La Porte hits jackpot with its 'slot machines'
Updated: Sep 21, 2020
ST. JOHN -- La Porte's methodical, tackle-to-tackle offense sprouted some wings Friday at Lake Central.
With the Indians putting all their chips into containing Collin Bergquist, the Slicers hit the jackpot playing the slots as Jeremiah Ruiz and Jayden Parkes combined for 328 yards of offense in a 28-16 Duneland Athletic Conference victory.
"I was having a conversation with Bergquist, saying it's a good sign when I look over and they're interviewing our slot backs and quarterback," Slicers coach Jeremy Lowery said. "A lot of that is the work we've done, inside running, the last few weeks. Everything complements everything. They were able to benefit from it, even our receivers a little bit. I believe without a doubt that their entire plan was to try to eliminate the inside run game. We got it going early and that's what got our perimeter game going."
Parkes broke off runs of 35 and 38 yards on his way to a 173-yard night, working almost exclusively on tosses to the edge.
"It was just time for a W," said Parkes, who left school early Friday with a head cold. "It was a team effort. We had to put our all into it. The line, receivers, this guy (Ruiz), great blocking. Everything was just put together perfectly. It all came together for us. We were just tired of losing."
La Porte coach Jeremy Lowery addresses his team after Friday's 28-16
win over host Lake Central, the Slicers' first victory of the season.
Ruiz had a 15-yard touchdown run, shedding defenders, raced 71 yards for a score on an RJ Anglin pass and made a highlight catch for another 33 yards down the right sideline.
"It all worked out the way Lowery had it planned," Ruiz said. "Everyone flows over and it leaves me wide open. For me, it's really just all instinct. I see the ball floating over the DB's head, I just kept it mind where the sideline was and I went up for it."
Anglin came into the game having completed just 11 of 28 passes for 111 yards with four interceptions. He didn't put on an aerial show, throwing just six times, but racked up 142 yards on his four completions, including a 35-yard strike to tight end Grant Ott-Large.
"I think Jayden said it best, we're tired of losing," Anglin said. "We haven't really been able to show (the passing game) off much, but when we use it's got to be good, and tonight it was. The run game was awesome in the first quarter -- they couldn't stop it -- we went to the pass and it worked. The receivers were running great routes. They were wide open. I couldn't miss them. We've got two super quick guys here, two big receivers on the outside. We've got to break one loose every game."
He didn't throw once during a 92-yard first-quarter drive that featured Parkes and Bergquist, who surged in from the 1. Ruiz struck in the second quarter when he slipped back to the left on a play where the defense was flowing to the right and was off to the races with the Anglin pass.
"They kind of lull you to sleep, run, run, run, then hit you with a pass," LC coach Tony Bartolomeo said. "We worked on it, they just executed it."
Lake Central (1-4, 0-3) managed to stick around on the strength of defense and special teams. Brandon Oszust blocked a punt, but La Porte limited them to a 42-yard Derek Baldin field goal. The Indians got back in the game at 13-10 on a four-yard Luke Neidy toss to Keyon Harris following a Carter Schuster fumble recovery in plus territory.
"We had chances, good field position, and should have come away with more points than we did early on," Bartolomeo said. "Ideally, you want to get a lead against a team like that. Every time we did something good, they responded. We still learning how to finish a game."
Anglin's toss to Ott-Large made it a two-score game again early in the third quarter. LC drew within 19-16 on a 25-yard Kristin Alexander Wildcat run before a Max Doty field goal from 28 yards late in the period put the Slicers up 22-16.
Ruiz's TD run doubled the margin, and Brady Bernth and Marcus Gray had fourth-quarter interceptions to seal the Slicers' first win.
"The kids did a great job of managing the personnel packages," Lowery said. "Sometimes, that can get tricky, but I don't think we got caught with a penalty on any of those. That's what happens when you win. Things we've been working on come together."
Bergquist and Anglin rotated snaps with Bergquist still managing a nice 69 yards on 19 carries. Ruiz ran for 53 in addition to his big catches as LP controlled the possession battle.
"The defense got put in some bad situations, some short fields," Lowery said. "If we eliminate those things, we can separate a little earlier They made a couple big plays before half, had the momentum. Any time you can take an opening drive, the opening drive after the half, and score, those are big."
Afterward, it was a celebratory tone in the La Porte huddle. Assistant coach Bob James jumped, while Lowery tossed his hat, peeling off his sweatshirt and doing the same.
"It's exciting," he said. "I'm really, really, really happy for the kids because they've worked hard. I'm just really happy to celebrate a victory so they get some fruit for their labors."
Neidy completed 13 of 24 passes for just 74 yards.
"They just made more plays," Bartolomeo said.
La Porte 28, Lake Central 16
La Porte 7 6 9 6 -- 28
Lake Central 0 10 6 0 -- 16
LP -- Collin Bergquist 1 run (Max Doty kick), 4:46
LC -- Derek Baldin 42 FG
LP -- Jeremiah Ruiz 71 pass from RJ Anglin (kick failed)
LC -- Keyon Harris 4 pass from Luke Neidy (Baldin kick), 0:19
LP -- Grant Ott-Large 35 pass from Anglin (kick failed), 9:14
LC -- Kristrin Alexander 25 run (kick blocked)
LP -- Doty 28 FG
LP -- Ruiz 15 run (run failed)
First Downs: La Porte 19; Lake Central 13.
Rushes-Yards: La Porte 49-309; Lake Central 28-173
Passing: 4-6-0; Lake Central 13-25-2
Passing Yards: La Porte 146; Lake Central 74
Total Yards: La Porte 455; Lake Central 247
Penalties-Yards La Porte 13-108, Lake Central 5-50
Fumbles-Lost: La Porte 2-1, Lake Central 0-0
Punts-Avg.: La Porte 3-39.7, Lake Central 2-37.5
Rushing: La Porte, Parkes 16-173, Bergquist 19-69, Ruiz 8-53, Jamaal Salary 4-11, Anglin 2-3; Lake Central, Max Creasbaum 6-58, Kristrin Alexander 4-41, Ben Bacso 9-39, Tony Bartolomeo 3-16, Harris 2-11, Neidy 4-9.
Passing: La Porte, Anglin 4-6-0-146; Lake Central, Neidy 13-24-2-74, Bartolomeo 0-1-0-0.
Receiving: La Porte, Ruiz 2-104, Ott-Large 1-35, Evan Cisewski 1-7; Lake Centralm, Ace Henry 4-34, Bacso 1-16, Diego Garcia 2-12, Harris 2-8, Creasbaum 1-8, Bartolomeo 2-(-4).
Interceptions: Brady Bernth, Marcus Gray (L).
Fumble Recovery: Carter Schuster (LC).
Records: La Porte 1-4 (1-2 DAC), Lake Central 1-4 (0-3).