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Joliet Central's Miguel Rodriguez (35) is brought down by Lockport's Jesse Kwak (50)on Saturday, September 15, 2012. | Larry Kane~For Sun-Times Media
Lockport’s 6-2, 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,” Anspach smiled 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 a common aunt. But they scored twice in the second quarter on Carlos Curry’s 20-yard pass to Romello Clark on fourth-and-13 and on Curry’s two-yard pass to Derrell Clark. Curry’s conversion pass to Luis Zepeda with 0:24 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’ six-yard TD run and a 26-yard Aaron Ambrose field goal that Guess’ 30-yard run set up. 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.