Week 10 Picks - 2020 NW Indiana High School Football

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith

October 19, 2020


Whiting and Bishop Noll have a combined 'one' varsity football victory this fall. But that won't matter late Friday. Somebody's going to end up on the happy side of the scoreboard after their Class 2A Sectional 33 playoff game at Bishop Noll this Friday night. (Photo by Mark Smith)

Mr. Picker - WEEK (10) TEN:

MERRILLVILLE (10-23-2020)
We start the playoffs with Class 5A and Class 6A both being idle, so we’ll pick a total of five sectionals in four classes in week 10.
As you long time readers know, during the season, ‘Mr. Picker’ throws out games that seem lopsided and doesn’t pick them. That ends now. We pick entire sectionals. This is the post-season for pickers, too.

I’m not a fan of the all-inclusive (everybody gets in) state tournament. Schools like Lowell and Andrean are usually on the high end of first round state tournament mismatches, but it's still a bad idea for teams that have lost all season to be sentenced to another defeat in a physical, injury-friendly contact sport.

The theory is: It's fair that teams that have lost every week be forced to take another whipping disguised as a ‘second chance’ in the second season. I don’t like the idea of some 0-8 or 1-8 team getting beat down on a cold, October night for somebody else’s concept of fairness.

But here we go. Get ready to see more ‘running clocks’ than you’d see in the entire NBA playoffs.

But first, a look back at Mr. Picker's Week-9 predictions, and how he did.


'Mr. Picker' WEEK-9, 2020 Football Picks
in Review: Oct. 16-17, 2020

Wrong - 2 Right - 7 = 77.7%

The Pick The Result

Kankakee Valley 23, Highland 17


Griffith 30, Wheeler 20  

(wrong) Wheeler 52-17

Boone Grove 35, Whiting 14  

Boone 42-19

Pioneer 35, North Judson 14  

Pioneer 38-13

HANOVER 35, South Central 21  


LaPorte 27, Portage 20  

(wrong) Portage 34-28 (OT)

Western 28, Rensselaer 21  

Western 49-42



Morton 28, Gavit 26  

Morton 44-14

MERRILLVILLE 34, Chesterton 21  



WEEK NINE (in review):
I give myself a pass on KV and Highland. Didn’t know that would be canceled. I also give myself a pass on LaPorte-Portage because that game went to overtime. Could have gone either way. I don't have an excuse for Griffith and Wheeler. Wheeler beat Griffith by 35 points and if they played again tomorrow, I’d probably still pick Griffith. I don’t know what happened there. Best pick of the week? Probably Pioneer over North Judson by 21. (They won by 25). This isn’t ‘Breaking News,’ but Pioneer is a difficult team to play.

‘Mr. Picker’ (by the week)
WEEK ONE: 6 of 9, 66.6%
WEEK TWO: 6 of 10, 60.0%
WEEK THREE: 8 of 10, 80.0%
WEEK FOUR: 9 of 9, 100%
WEEK FIVE: 7 of 10, 70%
WEEK SIX: 5 of 7, 71.4%
WEEK SEVEN: 7 of 9, 77.7%
WEEK EIGHT: 8 of 9, 88.8%
WEEK NINE: 7 of 9, 77.7%
SEASON TOTAL (overall): 63 of 82, 76.8%

'Mr. Picker' (15 Years)
2019 (final) OVERALL: 126 of 166 = 75.9%
2018 (final) OVERALL: 148 of 191 = 77.4%
2017 (final) OVERALL: 137 of 184 = 74.4%
2016 (final) OVERALL: 119 of 170 = 70.0%
2015 (final) OVERALL: 131 of 174 = 75.2%
2014 (final) OVERALL: 131 of 176 = 74.4%
2013 (final) OVERALL: 130 of 175 = 74.2%
2012 (final) OVERALL: 137 of 177 = 77.4%
2011 (final) OVERALL: 134 of 184 = 72.7%
2010 (final) OVERALL: 135 of 184 = 73.3%
2009 (final) OVERALL: 154 of 212 = 72.6%
2008 (final) OVERALL: 145 of 193 = 75.1%
2007 (final) OVERALL: 143 of 188 = 76.0%
2006 (final) OVERALL: 166 of 217 = 76.4%
2005 (final) OVERALL: 170 of 233 = 72.9%

