LOWELL — John Alessia III was the only returning starter on the Lowell offense, but it was on the defensive side of the ball where he came up with the big play Friday.
Crown Point drove the ball 71 yards in under two minutes to score, cutting the Red Devils lead to 21-19. Will Pettit's conversion pass floated toward tight end Ben Uran. Alessia got a hand on it, the ball hit the turf and Times No. 7 Lowell held on to beat the No. 6 Bulldogs 21-19 and retain the Old Leather Helmet.
“He’s a big playmaker, one of our returners and a two-way starter. You expect that out of your seniors,” Lowell coach Keith Kilmer said. “It’s exactly what you expect and he gave us exactly what you wanted. I can’t say enough about him.”
Alessia left the game earlier in the fourth quarter with leg cramps and sat out two defensive series. Kilmer said he was healthy.
CP scored first on an 80-yard drive to open the game, culminating in a 1-yard run by Matt Walters.
Lowell scored the next 21 points, all on Cameron Stojancevich’s arm.
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The junior transfer from Hobart threw touchdown passes to tight end Aaron DuBord and receivers John Alessia III and Bradley Goldsmith in the first half. A pair of Crown Point defenders collided in front of Goldsmith, who took it 83 yards with under two minutes left in the second quarter.
Stojancevich beat out three other players in camp for the starting job.
“Our kids made plays. That’s what you’ve got to do,” Kilmer said. “We talked all summer. We’re talented but inexperienced and confidence goes a long way. We got some confidence early and we hung on.”
Crown Point scored twice in the fourth quarter, including a 12-yard pass from Pettit to Tysen Cazy with 2:37 on the clock. The Bulldogs drove 71 yards in less than two minutes to make that play possible.