Region Photographs
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  • 11 photos
  • ST. JOHN | An intimidating, big-band, senior-night atmosphere with the right to the driver’s seat in the conference race did not deter DJ Wilkins or his teammates. In a reverse of the cliche “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish,” Merrillville started well and made enough plays on defense down the stretch to escape Lake Central with a 20-17 Duneland Athletic Conference win over the Indians. The Times No. 2 Pirates beat the No. 3 Indians for the 16th consecutive time dating back to 2002. They also clinched at least a share of the DAC title. Billed as a potential defensive stalemate, the game had two touchdowns in the first 96 seconds and a third when the game was barely seven minutes old. The huge, vaunted defenses eventually stepped up and made running nearly impossible for both tailbacks, and turnovers and field position created a shaky ground down to the final two minutes when Merrillville was able to kneel the ball comfortably. After the teams came out of halftime tied at 14, Merrillville scored on its first possession of the half, to go up 20-14 following a missed kick. The Pirates (7-1, 6-0) opened the game with a three-play scoring drive capped by a 69-yard bomb from sophomore quarterback DJ Wilkins to Tyrie Fuller. On their third possession the Pirates struck again, with Fuller hitting Jonathan Robinson for a 61-yard touchdown pass and a 14-7 lead. “Had that not happened early in the game, for sure, it would have been a tough thing to come back from,” Merrillville coach Zac Wells said. “(Lake Central had) a good defense, but I think the one thing our offense did was they came off the bus pretty well and ready to play. We just need to maintain the consistency a little bit. We’re getting to the point in the season that that should be the expectation.” Wilkins threw for 289 yards and three scores, the last one to Robinson for the junior’s second of the night and what turned out to be the game-winner with 8:43 to go in the third quarter. Fuller had seven catches for 142 yards and Robinson had three for 89 with the two touchdowns. Neither team eclipsed 80 yards rushing on the night. Lake Central (6-2, 5-1) answered Merrillville’s first score with a nine-yard touchdown from Ethan Darter to John Gbur, but Darter was 17-for-38 passing and misfired on 10 of his final 12 attempts in the clutch before a Hail Mary completion past midfield on the game’s final play. "We had some issues up front with them," Lake Central coach Brett St. Germain said of the Indians forgoing the run in the second half and throwing much more than normal. "(Ethan Darter) will get better from situations like this. When you play in games like this you will learn from it. We're riding with him right now." Alec Olund made some cameos at quarterback. Last year’s starter ran for an 18-yard touchdown with 8:33 to go in the first half to tie the game. Lake Central halved Merrillville’s lead when Jillian Doan kicked a 27-yard field goal with 5:26 to go, but the Indians couldn’t overcome three interceptions and rampant incompletions in the passing game. Merrillville had a chance to increase its lead with 2:24 to go, but a 28-yard field goal attempt went wide left. Four straight incompletions by the Indians gave Merrillville the ball and the victory formation opportunity.
  • 10/11/2013
  • Album ID: 1717256
  • Photos by John Smierciak


  • 10 photos
  • CALUMET CITY | It may be too late for Thornton Fractional to win a South Suburban Blue Conference title, but it still isn't taking any games lightly. T.F. United dominated Oak Forest 9-0 in a South Suburban Blue match Thursday. Ray Kobus and Luis Ramirez each scored two goals, and Cristian Gonzalez had a goal and an assist. Jose Sandoval recorded three assists as Thornton Fractional used seven first-half goals to quickly topple the Bengals and force the slaughter rule with a 20-minute second half. "There was a lot of passing and two-touch soccer," Kobus said of the win. "Very unselfish. We played our game today and came out with a good result." Ramirez, a junior, said the team is still a work in progress that has put their 5-15-1 record of 2012 behind them and is playing at another level this year. "We're working and doing good this season," Ramirez said. "Last year we did terrible, honestly. But the bad thing is that these seniors are going to leave, but still we have a good team this year." With a 6-3 record in the South Suburban Blue, the United is preparing for the playoffs and what it hopes will be a deep run. "Our first goal was winning conference or even sharing the title," Kobus said. "Now, we're focusing with our practices for preparing for regionals. We're looking forward to trying to get a regional championship." Kobus, a senior leader on the United, is looking for good practices before the playoffs to help lead the team into the postseason. "Definitely communicating and just keep playing our game," he said. "Finishing and listen to what we do in practice. How we practice is how we play."
  • 10/10/2013
  • Album ID: 1716632
  • Photos by John Smierciak


