MISHAWAKA | Lowell’s Red Devils found it difficult to handle a pounding rain and muddy field conditions in Class 4A high school football sectional action Friday night at Mishawaka.
But it was even tougher for Lowell to handle a Maroon Typhoon wearing the number 11.
Mishawaka quarterback Sam Schrader caught a touchdown pass, ran for a touchdown, set up a touchdown with a run on a fake punt and threw for a touchdown – two of only four total completions on a messy night. The versatile Cavemen all-state candidate helped Mishawaka swamp Lowell for a 27-0 victory in the opening round of the state tournament.
Mishawaka, winner of five games in a row, takes a 7-3 record to Hobart (8-2) next Friday for second-round sectional action. Lowell’s season is over at 5-5.
"They came out and punched us in the mouth," Lowell coach Keith Kilmer said of Mishawaka’s front line. "They did it last year. We knew what they were going to do."
Lowell only managed 98 yards rushing and four yards passing.
"We tried to loosen it up at the end," Kilmer said. "We tried to throw the ball. That’s not our forte. It got uglier and uglier from there."
Mishawaka passed only twice in the first half, scoring each time.
Schrader turned into a receiver to help the Cavemen strike on their first possession. Schrader took the snap on a fourth-and-five and tossed the ball to Matt Carver. Schrader then ran a route to the left side unnoticed by Lowell.
Carver certainly noticed, firing a strike to Schrader for a 26-yard TD.
On Mishawaka’s second drive, Schrader did the passing, hitting Angelo Multari in stride for a 29-yard TD. Daniel Blackford’s point-after kick gave the Cavemen a 14-0 lead with 2:53 left in the first quarter.
Schrader’s five-yard gain on a fake punt set up Mishawaka’s third touchdown, a 40-yard run by Carver off of a pitch by Schrader. Carver put a wicked move on a Lowell defender at the 30 and had a clear alley to the end zone, putting the Cavemen on top, 20-0, with 2:21 left in the third quarter.
Mishawaka’s final punch to Lowell’s gut was a stunning 39-yard TD run by Schrader with 7:28 left in the fourth quarter. Schrader ran a bootleg to the left side, accelerating after he turned the corner.
Sprinting inside the five-yard line, Schrader dove into the end zone just ahead of hot pursuit by the Red Devils to plunge the dagger into Lowell’s playoff hopes.
Mishawaka’s field, a quagmire in the middle, hurt the run-oriented Red Devils.
"Everybody says, 'Running teams, they love the mud,'" Kilmer said. "I disagree, and (Mishawaka coach Bart Curtis) would disagree. You can’t get a push up front. You can’t move it. You have to rely on the trick plays."
Nathan Oswalt’s three tackles for losses, an interception by Preston Maxfield and Trey Stoops’ fumble recovery spearheaded the Cavemen effort on defense to keep the scoreboard lights on zero for the Red Devils.