Lockport fumble returns help beat Joliet Central
By Dick Goss email@example.com September 15, 2012 8:06PM
Joliet Central's (5) Romello Clark makes the catch for touchdown over the hands of Lockport's (20) Anthony Cielenski held at home and Lockport won 22-14 on Saturday, September 15, 2012. | Larry Kane~For Sun-Times Media
Player of the game
Lockport senior Richie Guess rushed for 89 yards, scored the decisive touchdown and set up a key field goal with a 30-yard run in the victory over Joliet Central.
Updated: October 17, 2012 6:34AM
Lockport’s 6-foot-2, 270-pound senior defensive tackle Kegan Anspach is a nemesis to enemy offenses. That much is a given.
But the Porters’ leading scorer four games into the season? There’s a scoop.
Anspach, who earlier scored a safety against Plainfield North, returned a fumble 23 yards for the game’s first score in Saturday’s 22-14 SouthWest Suburban Blue victory at Joliet Central, and senior defensive back Edgar Ortiz duplicated the feat with a 13-yard fumble return in the second quarter.
Still, in the battle of the previously winless, Central led 14-12 at halftime. It was not until Richie Guess rushed for 63 of his game-high 89 yards in the second half before suffering a game-ending injury that Lockport (1-3, 1-1) put away the pesky Steelmen (0-4, 0-2).
“I’m the slowest one out there,” a smiling Anspach said about his return. “But my eyes lit up like a little kid at Christmas. When I got to the end zone, I didn’t know how to celebrate.
“And when’s the last time you saw a defensive tackle be the leading scorer on a team?”
The Porters needed every bit of the boost the Anspach and Ortiz returns provided.
“We knew this would be a tough game,” Lockport coach Don McKillip said. “They looked good at times on film and they have skills who make plays.
“Our defense came up big. We had a couple errors toward the end of the first half when they scored their touchdowns but that was because our defense was on the field the whole half. We got the fumble returns and it was right back out there. We were exhausted and made mental mistakes.”
The Steelmen were without linebacker Malik Neal and running back Sylvester Bellamy, who were out of town for the funeral of an aunt.
The Steelmen scored twice in the second quarter on Carlos Curry’s 20-yard pass to Romello Clark on fourth-and-13 and Curry’s 2-yard pass to Derrell Clark. Curry’s conversion pass to Luis Zepeda with 24 seconds left in the half established the 14-12 lead. Curry exited in the fourth quarter after suffering an apparent concussion.
“I’m especially proud of our defense playing as well as it did, giving up 10 points,” Central coach Brett Boyter said.
Those 10 points, though, came in the second half on Guess’ 6-yard TD run and a 26-yard Aaron Ambrose field goal that was set up by Guess’ 30-yard run. On that play, Guess suffered what Lockport is hoping is a shoulder/collarbone stinger. He did not return.
In addition to Guess’ 89 yards, Lockport sophomore Tyler Johnson ran for 61 in his return after breaking a hand in the first practice with pads. A linebacker, he was switched to fullback Thursday and proved to be a tough inside runner.