  • 13 photos
  • MUNSTER | Munster boys tennis coach Steve Lopez knows his team can play with anybody. That includes ranked teams, as the Mustangs defeated No. 16 Crown Point 3-2 on Tuesday to continue their postseason run. Though Wednesday's Munster Regional championship match against Merrillville wasn't as difficult as Tuesday's semifinal, the Mustangs weren't going to overlook anybody. They came away with a 5-0 win over the Pirates to win their ninth straight regional championship, and continued their own state record with their 31st title as a program. “I still think this was a great regional,” Lopez said. “The way it was represented and how tight all the matches were, I think it speaks volumes for region tennis.” With five varsity players graduating last season from Munster's team, young players like sophomores Trey DeLuna and Arlo Detmer have turned up their games this season. “This year, we knew we had to step it up to keep the tradition alive,” DeLuna said. “It feels really good that we accomplished that.” DeLuna continued the momentum from a 6-3, 7-6 (7-3) win in Tuesday's No. 2 singles match against Crown Point's Lance Noerenberg with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Merrillville's Ayron Williams on Wednesday. “When I played (Noerenberg) in past tournaments and the offseason, he won decisively,” DeLuna said. “I feel like this season, with coach Lopez and my team, I really improved and I feel like I'm at that level where I can compete with the top guys at No. 2 singles. They really encourage me and help me improve to get at a high level at No. 2 singles.” Merrillville (5-14) gave Munster a couple scrappy matches. Nygel Jackson fought hard with Colin Richter at No. 1 singles, but Jackson lost 6-2, 6-1. “We played better at every position than we have all season,” Merrillville coach James Simon said. “Our relationship (with Munster) is so good. One day, we'll be able to give them a run for their money. Until then, we'll just enjoy coming out here.” Munster (17-4) will face No. 1 Carmel (20-1) at Saturday's Culver Academies 1 Semistate. The Mustangs have ran into the Greyhounds brick wall in the last two semistate rounds and have lost with matching 5-0 scores. “We've lost to them, and I think we're just going to go in and do our best,” DeLuna said. “We know we can play well, and hopefully our games rise with better competition.”
  • 10/9/2013
  • Album ID: 1716169
  • Photos by John Smierciak


  • 14 photos
  • MUNSTER | Talk about your pressure situation. With Crown Point and Munster tied 2-2 and the right to advance to the Munster Regional championship on the line, it all came down to Munster's Arlo Detmer and Patrick Toth, who were facing off against Crown Point's Dominic Peretin and Carson Hoogeworf in No. 1 doubles. Already down one set after a 7-5 loss, the Munster duo rebounded to post 6-4, 6-1 wins over their opponents and give Munster the 3-2 win over the Bulldogs. Munster will face Merrillville, 3-2 winners over Morton, in today's championship. Detmer and Toth faced a 3-2 deficit in the second set, but fired back as the pressure grew thick. "We knew we had the talent to win that set," Detmer said of the second set. "Three to two, that's close. We just hung in there and started playing better." "We did it for the team, we did it for coach (Steve Lopez)," Toth said. "He came back for us. We can't let him down, getting so close and collapsing before the finish line." Detmer and Toth were well aware of the circumstances at hand. With the support of a large Munster crowd, Detmer used it as fuel for the fire. "In that third set, with that kind of fan support, I knew we were going to win it 6-1," Detmer said. "It gets me so pumped up. I love it. Some players will crumble (under pressure). We certainly did not." One striking difference between this match and Crown Point's 4-1 win on Sept. 30 was that the Mustangs (16-4) didn't lose confidence.
  • 10/8/2013
  • Album ID: 1715714
  • Photos by John Smierciak


  • 10 photos
  • LANSING | T.F. South coach Tom Padjen isn't one to give big speeches, especially a Knute Rockne-like speech. The veteran coach motivated his team at halftime by telling a story from the 1997 season. "We were at Eisenhower and our quarterback (his son Mark), was tackled near the Eisenhower sideline and a coach yelled, 'Take his legs out,'" Tom Padjen said. Mark Padjen, who was at Friday's game, recalled after the game: "I got in his face and said 'I am indestructible.'" The "indestructible" speech motivated the Rebels as they shut down Eisenhower in the second half for a 17-7 South Suburban Conference crossover win on Friday. Senior Jariel Brooks said the players took the speech to heart. "We were indestructible in the second half and we had to get it together," Brooks said. "This was like a playoff game for us because we have to win the rest of our games if we are going to make the playoffs. We had to step it up." With their backs to the wall and a homecoming crowd behind them, South (3-3) shut out the Cardinals (4-2) in the second half. South has not been over .500 this year.
  • 10/4/2013
  • Album ID: 1714608
  • Photos by John Smierciak

"Know Other Ground Upon Which You Stand" in Valparaiso

  • 2 photos
  • Robert Cotton speaks outside the Porter County Courthouse during an event organized by Cotton called "Know Other Ground Upon Which You Stand" in Valparaiso. Speakers discussed the George Zimmerman case and stand your ground laws.
  • 10/2/2013
  • Album ID: 1713008
  • Photos by Jonathan Miano


