LEMONT – For the second consecutive week, Lemont’s football team squared off against a strong opponent.
And for the second straight game, the Indians didn’t back down.
Now the next step for the young squad is turning those strong efforts into victories after a 23-21 loss to Oak Forest Friday left Lemont with a 1-3 record.
“I think we can play with most teams,” said Lemont coach Eric Michaelsen. “But we have to cut back on our mistakes. That hasn’t happened yet. We are still turning the ball over and we are still making mental mistakes.”
After a sluggish opening two quarters left the home team facing a 14-0 deficit at halftime, Lemont turned things around in the third quarter, pulling within 20-15.
“In the first half, we got physically handled up front and we had three turnovers,” Michaelsen said. “We came out in the second half and played better.”
The Indians eventually took the lead in the fourth quarter but a 25-yard field goal by the Bengals’ Mike Wojtanowski, which banked in off the left upright, with 2:18 remaining proved to be the difference.
“Our kids never gave up and our kids played hard,” Michaelsen said, “and they got back into the game. Those are all positives.”
Another positive was the play of junior wide receiver Jimmy Kepouros, who hauled in 13 passes for 156 yards and a touchdown.
“That has got to be up there [for most receptions in a game] for Lemont,” Michaelsen said. “He’s a kid who started out as a tailback and he’s got some speed.”
Sophomore quarterback Chris Thompson also continues to get more comfortable under center. He threw for 169 yards and a score while also rushing for 83 yards.
“I thought we ran it and threw it well,” the coach added. “But there are still times where we turn the ball over and that takes a lot out of it. We are getting plenty of yards.”
In the midst of a stretch of four straight home games, Lemont will welcome in Tinley Park tonight for a 7 p.m. kickoff.