LOWELL — Lowell got some big plays to beat Crown Point for just the second time in the past eight meetings, but the 27-13 win on Friday at The Inferno came with a big assist from its defense.
“We knew we had to rely on them early,” said Lowell coach Keith Kilmer of his veteran defense. “Offensively, we put them in more of a bind than what what we wanted to, but they rose to the occasion and that’s what veteran teams do. It was nice to see veterans step up and play at that level that you expect them to.”
Times No. 1 Lowell (1-0) held No. 10 C.P. to 18 yards rushing to help keep the Dogs at bay.
C.P.’s Ryan Bolda threw for 155 yards, but he was harassed all night and completed 14-of-36 passes. He threw for one score and also tossed an interception.
“We did what we could with what they were throwing at us,” Lowell linebacker Logan Charters said. “We shut down the run against every team. We’ve got a big line and just play where we’re supposed to.”
It was the 111th meeting between the longtime rivals, and C.P. still leads the series 66-43-2.
Lowell took back the Helmet Trophy with its first win in two years over C.P.
“It’s good,” Charters said. “Our coaches were telling us all week we were 1-6 against them these past few years. Now we’ve got it for next year and our little brothers to fight for it and it will be great if we keep it here.”
After C.P. (0-1) cut the deficit to 20-13 on a Tyler Gomez 6-yard run with 3 minutes and 2 seconds left in the third quarter, Lowell answered right back with a long drive to grab back the momentum.
Logan O’Hanlon caught a fourth-and-goal pass from 7 yards out from Payton Schreiber to give Lowell a 27-13 advantage with 7:09 left in the game.
Lowell put two touchdowns on the board with the use of big plays to jump out to a 14-0 lead. Jaeger Gill took the opening kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown and later hauled in a 76-yard pass from Payton Schreiber for another score.
“Obviously, those were killers,” C.P. coach Kevin Enright said. “It’s tough to come back from something like that. They’re huge momentum plays.”
Crown Point finally got on the board when Bolda hooked up with Eric Mahaffey for a 23-yard scoring pass to cut the deficit to 14-7 with 7 minutes and 31 seconds left in the second quarter.
Lowell got most of that back when Jordan Jusevitch took the ensuing kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown to put the Red Devils up 20-7.
Crown Point had a chance to get within a touchdown late in the second quarter when it recovered a fumble deep in Lowell territory at the 24-yard line with 18.9 seconds left. Two plays later Ben Fridrich had the distance but was just wide left on a 45-yard field goal attempt.
Enright was pleased with how his charges kept battling.
“I’m a little disappointed we made as many mistakes as we did," he said. "I think our effort was good on both sides of the ball.”