(INDIANAPOLIS) – After a stellar performance in the home opener against Davenport on Saturday, Justin Growel (RS-Jr., East Troy, Wisc. / East Troy) has been named the G-MAC Defensive Player of the Week. His efforts helped Lake Erie stay in the game as he led the defense to a shutout of the Panthers in the second half, the second consecutive week the defense accomplished the feat against its opponent.
It's the first player of the week selection for the Storm since Jason Rogers and Mike Muzic both were honored after a win against Kentucky Wesleyan in October 2017. Growel also has the single-season conference record for tackles for a loss and over the weekend, passed Alderson Broaddus' Quade Raley as the all-time league career leader in that category.
Growel, an All-G-MAC Second Team selection a year ago, finished the day with nine tackles. Four of them went for a loss with two of those being quarterback sacks. In addition to that, he forced two fumbles, one of which he recovered.
The fumble recovery came at a pivotal moment as he sacked Davenport's Deondre Ford for a loss of nine yards while in the process of forcing the loose ball. While the play did come on a fourth down late in the game, it helped set up the Storm with better field position on their own 38 yard line.
"Justin plays with constant tenacity," said Head Coach Reilly Murphy. "I'm glad he is being acknowledged for his efforts."
The offense was then able to drive down the field for an opportunity to win the game before time ran out in the red zone.
The Storm will head north this week to take on Hillsdale to start conference play. Kickoff with the Chargers is set for 4 p.m.