Doan said. "I couldn't have done it without them. I was very relieved I was able to redeem myself."
Chesterton (3-4, 2-3) drove to the LC 39, but couldn't get any closer.
"I told our defense I thought the first half was our worst half of defense I've seen in three years," L.C. coach Brett St. Germain said. "We pride ourselves on making offenses adjust to us based on what we do. We were very reactionary in the first half. Sometimes, it's an ugly win. I told Mark (Peterson, Chesterton's coach), we didn't actually deserve to win, but I've been on the other side of those. We found a way to win, and that's a trait of a great team."
The Trojans took a 13-0 lead early in the second quarter on a 23-yard Jon Horvath run. Earlier, a Tyler Gillespie plunge capped a 78-yard game-opening march. Chesterton outgained LC 161 to 52 in the first half, but lost Avery Beeks to bruised ribs. He didn't play in the second half and the Trojans struggled.
"We felt we were in position to score one more in the first half," Peterson said. "The offense played great. That's probably the best and hardest the defense has played. We had opportunities to make big plays and didn't capitalize, on offense and defense. We had inopportune penalties, and they had opportune plays."
LC (6-1, 5-0) got within 13-7 on a 5-yard Brandon Scott run in the third quarter. He finished with 132 yards.
"We were only on the field for 14 plays in the first half," St. Germain said. "It's hard to get anything established. I told Johnny after last week that he was playing his way out of his position. He was definitely in the doghouse. We put pressure on him. He had a good week of practice. He worked hard and when you do that, usually good things come."