Andrean wins first ever football match-up with Crown Point,
21-7 over Bulldogs


A Special Report by Mark Smith



The Bulldogs take the home field for the first time in the 2021 season. (All photos by Mark Smith)
It was 'Hawaiian Night' in the Crown Point students' section and that worked out as game time temperatures were in the mid-80s.
Crown Point's Brett Croell (22) tries to stay in front of Andrean's Alonzo Paul (1) in first quarter action.
Here's Andrean's signature play. The 'RPO' (run pass option). Quarterback Scott Ballentine (12) eyes the slot receiver while his defender is occupied. The 59ers must have run that play 10 times in the game.
Elijah Tiawhan (5), JJ Johnson (2) and Boedy Burandt (16) eye the sideline for further instructions in the second quarter against Andrean. CP gained an official 269 yards but did not score until the game's final minute.
CP's Dominic Bader (25) tries to put the stop on Andrean star Drayk Bowen (34). Bowen didn't gain many yards on offense, but he was a major factor in the game.
CP's Jackson Ruess (70) locks up Andrean's Drayk Bowen (24) to the benefit of CP quarterback JJ Johnson ()2) and running back Elijah Taiwhan (5) in Friday night action.
Crown Point's Eli Davis (48) chases 59er quarterback Scott Ballentine.(12). Crown Point did not get a quarterback sack in the game.
Crown Point junior Boedy Burandt (16) is set to go in third quarter action against Andrean. CP had 13 first downs, but they did not score until the final minute of the game.
Andrean's Scott Ballentine (12) fires a swing pass to Alonzo Paul (1) early in last week's game. Ballentine completed his first seven passes in the game.
Crown Point's JJ Johnson (2) had a rough night. Here he gets a rough ride to the carpet from Andrean's 215-pound linebacker Dhmari Wright (4).
It was a festive night at Crown Point as about 3,500 fans watched pre-game ceremonies on Senior Night.
Coach Craig Buzea coaches on the home sidelines at Crown Point for the first time, facing the Class 2A No. 3 Andrean 59ers.
It was CP's first home game of the 2021 season so the 2021 girls Class 4A state basketball champions were honored. Jessica Carrothers (in the white cap) smiles with teammate Mia Depta.
Crown Point girls basketball was 25-1 last season and is 79-3 the last three seasons, in no small part due to sisters Alyna and Alyvia Santiago.
Andrean brothers Scott (12) and Robby (84) Ballentine, both former Crown Point football ball boys, smile for the cameras after they helped the 59ers to a 21-7 win at Crown Point in the first-ever meeting between the two schools. (All photos by Mark Smith.)

Copyright © 2021 and Meyer Multimedia Services, a division of Meyer Broadcasting Corp.  All rights reserved.
Revised: September 03, 2021 .



















Friday, August 27, 2021 -  85 degrees & clear (at kick-off) in home opener at CROWN POINT, Ind.

1st Qtr: ANDREAN (7-0) Alonzo Paul, 42-yard pass from Scott Ballentine. 80-yard drive, 9 plays. Nico Tovar kick. 7:20 left.
2nd Qtr: ANDREAN (14-0) Patrick Clacks, 86-yard pass from Scott Ballentine. 86-yard drive, one play. Nico Tovar kick. 7:17 left.
3rd Qtr: No scoring.

4th Qtr: ANDREAN (21-0) Bill Jones, 9-yard run (3rd and goal) . 54-yard drive, 11 plays. Nico Tovar kick. 9:47 left.
Elijah Taiwhen, 15-yard pass from JJ Johnson. 76-yard drive, eight plays. Sammy Brewer kick. 0:21 left.


ANDREAN (10 carries, 41 yards, TD): Scott Ballentine (QB) 3 carries 19 yards; Billy Jones 4 carries 21 yards, TD: Dryak Bowen (HB) 3 carries 11 yards.

CROWN POINT (29 carries, 145 yards one TD, no fumbles): JJ Johnson (QB) 11 carries, 21 yards (5 sacks) 2 TDs; Eijhah Tiawhan (RB) 18 carries, 124 yards, TD.

ANDREAN (17 of 28, 241 yards, 2 TDs) Scott Ballentine (QB) 17 of 28, 241 yards. 2 TDs, no interceptions.
CROWN POINT (16 of 23, 137 yards, one TD, one interception) JJ Johnson (QB) 16 of 23, 137 yards one TD, one interception.


ANDREAN: Robert Ballentine (WR) 6 catches, 66 yards; Jacob Jones (WR) 5 catches, 27 yards; Alonzo Paul (WR) 2 catches, 53 yards, TD; Patrick Clacks (WR) 2-90 yards, TD; Eddie Bastardo (TE) 1-5 yards; Drayk Bowen (TB) 1-0 yards;

CROWN POINT: Landen Derlich (WR) 8-76 yards, Seamus Malaski (TE) 2-12 yards; Nate Woodrick (WR) 2-28 yards, Elijah Tiawhan (RB) 2-13 yards, AJ Erdelac (WR) 1-9 yards, Boedy Burandt (WR) 1 (-1) yard.