Mr. Picker 2020 WEEK (10) TEN:

Class 1A Sectional 41

Winamac (5-2) at South Central (4-5):

UNION MILLS (10-23-2020)
The ‘Mac’ is back as Winamac has won four in a row after a 1-2 start. To be fair, the Warriors have defeated four 1A schools in a row and last week’s 10-9 win over sub-.500 Triton (3-5) was not exactly a game they will treasure forever. But South Central hasn’t beaten anyone with a winning record and they gave up a surprising 48 points last week to Hanover. This could go big, either way. Winamac has allowed just 87 points in eight games. South Central averages 31 points a game.

Winamac 28, South Central 14

Culver (2-7) at Lake Station (0-8):

LAKE STATION (10-23-2020)
Does Lake Station have a chance? Maybe. The Eagles have won just two games in three years, but they will be at home and Culver averages just 18 points a game. With that said, Culver won at Lake Station 60-14 last season. It would make the Eagles season if they could win one playoff game at home.

Culver 20, Lake Station 12

North Judson (7-2) at West Central (2-7):

FRANCESVILLE (10-23-2020)
West Central is coming off a good 24-6 win over Frontier (5-3) that makes me wonder if WC was shorthanded in some other games or if Frontier was shorthanded last Friday. But Judson has lost only to Knox (5-4) and Pioneer (8-1) and the loss to Pioneer was last week 38-13. That defeat might have been the worst thing that could have happened to West Central

North Judson 35, West Central 8

Class 2A Sectional 33

ANDREAN (8-1) at Boone Grove (3-6):

PORTER TOWNSHIP (10-23-2020)
This is a mismatch. The ‘running clock’ kicks in when one team is ahead by 35 points. The clock simply never stops until the game is over. Boone was 10-0 last year when Andrean beat them 27-0. Boone is 3-6 this year and Andrean is No. 1 in the state in 2A. The 59ers have scored at least 30 points for seven weeks in a row. They make it eight. The clock will be ‘running’ the entire second half.

ANDREAN 35, Boone Grove 0

Whiting (0-2) at Bishop Noll (1-7):

HAMMOND (10-23-2020)
Noll’s only win is 64-54 over Lake Station and that win broke a 39-game five-year losing streak. Whiting had seven games canceled by the Covid-19 situation this fall and the Oilers have lost 49-12 and 42-19 in the two games they have played. Noll is at home, but Noll is almost in Whiting. It's hardly a road trip. I like the Oilers to get that first win here.

Whiting 26, Noll 20

Wheeler (6-3) at North Newton (4-4):

MOROCCO (10-23-2020)
North Newton has improved as the season has gone on. The Spartans have won three of their last four and all of North Newton’s losses have been to winning teams. But Wheeler has averaged 32 points a game and halfback Trey Gibson has gained 1,325 yards and 19 touchdowns on 169 carries. This one is close, but the visitors will go home happy.

Wheeler 28, North Newton 20

Bowman Academy (2-6) at Rensselaer (5-4):

RENSSELAER (10-23-2020)
This is a long trip for Bowman and I hope they enjoy the ride because the game won't be fun. Bowman’s only wins are over East Chicago (0-5) and Lake Station (1-7). I think the Eagles are short of players this year as they had a disjointed season like a lot of teams. Rensselaer was 3-2 the final five weeks with losses only to West Lafayette (8-1) and Western (8-1). The Bombers' running attack is tough to stop.

Rensselaer 42, Bowman 6

Class 3A Sectional 25

Calumet (2-1) at Hammond (1-2):

HAMMOND (10-23-2020)
Here’s another mismatch. Calumet lost to a very strong Gibson Southern team. Hammond lost to Morton (3-0) and Gavit (1-2), teams that have only played three city foes. This will be a running clock game in the second half.

Calumet 49, Hammond 6

Knox (5-4) at Benton Central (0-9):

OXFORD (10-23-2020)
Here’s another game that should not be played. Benton Central has scored just 69 points all season, while Knox has played four Top-10 teams. Football is not a sport where every team should make the post-season and this game will display why.

