Week 10 Picks - 2019 NW Indiana High School Football

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith

October 21, 2019

The big game on opening night of the state tournament is in Hammond where the Hobart Brickies carry a 7-game winning streak in against the Morton Governors, who have won eight in a row. (Photo by Mark Smith)


Mr. Picker - WEEK (10) TEN:

VALPARAISO (10-25-2019)
Okay, as many of you longtime readers know, the ‘picker’ rules change for the state tournament. I am required by law now to pick entire sectionals and I can't leave out the games I don't like or don't know much about (like last week’s Lowell-Hobart game, apparently).

Class 6A and Class 5A get a week 10 ‘bye’ and I don't understand why the big schools get a bye and the small 1A and 2A schools, which operate with fewer players, do not. Even putting 32- 40 (allowing for expansion of the field) teams in Class 1A and 32 in Class 6A would be better than what we have now.

Class 1A teams need the week off that 5A and 6A teams get now. A total of 186 teams get to play in November and the field for ‘Round of 32’ will be solidified late Friday night. More on what’s going to happen below.

First, let's recap last week's results for 'Mr. Picker.'

'Mr. Picker' WEEK-9, 2019 Football Picks in Review:
Oct. 18-19, 2019

Wrong - 1; Right - 9 = 90.0%

The Pick The Result

Lake Station 26, South Newton 12  

Lake Station 46-44 (OT)

Andrean 30, Highland 14  

Andrean 28-21

LaPorte 17, Portage 10  

LaPorte 20-14

Morton 56, Clark 8  

Morton 49-0

Hanover Central 27, South Central 17  

Hanover 44-14

Griffith 28, Wheeler 21  

Griffith 37-8

CP 16, Michigan City 14  

CP 28-21

LOWELL 27, Hobart 24  

(wrong) Hobart 38-7

Merrillville 37, Chesterton 34  

Merrillville 27-20

Elkhart Central 28, New Prairie 27  

Elkhart Central 31-28

‘Mr. Picker’ (by the week)
WEEK ONE: 9 of 15, 60.0%
WEEK TWO: 8 of 12, 66.7%
WEEK THREE: 6 of 12, 50.0%
WEEK FOUR: 10 of 10, 100.0%
WEEK FIVE: 8 of 10, 80.0%
WEEK SIX: 5 OF 10, 50%
WEEK SEVEN: 9 OF 10, 90%
WEEK EIGHT: 9 OF 10, 90%
WEEK NINE: 9 OF 10, 90%
SEASON TOTAL: 73 of 99, 73.7%

ANALYSIS: Three consecutive 9-out-of-10s to finish the regular season. I’ll take that. And if I’d watched more Hobart game tape, I'd have been 10-out-of-10. Lowell was not in that game. I wish I knew more about the Lake Station 46-44 win over South Newton. South Newton had lost 30 in a row and Lake Station hadn't won a home game in three years and the final is 46-44 in overtime? But no one who wasn’t there will ever see it. I wish every school’s game was on radio and TV somewhere. Okay, after a poor first three weeks (24 of 39, 61.5%), I’m back up near the 75% ‘standard’ where good pickers should live. I’m eyeing 78% which would be a ‘Mr. Picker’ record. Maybe I’m not getting older. I’m getting better.

'Mr. Picker' (13 Years)
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 2019 WEEK (10) TEN:

Here’s what’s going to happen.

CLASS 2A Sectional 33

Rensselaer (7-2) at Wheeler (4-5):

(10-25-2019) Rensselaer rides the big, yellow bus up to Lake County to take on the Bearcats who lost their last two to Hanover and Griffith. Take away the 44-7 loss to West Lafayette and Rensselaer has allowed just 71 points (8.8 per game) in the other eight games.

Rensselaer 30, Wheeler 16

Boone Grove (9-0) at Whiting (2-7):

WHITING (10-25-2019)
Boone Grove beat Whiting 56-0 just last week so there’s not lot to say about this rematch seven days later. There is much less chance of major upsets in the smaller classes than there is in the larger ones. Fewer players. Fewer variables. Barring injury or illness, Boone wins easily again.

Boone Grove 35, Whiting 0

Andrean (6-3) at Bowman Academy (3-6):

GARY (10-25-2019)
I don't know where this game will be played, but I know the outcome. No 2A school has played the schedule Andrean has and Bowman chose to play a Saturday night game in the final week of the season, so it's a short week for them. No need to worry about the practice schedule for next week.

Andrean 42, Bowman 7

CLASS 3A Sectional 25

Hanover Central (6-3) at Twin Lakes (3-6):

MONTICELLO (10-25-2019)
The Wildcats get on that big, yellow bus to head to White County where they will face a dangerous team that lost to Hamilton Heights 27-20 in September and defeated them 28-21 last week. Hanover has held five teams to 14 points or less. The Cats ride home on the happy bus.