CROWN POINT – 282 yards, 12 first downs, one turnover;
ANDREAN – 286 yards, 10 first downs, no turnovers.

CROWN POINT  (8-27-2021) After Andrean defeated Crown Point 21-7 last week in the first-ever varsity football meeting between the two schools, 59er coach Chris Skinner asked which of his players were from Crown Point and about a dozen boys stepped forward. The coach told them to pose in front of the scoreboard with the final score. That it would mean a lot to them in the years to come.
I knew playing Crown Point for the first time after 62 years in existence would mean a lot to Andrean. I just didn’t know it would mean that much.

“The fact that, until tonight, football has never been played between these two schools,” began 59er coach Chris Skinner, a 2006 Andrean graduate, after his side won last Friday. “You wouldn't believe the chatter, all the alumni who have sent me texts and emails this week. People who grew up in Crown Point and went to Andrean. People I’ve never even met. Just wishing us good luck, saying how much it (this game) means.”

“So we told the kids that. It's probably hard for them to totally get it. 17 and 18 year old kids. But this game meant a lot to the Andrean community. The decades of teams that have wanted to play here in Crown Point. It was a big game. I’d be lying if I told you it wasn’t. We told them. This isn’t just for you. This is for all the alumni.”

“Half our coaching staff is alumni. And it showed. We played hard. It wasn’t just another game.”

Andrean’s first ever varsity football visit to big neighbor Crown Point went very well. The 59ers scored the first time they had the ball and never trailed, recording the two touchdown decision. Andrean recorded five quarterback sacks. Junior linebacker Drayk Bowen blocked a Crown Point field goal. And the game was a shutout until CP scored on a pass from quarterback JJ Johnson to halfback Elijah Tiawhan with 21 seconds left in the game.

“I’ve lived here (Crown Point) my whole life,” said 15-year-old Scott Ballentine, the 59ers new quarterback, “and I dreamed of playing here. But I made a big turn. Decided to go at Andeean. And when I saw we were playing them (the Bulldogs) it was marked on the calendar. We came out here and executed tonight and we won. It's really a dream come true.”

Andrean scored quickly after the opening kickoff. Rookie QB Scott Ballentine kept the CP defense chasing with quick passes outside the hash marks. Ballentine, just 15 years old, was 6-for-6 on the opening drive and he tossed a short pass to senior Alonzo Paul who got away from the Bulldogs' coverage and raced down the sidelines for a 43-yard touchdown with 7:20 still left in the opening quarter.


In the middle of the second quarter, Crown Point’s Sammy Brewer rolled a punt to a stop at the Andrean 14-yard-line. On the first down play, Patrick Clacks lined up on the wide side of the field and was able to run by the Crown Point secondary and caught a pass by Ballentine for an 86-yard touchdown and a 14-0 Andrean lead.

“Scoring on that first drive set the tone for the game,” Scott said. “If you do that you put the other team on its heels and we did that tonight. The first touchdown was our go-to play. An RPO (run pass option) bubble (bunch of 3 receivers on one side.) We put Drayk out there and obviously they have to key on him. We got the ball outside (to Alonzo Paul) and he was gone.”

“The other one was where we had one-on-one with a fade ball. I just threw it up and he (Patrick Clacks) caught it.”

There was a crucial moment one play before the 86-yard TD. Crown Point had the ball with 4th-and-3 at their own 44 yard line. Crown Point went up to the line stood in position and shifted. Andrean made contact with the CP linemen and it appeared to be an obvious offside.

But the referees ruled that he shift was an intentional attempt to to deceive and called illegal procedure on CP. The Bulldogs punted to the Andrean 14 and Ballentine to Clacks made it 14-0 on the next play.

“I’ve done that for 15 years,” said coach Craig Buzea. “That was just the wrong call. Now we didn’t have to give up an 86-yard touchdown on the next play, but that was still the wrong call. I thought that was a turning point in the game. Those two plays. They caught us when we were a bit down.”

The Bulldogs put together a 12-play drive that was cut short when Andrean’s Robby Ballentine intercepted JJ Johnson inside the Andrean 10-yard line in the final minute of the half. Crown Point mounted another drive to start the third quarter, with Johnson going 3-for-3 passing pushing the home team to the Andrean 14-yard-line. But Brewer’s 31-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Bowen.


Andrean’s final touchdown came after the 59ers took possession at the CP 46-yard ;line. Four short passes and a 16-yard run by Scott Ballentine took the ball to the 9-yard-line where Andrean’s Billy Jones scored on a run off left tackle to up the Andrean lead to 21-0 with 9:47 left in the game.

The Bulldogs moved the ball but they couldn’t score. Andrean proved difficult to block with changing defensive fronts.