Knox 42, Benton Central 0

HANOVER CENTRAL (7-2) at Twin Lakes (5-3):

MONTICELLO (10-23-2020)
This is a hard call because Twin Lakes plays a tougher schedule than Hanover does. Twin Lakes’ three losses are to Hamilton Heights (4-5), Class 1A No. 7 Adams Central (6-2) and Class 3A No. 3 West Lafayette (8-1). But Hanover has won four in a row and averages 46 points a game. HC lost 63-35 at Twin Lakes one year ago, but I think this can be an upset. I like the Cats to get back on the bus with a victory.
HANOVER 28, Twin Lakes 24

River Forest (6-3) at Clark (0-3):

HAMMOND (10-23-2020)
Again, this game is not in doubt. River Forest hasn’t won seven games in any season since 2011. Clark will play the final game in school history on their home field. Hopefully, they can score the last touchdown.

River Forest 42, Clark 14

Class 4A Sectional 18

St. Joseph’s (2-7) at Clay (1-8):

SOUTH BEND (10-23-2020)
On reputation, you would say that St. Joseph’s would win easily, but St. Joe has some hard core losses this fall. For the record, St. Joe has lost to Elkhart (7-0), Marian (7-0), Bremen (7-2), Northridge (6-2), Penn (5-4), New Prairie (5-4) and Culver Academy (3-5). Clay has only scored 59 points all season.

St. Joe 35, Clay 0

Logansport (3-6) at Riley (3-6):

SOUTH BEND (10-23-2020)
Neither team has defeated anyone with a winning record, but Logansport is the only team to lose to Richmond (1-7). Riley is also hurting defensively. Five teams have scored 30 or more against them. I Like Logansport in a high-scoring game.

Logansport 38, Riley 33

New Prairie (5-4) at Plymouth (1-5):

PLYMOUTH (10-23-2020)
I can't figure this one for sure. Plymouth has struggled all season but they won for the first time 37-12 over Wawasee last week. New Prairie has been crunched the last two weeks but the Cougars played Penn (5-4) and Elkhart (7-0). All four New Prairie losses have been to state rated Top-10 teams.

New Prairie 42, Plymouth 14

Kankakee Valley (5-3) at Culver Academy (3-5):

CULVER (10-23-2020)
The best thing that could happen to Kankakee Valley last week did happen: Their game was cancelled. KV needed the week off. Culver Academy has battled a good schedule, but they average just a bit over 18 points a game. KV has lost to Lowell (7-1), Andrean (8-1) and Hobart (6-2) but none of those teams are in 4A Sectional 18.

KV 28, Culver 14

Class 4A Sectional 17

East Chicago (0-5) at Gary West Side (2-5):

GARY (10-23-2020)
West Side is not a power, but EC has not been right all year. The Cougars have only beaten Bowman and EC, but the EC game was 36-6. East Chicago will be glad to move on to basketball.

Gary West Side 26, East Chicago 8

Hobart (6-2) at Gavit (2-1):

HAMMOND (10-23-2020)
This is not an even match and it will be the final game for Gavit as a high school. Hobart is the defending sectional and regional champ. The Brickies have allowed just 96 points in eight games. Gavit has no chance to win. I just hope they score in their final game ever.

Hobart 35, Gavit 6

Morton (3-0) at Lowell (7-1):

LOWELL (10-23-2020)
Lowell got buried early in a 35-14 loss at 2A No. 1 Andrean last week. Morton has defeated Hammond city schools Hammond, Clark and Gavit by scores of 38-8, 42-6 and 44-14. The Governors have shown some offensive skill players in their short season, but Lowell runs the ball for over 200 yards a game. Can Morton stop them for four quarters?

Let me think on this one until Thursday?

Griffith (4-3) at Highland (3-4):

HIGHLAND (10-23-2020) Griffith should beat Highland, but Griffith shouldn’t have lost to Wheeler 52-17 last week. Senior Carson Crowe is back at QB and Highland averages 17.4 points a game. Griffith is another team with a small roster (less than 40 players) so one or two injuries or absences affect them greatly. Highland is coming off losses to Lowell (7-1) and Hobart (6-2). Do the Trojans have a big game in them? Maybe.

Highland 27, Griffith 24

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Revised: October 19, 2020 .