  • 12 photos
  • ST. JOHN | It was time for Lake Central’s offense to do what it does best -- move the first down sticks. With the Times No. 3 Indians guarding a 17-10 lead over Michigan City, the defense did its job by forcing Michigan City to turn it over on downs at the L.C. 13-yard line with 10:54 left in Friday’s Duneland Athletic Conference battle. Third-string sophomore quarterback Ethan Darter engineered a time-consuming drive with running back Brandon Scott carrying the bulk of the load. Scott carried the final yard to give the Indians (4-1, 4-0 DAC) the TD with 2:08 left and the eventual 24-10 victory. Scott said the offense had the mindset that kept the offense rolling. “We needed to run out the clock, we needed to get yards, and we needed to keep our defense off the field because they’ve been doing a great job for us,” he said. “When we step up, they perform better so we just knew we had to march down the field.” Darter, in his first start, completed 17 of 22 passes for 165 yards. “I only got touched twice,” he said. “The line was doing an outstanding job. I had more time than I needed to get the ball out, and our receivers made great catches, great plays.” L.C. coach Brett St. Germain also credited the line. “We’ve been telling them all year long there are going to come moments in big games where you’re going to have to take over and win the game,” he said. “Kudos to our offensive line.”
  • 9/27/2013
  • Album ID: 1710827
  • Photos by John Smierciak


  • 12 photos
  • LOWELL | Lowell’s victory over Highland wasn’t a work of art by any stretch of the imagination, but it was a workmanlike performance by running back George Fields. The senior speedster churned out 245 yards on 27 carries and three touchdowns at the Inferno Friday night in a 22-0 blanking over an improved Highland. “The offensive line was opening up holes, and it was just running hard,” Fields said. The Red Devils improved to 3-2 overall and to 3-0 in the Northwest Crossroads Conference with their third straight win. You learn how to win ugly tonight,” Lowell coach Keith Kilmer said. “It took them a while to realize that Highland is just not going to come out and lay down for them. “They played the whole game, and our kids did, too. Our defense played fantastic.” The Trojans managed just 28 yards on the ground and 131 yards of total offense. “We were just reading our keys, linemen were separating and ripping and flowing to the ball,” said Dan Garza, who forced a Highland fumble. Meanwhile, Fields scored his second and third TDs of the game in the second half on runs of 32 and 8 yards. “We were just keying off what the defense was doing,” Fields aid.
  • 9/20/2013
  • Album ID: 1707795
  • Photos by John Smierciak


  • 9 photos
  • ST. JOHN | It might not register on a tape measure, yardstick or scale, but Colin Studer grew Friday night. While the Lake Central defense continued a dominant three-week run, Studer’s increased efficiency on offense was a huge part of Times No. 7 Lake Central’s 23-0 shutout of No. 4 Crown Point on Friday night in Duneland Athletic Conference action. The sophomore quarterback, who was the backup coming out of camp, went 11-for-24 for 112 yards and two touchdowns passing and ran for 54 yards, mostly in a 20-point first half, to help the Indians (3-1, 2-0) overcome a stout Crown Point defense and win their third straight game. “He’s making strides, and when we have a young quarterback, that’s what you want to see,” Lake Central coach Brett St. Germain said. The Indians held tough on defense, and Studer helped them take advantage of Crown Point turnovers and penalties. The 20-0 score at halftime represented Lake Central’s biggest half of offense thus far this season.
  • 9/13/2013
  • Album ID: 1704997
  • Photos by John Smierciak


  • 10 photos
  • MUNSTER | Shayley Summers took a bottle near the end of the fourth game and got a fresh diaper in the middle of an intense fifth. The three-month-old daughter of Tracy and Ryan Summers had no idea what was going on just a few yards away from her fourth-row seat Wednesday night at Munster Fieldhouse, but one day she’ll hear tell of it. Her parents staged an epic volleyball match that ended with Tracy’s Munster squad beating Ryan's Marian Catholic team 25-21, 25-20, 24-26, 16-25, 15-7 in a matchup of Times No. 1 teams on opposite sides of the border. Tracy improved to 2-1 all-time against Ryan in their careers as head coaches. "It's exciting, because we both know so many players on both sides of the net," Tracy Summers said. "It's fun to try to guess what he’s thinking and see what strategies he uses. Other than that, it's a great opportunity for us to play a great team." There were no side wagers between the new parents, but Ryan expected dish duty as they exited the gym. "We didn’t say it, but it's kind of understood who's doing the dishes," Ryan said. "But in the end, Shayley wore a Marian ‘M’ on her shirt and not a Munster ‘M’ so I’ll take that." The unbeaten Mustangs (12-0) ran to a 2-0 lead after winning a pair of games that were tied late. Marian (2-6), however, held close in a third game that was tied nine times. The Spartans scored the final three points of that game to win 26-24 and then dominated the fourth set 25-16. "We get so focused the first two games and then back off a lot for some reason and don’t stay as focused," Munster hitter Antonia DalleCarbonare said. "Then we realized we need to step it up and won the last one." DalleCarbonare led the Mustangs with 15 kills and 27 digs, while Shannon Farrell added 13 kills and 18 digs and several mental assists.
  • 9/11/2013
  • Album ID: 1703686
  • Photos by John Smierciak
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