Stevens accounts for six touchdowns, leads Lowell to 49-34 win over WL Western in D-2 semifinal
Alma – When Lowell and Walled Lake Western met in week one of the football season, the two teams put on an offensive exhibition, scoring 82 points as Western held on for the win.
But when the two teams met for the second time in Satuday’s Division 2 semifinal, it was safe to assume that the two teams wouldn’t have the same offensive success, considering inclement weather conditions.
But nobody told that to Lowell quarterback Ryan Stevens.
The senior signal caller accounted for six touchdowns on Saturday afternoon as he helped lead the Red Arrows to a 49-34 win over Western to send Lowell to its first Division 2 state championship game since 2011.
Lowell will face Detroit King in the Division 2 state championship game next Friday, November 27th at 1:00 at Ford Field.
Lowell coach Noel Dean said that leading up to Saturday’s game and during Saturday’s game, he and his team didn’t say anything about the weather, but simply focused on executing its gameplan.
“We don’t talk about stuff that we don’t control,” he said. “That’s just the way we are, there’s not one kid or one person that talked about the snow today. Not one, including me. That’s just what it is, we can’t control it, so just go out and play.”
After Western cut the Lowell lead down to 28-24 with 33 seconds left in the third quarter on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Kyle Thomas to Kam Ford, who caught the pass after it was tipped, Lowell had a big response to start the fourth quarter.
On third down and Western looking to force a punt to get the ball back, Stevens found his top receiver, Gabe Steed as the wide-out would run away from the Western defense for a 70-yard touchdown to push the Lowell lead to 35-24 with 11:13 left to play.
After Western drove deep into Lowell’s end of the field, Alex Anschutz would intercept a pass to give the Lowell offense the ball back.
The Red Arrows would then drive 80 yards down the field, converting key third and fourth downs to set up a 15-yard touchdown run by Stevens to give Lowell a three score lead, 42-24 with 4:54 left.
Stevens said that for his team to bounce back after watching its lead be trimmed to four points, was key to take the momentum away from the Warriors.
“It changed the momentum,” he said. “We had the lead, put a little gap in there in the fourth quarter. They had to score with short time and couldn’t run the ball as much, it put us in a pretty good position to try and win.”
Stevens finished the game with 188 yards passing and three touchdowns as well as 77 yards rushing and three touchdowns on the ground as well to lead Lowell.
Stevens said that credit for his big performance on Saturday was to his offensive line and running backs and also credited the Lowell defense for slowing down Western as well.
“It’s not me,” he said. “It’s my offensive line, my running backs. Credit the defense, that’s a great offense, we tried to contain them the best we could. It’s not me at all, it’s the team. That’s all we’re about, it’s the team, we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for all of us, we don’t have all of those outstanding players, we have individuals that will all come together and just play as one team.”
After Western took a 10-0 lead in the first quarter, Lowell answered back in a big way in the first half as the Red Arrows scored 21 unanswered points, behind two Stevens rushing touchdowns and a touchdown pass to Anschutz, to take a 21-10 lead into halftime.
Dean said that the message to his team after falling behind early on was a simple one.
“That we better start playing football,” he said. “It was a very tenuous start, so we had to really work our way back.”
Facing an 11-point deficit to open up the second half, Western quarterback Kyle Thomas scored on a 6-yard touchdown run to cut Lowell’s lead down to 21-17, but the Red Arrows later scored on a touchdown pass from Stevens to Sawyer Olesko with 5:10 left in the third quarter to make it 28-17.
Western coach Mike Zdebski said that even with the snowy, windy weather conditions, he wasn’t surprised with the ability of both teams to score on Saturday.
“I think you can put up points on a day like this,” he said. “It’s when you take a mindset that you can’t throw the ball is when you have a problem and as you can see, both teams were able to throw the ball.”
Lowell will be in search of its first state title since 2002 on Friday when it plays Detroit King.