Last season: 9-5 (4-2 NCC, semistate finalist)
Returning starters: 15 (six offense, nine defense)
Coach: Keith Kilmer, 51-29 in eighth year at school and overall
Inside the Red Devils
1: The offensive line at Lowell is like the bass player for the Ohio Players: You can't have one without the other. Only two returning starters are back, Bryan Schantz and Cooper Kersey. "We've got guys stepping into roles," Kilmer said. "How well they gel and get physical up front will be key. Caleb Bergstrom and Diamond Artman are two seniors expected to do the dirty work up front. Remember, though, the Red Devils started the year 2-4 last season before changes were made on the line. "We want them to come together as soon as they can," Kilmer said. "We're finding the right pieces and sometimes it's a process."
2: Ethan Igras came out of nowhere last season as a sophomore quarterback who could throw a little bit. He went 7-1 and in his only loss was against NorthWood in the Class 4A semistate with less than a minute to play. "He's good," Kilmer said. "Maybe a little more confident now. We've got some athletes, some kids we can utilize. We're going to expand our offense and hope it will pay off this year."
3: Most everyone knows about Jordan Jusevitch, The Times Defensive Player of the Year last season, who committed to play at Indiana. But Kilmer believes that senior Jaeger Gill has gotten lost in Juice's shadow a little bit. Gill is a tremendous DB and wide receiver, who can run the ball, too. "He doesn't get mentioned as much as Jordan," Kilmer said. "But I think he can match Jordan's impact."
4: You know your program has reached a high place when current players are compared to former stars from the town. Junior defensive end and tight end Blake Jansky reminds Kilmer of former Devil Jeff Barker, who went on to play at Ball State. "Blake isn't as tall as Jeff and he might be a little undersized for a defensive end," Kilmer said. "But he's mean and tough. His motor never stops, a great athlete. That's what allows him to play that position."
5: Being so close to Lucas Oil Stadium last November was tough, losing to NorthWood 21-14 in the semistate, with a late lead. The slow start factored into it, Kilmer believes, as his talented team had to learn what it was all about. "We learned a valuable lesson last year," he said. "They came in last year thinking they were the top dogs. They weren't mentally ready. We just have to test each other every day and build toward the postseason." Lowell has won three straight sectional titles, but hasn't reached state since 2009.
— Steve Hanlon