Week 10 Picks - 2017 NW Indiana High School Football

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith

October 20, 2017

Because Bowman Academy is ineligible for the state playoffs this fall, Lake Station can park the team bus. The Eagles get a bye this Friday in the now 7-team Class 2A Sectional 33. (Photo by Mark Smith)

Mr. Picker - WEEK (10) TEN:

LOWELL (10-20-2017)
I've found you can pay a little more attention to state rankings in the post-season because teams face teams their own size.

Last week, Class 3A No. 2 West Lafayette (8-0) took on 2A No. 3 Tipton (9-0). West Lafayette won 51-6. The difference being 1.) The 2 classes, and 2.) West Lafayette might beat anybody this year.

In the sectional quarterfinal this week, 1A No. 1 Pioneer (9-0) takes on 1A No. 6 Carroll (8-1). We're talking 1A public schools here. Both schools are on the same level and play similar schedules.

In Class 4A, in Evansville. No. 2 (Evansville) Reitz (8-1) and No. 3 (Evansville) Central (8-1) meet in the first round Friday. Again. An even match level playing field enrollment wise and school type. Either team could win, but I can almost guarantee you it won't be 51-6.

This is the concept of class formatted state playoffs which basketball people have grumbled about for 20 years, but football folks have accepted as right and just for 40 years now.

Okay. The six week Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) tournament is here. All playoff games get picked. No matter how vivid the scores may be. We can't leave anyone out.

You all know that Class 5A and 6A get byes and have no games this week. In the other four smaller classes, these games will be sectional quarterfinals. All games will be played on Friday night. In Northwest Indiana, there didn't seem to be any bad draws matching top winning teams in the first game. That's good. The better teams won't meet until the sectional semifinals and finals.

'Mr. Picker' WEEK-9, 2017 Football Picks in Review:
Oct. 13-14, 2017

Wrong - 2; Right - 10 = 83.3%

The Pick The Result

Gavit 34, Gary West Side 14  

Gavit 32-6

Andrean 28, Highland 7  

Andrean 41-6

Kankakee Valley 24, Munster 21  

(wrong) Munster 28-21

Wheeler 35, Calumet 12  

Wheeler 30-23

Griffith 42, Hanover 7  

Griffith 56-21

Whiting 35, River Forest 14  

Whiting 8-6

New Prairie 42, Jimtown 21  

New Prairie 47-13

LaPorte 35, Portage 28  

LaPorte 36-33

MERRILLVILLE 27, Chesterton 20  

(wrong) Chesterton 14-7

Valpo 27, Lake Central 14  

Valparaiso 42-8

LOWELL 21, Hobart 7  


Michigan City 21, CROWN POINT 17  

Michigan City 17-15


WEEK (1) ONE (8 of 12, 66.7%)

WEEK (2) TWO (9 of 12, 75.0%)
WEEK (3) THREE (7 of 12, 58.3%)
WEEK (4) FOUR (11 of 12, 91.7%)
WEEK (5) FIVE (6 of 12, 50.0%)
WEEK (6) SIX (9 of 11, 81.8%)
WEEK (7) SEVEN (10 of 12, 83.3%)
WEEK (8) EIGHT (9 of 12, 75.0%)
WEEK (9) NINE (10 of 12, 83.3%)
2017 TOTAL: 79 of 107, 73.8%


ANALYSIS: Can't say that KV and Merrillville should have won, but I thought they could have won. This was a good week. Very close to 12-0. Not quite 75% for the regular season. That's OK. Early round playoff games are more predictable.

WORST PICK: Merrillville over Chesterton. I still think the Pirates are as good as Chesterton but they had lost five on a row. KV over Munster wasn't really a bad pick. KV led late.

BEST PICK: LaPorte over Portage 35-28. The final was 36-33. The score was very much in the neighborhood. LaPorte is predictable in that they will score on most everyone and they will give up 20-30 a night.


'Mr. Picker' (Through the Years)
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 2017 WEEK (10) TEN:

Class 1A SECTIONAL 41 Quarterfinals

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

WINAMAC (10-20-2017)
South Central has lost four in a row. Winamac has not defeated anyone with a record better than 2-7. Both teams allow more points, on average, than they score. These schools haven't met since 2011. I'm going to take Winamac to win at home. But I have no real reason why.

Winamac 28, South Central 21

Caston (1-8) at Triton (6-3):

TRITON (10-20-2017)
This one isn't hard to figure. Caston has lost eight in a row since berating West Central (0-9). Triton has lost only to Bremen (4-5), Knox (8-1) and top-ranked Pioneer (9-0). In the earlier meeting, Triton won 50-13.

Triton 38, Caston 7

West Cental (0-9) at Culver (5-4):

CULVER (10-20-2017)
West Central has scored 88 points all season. Culver's defense has three shutouts, one 48-0 over West Central which has lost 28 of their last 30. Some teams shouldn't be in the state tournament and they know it.

Culver 42, West Central 0

North Judson (4-5) at LaVille (5-4):

LAKEVILLE (10-20-2017)
LaVille beat North Judson 33-0 two weeks ago. Unless Judson was hiding a secret strategy (and several more players) they will whip out this Friday, this game will be the same.

