MICHIGAN CITY | Aberrant penalties, interceptions and negative plays after negative plays are all typical sights at a Michigan City game in the Duneland Athletic Conference.
The home crowd at Ames Field has seen plenty of them all. Only Friday night was different from the last 17 times.
This time the Wolves were the ones dancing on the turf, shaking their rain-dampened bellies and celebrating a 20-16 win over Times No. 2 Lake Central, ending a 17-game DAC losing streak for M.C. and handing the Indians their first loss of 2012.
“It was amazing,” Michigan City defensive lineman Daniel Lemon said moments after making the game-sealing interception, his second pick of the night.
“I’m speechless right now.”
The Wolves (2-4, 1-3) had just enough big plays in their offensive arsenal to supplement a huge defensive effort by Lemon and the boys up front. L.C. star David Yancey, playing tailback, wildcat quarterback and slot receiver, was held to 94 total yards and a lost fumble on 25 touches. Forty-five of those yards came on a short pass that turned into a touchdown with 7:52 to go in the third quarter and the Indians down 14-7.
“Our front line created pressure and filled the gaps,” Lemon said. “We had to do our jobs, stay in our gaps and believe in ourselves because no one believed in us.”
L.C. place-kicker Tim Ritchie missed the PAT attempt after Yancey’s TD, but he blasted a 37-yard field goal with 1:40 left in the third to give L.C. (5-1, 3-1) a 16-14 lead.
With 7:24 left in the game M.C. sophomore quarterback Ryan Washington threw his third touchdown pass of the game, a 28-yarder to Marquis Martin. A subsequent run failed, but Lake Central went three and out on the next series and fumbled a punt snap to turn it over on downs at the 4-yard line.
L.C. stonewalled a Washington sneak attempt on fourth-and-goal at the 1, but on the ensuing drive the Indians had a false start, a huge loss on a sack and a desperation fling that ended up in Lemon’s arms with about a minute to play.
“We took a lot of momentum from (a 62-41 shootout loss to Merrillville), and the whole week we were going hard,” Lemon said. “We knew the whole week we were going to beat Lake Central.”
Lake Central didn’t help itself. The Indians had 12 penalties for 115 yards. One was an early unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for illegal equipment as several players were inadvertently wearing their wristbands the wrong way. L.C. coach Brett St. Germain received a 15-yard penalty walking off the field at halftime and demanding an answer for an earlier call.
“Anything we didn’t do, I take the blame,” St. Germain said. “We got outplayed and out-coached, and I’m not going to take any credit away from Michigan City. That was a big win for (M.C. coach Mike Karpinski).”
M.C.’s first touchdown came after L.C. had tipped the ball at the goal line, and the second Wolves score, a 75-yard Washington-to-Martin hookup, saw two L.C. defenders fall.
“That’s the way the night goes,” St. Germain said. “When you don’t do things right, sometimes the football gods make you pay.”