Lowell’s defense is outstanding once again as the Red Arrows defeat Rockford, 14-0
Rockford – Ben Lobbezoo never believed his football career was over.
The Lowell senior running back missed last season due to a pair of injuries, but vowed he would return to the Red Arrows backfield this fall. After two games he’s already paying dividends.
Lobbezzo ran 18 yards for a touchdown on Lowell’s first possession and the Red Arrows never looked back in Friday’s 14-0 win over Rockford in an Ottawa-Kent Conference crossover at Carlson Stadium in Rockford.
Lobbezoo, who by his own admission was "average" in last week’s season opener against Warren DeLaSalle, scored the second time he touched the ball as the Red Arrows, ranked No. 1 by State Champs, beat the Rams for the second straight season.
"It was a long season," said Lobbezzo, who wouldn’t discuss specifics of two injuries which cost him the entire season. "I missed being with my teammates. I couldn’t be happier now. I’ve played football since I was four or five and it never entered my mind I wasn’t going to come back this season. The coaches and my teammates are a part of me."
Lobbezzo rushed for 91 yards and a physical Lowell defense limited the Rams to 130 yards rushing in improving its record to 45-6 since 2013. Lowell had reached double digits in wins 13 of the last 15 seasons.
Scoring just four minutes into the game was a key, Lobbezzo said.
"It was very important," he said. "It felt like it gave us some momentum. I give a lot of credit to the offensive line in blocking for me."
Lowell’s second touchdown was a 1-yard run by quarterback David Kruse, who finished with 83 rushing yards. He also was 8 of 13 passing for 81 yards. Kruse ran for 128 yards and threw a pair of touchdown passes in the team’s opener, a 36-6 victory over DeLaSalle.
The score could actually have been worse as Lowell failed to score three times after moving the ball inside the Rockford 31-yard line. The Rams had 210 total yards but missed a pair of field goal attempts.
Defensively, Lowell followed up its win over De La Salle with another outstanding effort. Red Arrows captain Cody McGee said a team which returns five starters on defense figures to be even better.
"We always pride ourselves on defense. We can’t play a good game unless the defense plays well," he said. "You’re not always going to score 36 points a game. We’ve all played together since we played flag football together when we were like 5."
Rockford, which has produced 23 straight winning seasons, lost last year’s matchup with Lowell 21-10 after leading 10-7 at the half, but went on to win six straight games and eventually tied for an O-K Red Division title.
The two programs have won five state championships. Lowell has won all three games against Rockford since 1973.
Lowell coach Noel Dean said the quick score was a confidence builder.
"You prefer to get off to a good start as opposed to the alternative," he said.
Dean said it’s too early to make any deductions about his club. He actually played down beating what is assumed is the best program in the OK Red for a second straight season. He said there is "no real value" in a non-conference win in the season’s second week.
"It is fun to play against a team like Rockford, which is physical and tough," he said. "You just want to win and move on."