The Slicer football team was one big play short of upsetting Lake Central Friday on Senior Night at Kiwanis Field. In the final 2:33 of game the Slicers had two possessions. A touchdown and extra point on the first could have tied the game, a touchdown on the second could have won it. Instead, the Slicers fall to 1-4 on the season and 0-3 in the Duneland.
La Porte, trailing 17-10 in the 4th quarter, forced a Lake Central punt with 2:47 remaining. Starting at their own 37, the Slicers picked up 2 yards on a Drew Flores run, lost 6 yards on busted running play, then threw an incompletion. Facing 4th and 14 sophomore quarterback Aiden Penziol found Flores streaking down the right sideline for 27 yards and a first down with 1:00 left in the game. LP went for the end zone on the next play but Lake Central’s Mylan Davis wrestled the ball away from a Slicer receiver for an interception inside the one yard line to seemingly ice game.
The Slicer defense had other ideas. The Indians lined up with quarterback Chase Kwiatkowski five yards behind center in the end zone. On the first snap, linebacker Kyle Freel blitzed and tackled Kwiatkowski for a safety making the score 17-12 with 45.5 seconds left. Lake Central’s short, free kick from the 20 yard line put the Slicers on the Indian’s 41 yard line.
Penziol was forced to scramble on the first play and picked up 11 yards to the LC 30. After spiking the ball to stop the clock, a sack, then an incompletion the Slicers were facing 4th down and 21 from the 42. Penziol, again under pressure, somehow found Ollie Kring open at the 19 yard line for a first down. There were 9.2 seconds left after LP spiked the ball to stop the clock. Penziol then found Flores at the back of the end zone. The pass was complete but Flores was a step out of bounds. LP had time for one more play, but Penziol’s pass to Keigan Henckel was incomplete as time ran out.
It was a back and forth game throughout. The LP Defense forced Lake Central to punt on the game’s first possession. Kring had an excellent return to the LC 43 yard line. The Slicers drove to the Lake Central 16 before a penalty stalled the drive. Jack Doty kicked a 38 yard field goal at the 3:48 mark of the first quarter to give La Porte a 3-0 lead. The drive covered 43 yards in nine plays.
Lake Central answered three plays later. Kwiatkowski found speedy LJ Richardson for 53 yards and a touchdown. Trever Baldin kicked the extra point and LC led 7-3 with 3:02 left in the opening quarter.
On Lake Central’s next possession, Kai Jones scooped up an Indian fumble and appeared to take it in for a touchdown. He was ruled out of bounds at the LC 38. On the first play of the second quarter Flores, lined up at quarterback, and sprinted 40 yards for a score. Doty’s kick made it 10-7 Slicers with 11:51 left in the half.
Neither team was able to score the remainder of the second quarter. LC did threaten but missed a 41 yard field goal with 5.7 seconds left. La Porte led 10-7 at the break.
The only scoring in the third came at the 6:11 mark on a 27 yard Baldin field goal tying the game at 10. Doty missed a 44 yarder to the left at the 3:11 mark.
Lake Central scored what proved to be the winning touchdown with 7:39 remaining. Richardson caught a 48 yard TD pass from Kwiatkowski. Baldin kicked the extra point.
One of the game officials injured his leg late in the first quarter and was unable to continue. The remainder of the game was played with four referees. Slicer linebacker Javelle Broome was injured on the same play and did not return.
Drew Flores was back in action for the first time since the New Prairie game. He was named the Salisbury and Spence Edward Jones Player of the Game. He caught four passes for 66 yards and ran 11 times from the wildcat formation for 90 yards and a touchdown.
Penziol was 9-21 passing for 101 yards. Tre Bechtel ran 15 times for 36 yards. Jon Laine ran twice for 18 yards. Kring caught 3 balls for 30 yards, Henckel had a catch for 7 yards.
The Slicers hit the road next Friday, travelling to Merrillville, kickoff at 7:00. The game can be heard on WCOE 96.7 the Eagle with pregame a 6:45.