Hanover Central 28, Twin Lakes 26

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

HAMMOND (10-25-2019)
Clark has lost their last three games and the teams they beat early have a combined record of 4-31. The Pioneers are not ready for the school of hard ‘Knox’. This is not the Redskins who lose every Sunday. Did you know that Knox is 33-10 the last four years? I didn't. Knox has allowed just 84 points in nine games and it will be 84 in 10 after Friday.
Knox 35, Clark 0

Calumet (7-1) at Hammond (0-8):

HAMMOND (10-25-2019)
I don't know where they will play this one with the Hammond campus under construction and Morton occupied this Friday. But that’s not the point. Some teams simply should not be in the state tournament and, this season, Hammond is one of them. If you force schools to go to a ’running clock’ when one side gets a 35-point lead, presumably for safety, why force winless teams to play another game where they are certain get beaten up and lose?

Calumet 49, Hammond 0

River Forest (5-4) at Benton Central (1-8):

OXFORD (10-25-2019)
Folks at River Forest might not know where Oxford is. But BC won their first game of the season last week 27-19 over Northwestern so the Bison boys will be ready to play. River has five wins over losing teams and four losses to winning teams. This may be close, but Benton Central is at home and they have faced a tougher schedule than RF.

Benton Central 20, River Forest 14

Class 4A Sectional 18

New Prairie (8-1) at (SB) Riley (5-4):

SOUTH BEND (10-25-2019)
New Prairie beat Riley 48-14 two weeks ago so you know where this one is going. This draw was a break for New Prairie because it means they will host the sectional semifinals. Riley is a decent team, but they’ve allowed more points (243) than they have scored (208) this season. Riley just got a bad draw here. Basketball practice starts next week.

New Prairie 35, Riley 14

(SB) Clay (1-8) at Culver Military Academy (5-4):

CULVER (10-25-2019)
The Academy is better than their record. CMA has lost only to Harrison (7-2), Hobart (7-2), Brebeuf (7-2) and (Mishawaka) Marian (8-1). Clay has scored just 51 points all season, so it's basketball time for them next week as well.

CMA 49, Clay 0

Logansport (2-7) at (SB) St. Joseph’s (1-8):

SOUTH BEND (10-25-2019)
St. Joe was 0-8 until last week’s much less chance of major upset 42-12 win over Adams (0-9). Here’s where predictions can't be swayed by the past. St. Joe has great tradition, but their defense has allowed 306 points this season. Logansport is in the same boat. They were 1-7 until a 51-41 win over Muncie Central (0-9) last week. Both teams play very difficult schedules. Logansport has allowed 382 points in nine games. I have no idea who wins here, so I’ll take the team that does not have to travel.

St. Joe 34, Logansport 21

Kankakee Valley (4-5) at Plymouth (7-2):

PLYMOUTH (10-25-2019)
KV is better than their record. They lost 12-7 to Rensselaer (7-2) and 14-7 to South Bend Washington (6-3). But Plymouth averages 32 points a game and they feature senior Joe Barron who is 173 of 306 for 2,501 yards and 26 TDs (just seven interceptions). Note the number: 306 pass attempts in nine games. They’re not trying to fool you.

Plymouth 35, KV 20

Class 4A Sectional 17

Griffith (7-2) at Gavit (3-6):

HAMMOND (10-25-2019)
Gavit has the better record and they have won three in a row, but that’s misleading. Gavit has beaten Hammond (0-8), Gary West Side (2-6) and Clark (4-5). Griffith has won the last two weeks 34-6 and 37-8 and the Panthers have faced a far tougher schedule than Gavit. The Panthers should roll here.

Griffith 33, Gavit 12

Gary West Side (2-6) at LOWELL (5-4):

LOWELL (10-25-2019)
‘The Side’ only has wins over Roosevelt (0-9) and Clark (4-5), but they lost to Gavit last week 36-34 and Crispus Attucks 27-26. This is not a bad offensive team. Lowell pride took a beating last week in the 38-7 loss at Hobart. The Devils also may be short some players. I don't know about this week. Other than a lucky final minute TD, Lowell’s offense has been shut down and out two weeks in a row.

Check back with me Thursday for the pick.

Highland (3-6) at East Chicago (6-3):

EAST CHICAGO (10-25-2019)
Highland is better than 3-6. They lost 33-30 at KV and 28-21 to Andrean. EC’s losses are to Hanover (6-3), Morton (8-1) and Boone Grove (9-0) and they have not defeated a team with a winning record. If there is an upset on opening night in Northwest Indiana, here it is.

Highland 28, East Chicago 21

Hobart (7-2) at Morton (8-1):

HAMMOND (10-25-2019)
The big local game on opening night of the state tournament sends the Northwest Crossroads Conference (NCC) champ Hobart west to play the Great Lakes Conference (GLC) champ Morton. Morton got injured QB Cordell Prather back in the lineup last week and he threw for four TDs in a 49-0 win over Clark. DJ Lipke ran for four touchdowns as Hobart totally dominated Lowell 38-7 and the Brickies have not allowed more than 27 points in any game this season. Morton averages 49 points a game. Hobart’s schedule prepares them for this game.

Hobart 31, Morton 21

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Revised: October 22, 2019 .