LOWELL | Lowell has a storied tradition of a featured running back in its ground-oriented attack.
Only this year, it’s turning into a one-two punch of Tyler Hopkins and George Fields.
The dynamic duo combined for 341 yards rushing and four touchdowns in a 45-14 rout of Griffith on Friday night at the Inferno.
“That’s been my dream to get those two in the backfield because that‘s going to make us awfully tough,” a jubilant Lowell coach Keith Kilmer said. “Tonight we were able to see that, and hopefully that will carry us a lot through the rest of the season.”
Hopkins did most of his damage in the first half, running for 92 yards and a score and added a 49-yard touchdown jaunt early in the third. Fields had TD runs of 68 and 95 yards in the second half on the way to 200 yards rushing.
“We starting to get the hole,” Kilmer said. “Our running backs started to hit the hole, the linemen started to give it to them and that’s the key to our success.”
Lowell (2-2, 2-0 NCC) expanded on a 24-14 halftime edge with three straight touchdowns in the second half.
“It feels really good,” said Fields, who gave the line the credit. “I have (Tyler) backing me up too, so that’s great.
“We have a double threat so it’s really good, and we spread it out.”
Hopkins doesn’t mind sharing the load.
“No, not at all,” he said. “We knew (George) was definitely getting better, and he definitely showed it tonight.”
In the second quarter after Lowell’s Ike Green returned a kick off 83 yards for a touchdown, Griffith’s Justin Green returned the favor. Green ran 95 yards for a score for the electrifying back-to-back kick returns and a 14-14 tie with 7 minutes and 59 seconds left in the second.
The fireworks and Lowell weren’t done in the first half. Josh Bottos took a pitch and raced 61 yards for a TD to put the Red Devils up 21-14 with 5:58 left in the second quarter.
Colton Wilkey booted a 34-yard field goal to put the hosts up 24-14 with 2:04 remaining in the first half.
Griffith (1-3, 0-2) managed just 117 yards rushing, 68 by Green.
“Our coach challenged us to get a shutout in the second half,” defensive tackle A.J. Duerig said.
“Our defense rose to the challenge,” Kilmer said. “I’m awful proud of my team.”
Kilmer was happy to get a second straight win.
“It’s great to get back to .500, and better than that, we’re 2-0 in the conference,” he said.