LaVille 27, North Judson 7

Class 2A SECTIONAL 33 Quarterfinals

Whiting (6-2) at North Newton (5-4):

MOROCCO (10-20-2017)
North Newton had won four in a row until they lost to Tri-County (8-1) last week. But Whiting has only lost to Boone Grove (6-3) and Griffith (8-1). I'm not sure this is close.

Whiting 21, North Newton 7

River Forest (4-5) at Boone Grove (6-3):

PORTER TOWNSHIP (10-20-2017)
This might be Boone's best year since they started football in 2011. I know they lost to River Forest 21-14 in August, but the Wolves have won six of their last seven. River Forest played Whiting close last week, but I don't think there's any way they beat Boone again.

Boone Grove 28, River Forest 7

Bishop Noll (0-8) vs. Gary Roosevelt (6-2):

GARY (10-20-2017)
Bishop Noll has lost 32 games in a row, so what can I say here? Good year for Roosevelt against a very strange out-of-town schedule. But Noll has lost 32 in a row.

Roosevelt 32, Bishop Noll 8

Class 3A SECTIONAL 25 Quarterfinals

Clark (1-8) at Wheeler (4-5):

UNION TOWNSHIP (10-20-2017)
Clark broke their 3-year losing streak in September and they average scoring 23 points a game. Wheeler has lost a couple in a row. Clark hasn't won even one sectional game since 2008. If there is a major upset on opening playoff night in NW Indiana, here it is. But, there won't be.

Wheeler 42, Clark 24


MERRILLVILLE (10-20-2017)
First post-season meeting ever and this is a mismatch. The 59ers actually tied Hobart and stayed with Lowell (9-0) into the third quarter. Hanover lost by five TDs to Griffith last week. They just got a bad draw here.

Andrean 42, Hanover Central 14

Calumet (3-6) at Twin Lakes (4-5):

MONTICELLO (10-20-2017)
Calumet has to make a 2-hour bus ride for a sectional quarterfinal? Really? Twin Lakes has been shut out four times but in the other five games, they average 33 points a game. I can't explain that.

Twin Lakes 28, Calumet 16

Benton Central (2-7) at West Lafayette (8-1):

WEST LAFAYETTE (10-20-2017)
West Lafayette beat Benton Central 59-0 on September 29. The Red Devils, who are 31-6 the last three seasons, average 46 points a game and have not been held under 29. This is one of those games that should not be played.

West Lafayette 56, Benton Central 0

Class 4A SECTIONAL 18 Quarterfinals

New Prairie (8-1) at (South Bend) Washington (3-6):

SOUTH BEND (10-20-2017)
New Prairie has scored at least six TDs in each of their last eight games. In September, they beat Washington 46-7. This is a business trip for the Cougars and it will be over quickly.

New Prairie 56, (SB) Washington 6

(South Bend) Clay (0-9) at Mishawaka (5-4):

MISHAWAKA (10-20-2017)
If you don't win a game during the regular season, you should not be in the state tournament. And you should be OK with that. Mishawaka beat Clay 47-0 in September. You should have to win at least one game to make the playoffs.

Mishawaka 56, Clay 0

Kankakee Valley (3-6) at (South Bend) Riley (6-3):

SOUTH BEND (10-20-2017)
KV is better than their record. The problem is: Riley might be, too. Riley has lost to Marian (6-3), New Prairie (8-1) and Leo (7-2). The Riley Wildcats average 33 points a game. This may not be close.

Riley 34, KV 24

Hobart (6-3) at (South Bend) St Joseph's (3-6):

SOUTH BEND (10-20-2017)
Hobart QB Sam Erlich, a 1,000-yard rusher, didn't play last week. If he's back, the Brickies win here. If he's not playing, St. Joe, which has lost to Northridge (9-0), Penn (8-1), Concord (8-1) and Culver Academy (8-1) will win. I don't know, but I think Erlich will play.

Hobart 28, St. Joseph's 14

Class 4A SECTIONAL 17 Quarterfinals

East Chicago (4-5) at Morton (7-2):

HAMMOND (10-20-2017)
Morton has won six in a row since losses to Plymouth (6-3) and Lowell (9-0) and Morton won at East Chicago 42-10 two weeks ago. EC has had an 'unusual' season and they've done some things. But one thing you cannot do is make up 32 points in two weeks.

Morton 42, East Chicago 8

Hammond (3-6) at Griffith (8-1):

GRIFFITH (10-20-2017)
Griffith moved to the small school Greater South Shore Conference (GSSC) this year and they dominated it with eight consecutive wins. Hammond has lost three in a row and they are just overmatched here.

Griffith 49, Hammond 14

Highland (3-6) at Gavit (4-5):

HAMMOND (10-20-2017)
The game of the week. Gavit has won their last three after a 1-5 start. Highland is 3-6 but losses are to Lowell (9-0), Morton (7-2), Hobart (6-3) and Andrean (6-3). Will Highland's tougher schedule deny Gavit's recent success?  I don't think so. But it's close.

Gavit 27, Highland 21

Gary West Side (2-7) at LOWELL (9-0):

LOWELL (10-20-2017)
West Side has only beaten Clark (1-8) and arch rival Roosevelt (6-3). But the losses include Hobart (6-3), Gavit and Morton (7-2). Lowell has allowed 55 points all season and they may not be able to find much motivation to roll up the points here.
This won't be one of those 56-0 games.

LOWELL 35, Gary West Side 0

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Revised: October 19, 2017 .