“We’re not always the biggest team” said Skinner. “But we think we have athletes. But you can't be predictable. Especially against a line like they (the Bulldogs) have. A line as big (about 270 pounds per man) as that. We gave them different looks. It worked for 47 minutes until they scored. Number five (Elijah Taiwhan) is going to be a great player. He got in the end zone. But I thought our defense was pretty much a lock down.”

“They (Andrean) were a little better than I thought,” said Buzea. “They have athletes. A whole different speed than we were accustomed to. And they were very aggressive. Once we lost one of our offensive linemen (Logan Pokropinski) in the first quarter, they took advantage of that and we took a step back.”

“We needed to stretch the field and we couldn’t. We were always behind the sticks. 2nd-and-11, 2nd-and 17. But we were playing one senior on the offensive line and they have not played together in a game like this. JJ (quarterback JJ Johnson) took a lot of shots. We’ve got to clear that up. We have to protect him.”

Buzea thought the final touchdown drive was a boost for his boys.

“Early on we moved the ball, but we couldn't capitalize in the red zone. Tried a field goal and we had it blocked. Sometimes their Xs are better than your Os. Number 34 (Drayk Bowen) does it all for them.”

“Hey, it’s a process. Everybody got all excited after we won last week (28-14 at Lowell) but its definitely a process where we want to be playing our best ball at the end of the year.”

DOG/NINER NOTES: The 21-7 victory over Crown Point prevented an 0-2 start for Andrean. The 59ers have not started a season 0-2 in 25 years. The 1996 Andrean team began the season 0-3 but still won the Class 3A Sectional 25 championship and finished at 7-5.

Andrean’s ‘RPO’ play (which many teams use) is a difficult one to handle because a wide receiver (in a 3 wide receiver formation) basically blocks the defensive back assigned to the slot receiver, freeing him up. He blocks him without grabbing him because blocking before the catch is offensive pass interference. So the blocker just ‘ties up’ the defensive back with arm bars.

“We’ve got to get off those blocks,” said CP coach Craig Buzea. “They called a couple of penalties on that, but they’re not going to call it every time.”

Andrean coach Chris Skinner loved playing in Crown Point.

“Wasn’t this a great atmosphere?” he said of the near sellout crowd, even in 80-degree humid conditions. “The fans on both sides were really into it. The kids were excited. This is what high school football is all about. Folks ask why I want to play big schools. This is why.”

After two weeks, sophomore Scott Ballentine is 47 of 70 passing for 495 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. His brother, senior Robert (Robby) Ballentine, is the 59ers leading receiver with 13 catches for 119 yards. The Ballentine boys are from Crown Point and were very happy to play together, if only for one season.

“It's incredible,” Robby said of catching passes from his brother. “I wouldn’t want anybody else. He’s always been my best friend. We do everything together. We both grew up as ball boys here.”

Scott doesn’t act young when he’s on the field and he says he can't.

“I’ve played quarterback since fifth grade in Crown Point Junior Bulldogs,” he explains. “You’ve got to come out and be composed. Be a leader. If I’m nervous, everybody will be nervous.”



Coach: Craig Buzea, 1-1 in 1st year at school, 214-88 in 29th year overall
Aug. 20 at Lowell 4A W 28 14    
Aug. 27   Andrean 2A L 7 21    
Sep. 3   Merrillville 6A © 7:00 pm    
Sep. 10 at Lake Central 6A © 7:00 pm    
Sep. 17 at Portage 6A © 7:00 pm    
Sep. 24   Valparaiso 5A © 7:00 pm    
Oct. 1   LaPorte 5A © 7:00 pm    
Oct. 8 at Chesterton 6A © 7:00 pm    
Oct. 15   Michigan City 5A © 7:00 pm    


Coach: Chris Skinner, 45-19 in 6th year at school
Aug. 20 at Merrillville 6A L 21 47    
Aug. 27 at Crown Point 6A W 21 7    
Sep. 4 at Grand Rapids Catholic (Mich.) 7:00 pm    
Sep. 10   East Chicago Central 4A 7:00 pm    
Sep. 17 at Highland 4A © 7:00 pm    
Sep. 24   Hobart 4A © 7:00 pm    
Oct. 1   Munster 5A © 7:00 pm    
Oct. 8   Kankakee Valley 4A © 7:00 pm    
Oct. 15 at Lowell 4A © 7:00 pm    

Crown Point's Next Opponent:

Coach: Brad Seiss, 43-28 in 7th year at school, 56-45 in 10th year overall
Aug. 20   Andrean 2A W 47 21    
Aug. 27   Hobart 4A W 41 14    
Sep. 3 at Crown Point 6A © 7:00 pm    
Sep. 10   Portage 6A © 7:00 pm    
Sep. 17 at Michigan City 5A © 7:00 pm    
Sep. 24   LaPorte 5A © 7:00 pm    
Oct. 1 at Valparaiso 5A © 7:00 pm    
Oct. 8 at Lake Central 6A © 7:00 pm    
Oct. 15   Chesterton 6A © 7:00 pm    

Andrean's Next Opponent:

Sep. 4 at Grand Rapids Catholic (Mich.) 7:00 pm