CROWN POINT — After a slow start, Crown Point picked up a 21-3 home victory over The Times' No. 7 team Lake Central behind senior running back Scott Mills.
Mills rushed for 125 yards on 29 carries and scored three touchdowns.
He showed bursts of speed, the ability to make defenders miss and wasn’t afraid to lower his shoulder on a few runs. Mills’ versatility shouldn’t come as a surprise because over the summer he put in the work and against Lake Central it paid off.
“The offseason, it was a huge grind,” Mills said. “(I was) in the weight room three times a day.”
Both teams held each other scoreless in the opening period. Lake Central (2-2, 0-2) scored the first points of the game on a 47-yard field goal from Cole Rainwater. But after the Indians’ initial strike, the Bulldogs (2-2, 1-1) took the lead and Mills made sure to never relinquish it.
His most impressive run came on a second quarter scamper. With the Bulldogs on the Indians’ 28-yard line, Mills broke several tackles and ran up the visiting sideline for the first touchdown of the game.
But it wouldn’t have been possible without a momentum shifting play from Bulldogs defensive back Railaun Cosey. After Lake Central’s field goal, Cosey returned the ensuing kickoff 69 yards to the Indians’ 30-yard line.
It took several defenders to bring Cosey down, and when he returned to the sideline he was met with a standing ovation from the Bulldogs’ fans.
“I saw a hole in the middle and just BOOM, broke for it,” Cosey said. “Then my team just kept me going. I heard the crowd going wild.”
Cosey described it as the perfect “Friday Night Lights” moment.
Neither teams’ quarterbacks were able to find much of a rhythm. The Indians’ starting quarterback Zach Bundalo threw for just 42 yards, while the Bulldogs’ starting quarterback Will Pettit threw for just 59.
Despite struggling through the air, Crown Point head coach Kevin Enright was pleased with his running back’s performance.
“Scottie’s a senior,” Enright said. “He’s worked hard to put himself in this position and that’s a credit to him.”
On the final drive of the game, Enright took Mills out and the senior walked to the Bulldogs' bench with an approving roar from his home crowd. As he high-fived and chest-bumped his teammates, Mills took a moment to turnaround and point to his family in the bleachers — a constant reminder to always run his hardest.
“Every time I score a touchdown, every time I have a good run, I point to (my dad),” Mills said. “He’s the one that started everything.”
Mills’ dad had plenty to be proud of as his son helped Crown Point secure its first Duneland Athletic Conference win of the season.