Week 12 Picks - 2018 NW Indiana High School Football

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith

October 29, 2018


Valparaiso takes the long ride to Penn to see if they can stop the Kingsmen from winning the sectional title for a sixth consecutive season. (Photo by Mark Smith)

"Mr. Picker" - WEEK (12) TWELVE:

VALPARAISO (11-02-2018)
(11-02-2018) It's sectional championship week and the games get a lot closer now that we’re in championship territory.
At least let's hope so.

I’m uneasy with some of the final scores I’ve seen in high school football this season.

Pioneer over Carroll 74-0. West Lafayette over Twin Lakes 74-0. Michigan City over Munster 74-19.
New Palestine has won games by scores of 77-0, 81-13, 76-7, 77-7 and 84-13.

Coaches. Stop it.

Once you are ahead by six or seven touchdowns in the second half, just stop scoring.

I know there are other factors. Many times you put freshmen or JV players into a game that isn't close and the freshman do well and score.

Sometimes the defense scores on a fumble or pass interception. You cant ask the boys to not score with a turnover, right? Sometimes there’s special teams' TDs on kickoffs or punts. You can't ask boys not to run a punt back for a TD.

Wrong. You can. Once the score gets to 49-0- or 56-0, give the boys orders to run into the center of the line and not score. You don’t have to score on offense if you don’t want to. Fair catch all punts when you’re seven or eight TDs ahead.

Maybe there’s a boy on your team who has never scored a TD. This will be his only chance to get into the end zone. You’ve got to get him that TD, even if you are nine touchdowns ahead. Right?

Wrong. Tell him to gain all the yards he wants, but not to score. And tell him why.
Coaches say, “I'm not coaching that other team. I can only coach my team. It's their job to stop us.

Sounds really tough, right? Sounds like a big man.

A man with swagger. A true leader.

My opinion? I feel safe saying that nobody in the history of football has ever come from 56-0 behind to win.

The truth? By the time it's 35-0, the boys on the other side have been beaten. They are hurting. They are down 40 or 50 or 60 points and they are being humiliated. Imagine you were one of those boys and how you would feel when you ram in another TD. Imagine how their parents feel.

Coaches feel they are educators and that their job is to make men out of boys. Okay. Men don’t humiliate other men, even in sport, just because they can. Too much ego is a character flaw. Run into the line. Fair catch the kicks. Fall down before you get to the goal line. 41-0 and 81-0 is the same victory.

As always, check back with me on Thursday for the Crown Point-Merrillville game and the Lowell-Morton battle. Just trying to keep you in suspense. In the meantime, a review of last week's 'Mr. Picker' results:

'Mr. Picker' WEEK-11, 2018 Football Picks in Review:
Oct. 26-27, 2018

Wrong - 1; Right - 15 = 93.7%

The Pick The Result

Boone Grove 56, Lake Station 0  

Boone 47-0

Whiting 42, Gary Roosevelt 0  

Whiting 48-0

Lewis Cass 27, Rensselaer 20  

Cass 14-7

Eastbrook 28, Rochester 7  

Eastbrook 48-20

West Lafayette 49, Twin Lakes 14  

West Lafayette 74-0

ANDREAN 34, Hanover Central 14  


Mishawaka 42, Riley 7  

Mishawaka 35-28

St. Joseph’s 34, New Prairie 28  

St. Joe 42-30

Morton 35, East Chicago 6  

Morton 48-9

LOWELL 35, Griffith 7  

LOWELL 42-14

Adams 29, LaPorte 28  

(wrong) LaPorte 33-19

Michigan City 42, Munster 7  

Michigan City 72-19

Valparaiso 27, Chesterton 10  

Valparaiso 55-7

Penn 28, Warsaw 7  

Penn 16-7

MERRILLVILLE 28, Lake Central 7  


CROWN POINT 17, Portage 10  



Week Eleven Review: Almost perfect. And the kicker is: I was really high on LaPorte early in the season and I didn’t have faith in them in a fairly even match with Adams. In the interest of full disclosure and upon further review (I love those cliches), this was not a difficult week. A lot of teams here that won big were supposed to win big. In the first two weeks of the post-season, obviously, we’re eliminating some teams that were making their post-season debuts. From this point on, everybody is coming in off a win.

BEST PICK: Clearly St. Joe over New Prairie 34-28. St. Joe won 34-20 after New Prairie had defeated them in the regular season 44-28. It's always a tough call to go against the team that won the first time in a rematch.

WORST PICK: Obviously, Adams over LaPorte 29-28 with LaPorte winning 33-19. I thought the game would be a lot more high-scoring, and that would be tough on the Slicers who almost never throw the ball. All credit to LaPorte here. They won fairly decisively.

‘Mr. Picker’  2018 RESULTS
WEEK (11) 15 of 16 = 93.7%
WEEK (10) 16 of 31 = 84.2%

WEEK (9) 8 of 12 = 75.0%
WEEK (8) 10 of 12 = 83.3%
WEEK (7) 10 of 12 = 83.3%
WEEK (6) 9 of 12 = 75.0%
WEEK (5) 8 of 12 = 66.7%
WEEK (4) 10 of 11 = 90.9%
WEEK (3) 9 of 13 = 69.2%
WEEK (2) 12 of 15 = 80.0%
WEEK (1) 10 of 13 = 76.1%

Playoffs (2 weeks) 31 of 35, 88.5%
Season Total (11 weeks): 117 of 147 = 79.5%

'Mr. Picker' (13 Years)
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' 2018 - WEEK (12) TWELVE:

Class 1A Sectional 42

(2A) Pioneer (11-0) at Lafayette Catholic (5-6):

LAFAYETTE (11-02-2018)
Pioneer has won 26 consecutive games and is 52-2 with ‘Wonderboy’ Jack Kiser who has run for 23 TDs on offense and made 104 tackles on defense. Lafayette Catholic plays the toughest 1A schedule in the state. They will not be embarrassed here. Pioneer has eliminated Lafayette Catholic in each of the last two seasons.

Pioneer 28, Lafayette Catholic 14

Class 1A Sectional 41

(2A) Triton (8-3) at North Judson (6-5):

NORTH JUDSON (11-02-2018)
Triton has won five in a row, but they are not a powerful defensive team, allowing 23 points a game. Two of the wins are over Culver (2-8). Two others are over Winamac (5-6). Judson has also won five in a row and they have upset LaVille (9-1) and South Central on the road in back-to-back weeks. Judson lost 37-29 to Triton in September. They will reverse that decision.

North Judson 28, Triton 20

Class 2A Sectional 33

(2A) Boone Grove (9-2) at Whiting (11-0):

WHITING (11-02-2018)
This is a unique matchup. Boone was cheated in September when an electrical storm ended the Boone-Whiting game in the second quarter with Whiting ahead by two touchdowns. Someone somewhere made the decision that the mid-second quarter score would be final and Whiting was declared the winner. I don’t know why. The game wasn’t even half over. So this is the rematch with the sectional title on the line. I think Whiting wins fair and square this time.

Whiting 34, Boone Grove 28

Class 2A Sectional 34

(2A) Bremen (9-2) at Bluffton (7-4)

BLUFFTON (11-02-2018)
Bremen has a 1,000-yard rusher in big (6-2, 200) Nate Mullen and a little QB Ryan Caldwell (6-0, 150) who has thrown for 18 TDs and run for seven more. Bluffton back Everett Johnson (6-0, 190) has run for 1,730 yards and 22 TDs. This one is close, but I’ll take Bremen, based on a tougher schedule.

Bremen  28, Bluffton 13

Class 3A Sectional 26

(3A) Blackford (8-3) at Brebuef (9-2):

INDIANAPOLIS (11-02-2018)
Blackford has rushed for 40 touchdowns. They’ve only thrown 53 passes all season. Brebuef is unusual because they use two quarterbacks, starter Caleb Ellison (6-2, 170 has thrown for 900 yards and 10 TDs. But sophomore Drake Hagerman has thrown for 600 yards and nine TDs. The two QB things is odd, but Brebuef appears to have played a significantly tougher schedule.

Brebuef 35, Blackford 17

Class 3A Sectional 25

(3A) ANDREAN (10-1) at West Lafayette (11-0):

WEST LAFAYETTE (11-02-2018)
One year ago, West Lafayette beat Andrean 56-10. What has changed? WL junior Kent Adams has thrown for 2,600 yards and 35 TDs. Senior Sage Hood (6-0, 215) has rushed for 1,000 yards. West Lafayette has scored 73 touchdowns and the defense has allowed 102 points all year. Andrean has won 10 in a row. The 59ers average 40 points a game and they have five shutouts on defense, but I’m just not seeing a close game.

West Lafayette 42, Andrean 21

Class 4A Sectional 18

(4A) St. Joseph’s (7-4) at Mishawaka (11-1):

MISHAWAKA (11-02-2018)
St. Joseph’s traditionally loses a few during the season and charges in the post-season. In September, Mishawaka topped St. Joe 26-24. St. Joe lost to Penn (8-2), New Prairie (7-4), Culver Academy (6-3) and Mishawaka. St Joe is 23-8 in playoff games in the last nine years. The Cavemen, who feature halfback Chris Harness (293 carries, 1933 yards, 16 TDs) have lost only to south suburban Chicago power Marist (9-1).

St. Joseph’s 21, Mishawaka 20

Class 5A Sectional 10

(5A) Elkhart Central (6-5) at Concord (5-5):

ELKHART (11-02-2018)
These teams are just lucky to be here and this game in their ‘state championship’. Concord has allowed more points than they have scored this year and they have lost three of their last five. Two of Central’s wins are over Goshen (1-9). Two of Concords wins are over Elkhart Memorial (3-7). But one team walks off this field with a big sectional championship trophy. Central’s Mark Brownlee (5-11, 210) has run for 1,458 yards. It's close but I’m going with the road team here.

Elkhart Central 27, Goshen 14

Class 5A Sectional 9

(5A) Michigan City (9-2) at LaPorte (4-7):

LaPORTE (11-02-2018)
On paper, this is a mismatch. MC beat LaPorte 52-8 on October 5. MC beat LaPorte 38-10 in the sectional last season. The Wolves have won six in a row, all by 21 points or more. LaPorte has allowed far more points (287) than they have scored (190). I just don't see what LaPorte, which runs the ball 95% of the time, can change here to win at home.

Michigan City 35, LaPorte 7

Class 6A Sectional 2

(6A) Valparaiso (9-2) at Penn (9-2)

OSCEOLA (11-02-2018)
A pivotal game in Class 6A in the north. After they lost in August 21-3 to Penn, Valpo went on to be the undefeated champion of the Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC). Penn has lost in overtime to arch rival Mishawaka (9-1) and suburban Detroit power Birmingham Brother Rice (7-3). The winner here gets to Indianapolis.

Penn 16, Valparaiso 13

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Revised: October 28, 2018 .