Week 13 Picks - 2020 NW Indiana High School Football

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith

November 9, 2020


If the Valparaiso Vikings are going to reach the state finals for the second year in a row, they must defend the home field against Mishawaka in a 5A regional championship game this Friday night. (Photo by Mark Smith)

Mr. Picker - WEEK (13) THIRTEEN:

MERRILLVILLE (11-13-2020)
All six of the state’s top-ranked high school teams won last week and all of them reach the regional level of the 48th Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) state football tournament.

So who else is coming on strong?

In Class 6A, No. 2 Westfield (10-1) turned down Fishers 31-0, the third consecutive shutout for the Westfield Shamrocks. Let me predict that they won't shut out No. 8 Homestead (10-1) in the regional this Friday at Westfield. Homestead averages 35 points a game.

Imagine you’re a senior football player at Mishawaka. The Cavemen won Class 5A Sectional 10 in 2018 and 2019 but this season, they lost their first three games. Mishawaka went from 0-3 to 7-3 with a seven-game winning streak and won the school’s third consecutive sectional 49-21 over South Bend Adams last week.

Who on earth is Whiteland? Class 5A No. 4 Whiteland (9-1) is the only team to beat 4A No. 4 Mooresville (11-1). Whiteland ended the two-year state championship run of 5A No. 5 New Palestine 48-13 last Friday night.

Whiteland has won seven games in a row and they’ve scored at least 38 points for six weeks in a row. That ends this week when they play 5A No. 1 Cathedral.

In 2019, Class 3A Bishop Chatard won their first three games, lost 31-21 to Indianapolis Catholic school rival Cathedral and then won 11 in a row to win the state championship. In 2020, Class 3A Chatard won their first three games, lost 39-20 to Cathedral and now has seven in a row after a 35-3 win over Brebeuf last Friday.

And from Northwest Indiana, five teams take their ride down ‘glory road,’ where every week is a championship or the end of the line. For Merrillville, Valparaiso, Hobart, Calumet and Andrean, you are now certified winners. But, in a winner-take-all-tournament, will you be the winners who take all?

Before we attempt to answer that, let's take a look back at Mr. Picker's Week-12 predictions, and how he did.

'Mr. Picker' WEEK-12, 2020 Football Picks
in Review: Nov. 6-7, 2020

Wrong - 3 Right - 9 = 75.0%

The Pick The Result

North Judson 28, Winamac 14  

(wrong) Winamac 14-8

South Adams 42, Madison-Grant 14  

South Adams 55-7

Andrean 31, Rensselaer 20  


Pioneer 21, Bremen 20  

Pioneer 30-14

HANOVER 28, Calumet 21  

(wrong) Calumet 38-21

Marian 27, Jimtown 7  

Marian 44-19

CMA 28, Logansport 21  

(wrong) Logansport 22-14

Hobart 17, LOWELL 14  

Hobart 10-7

Valparaiso 30, LaPorte 7  

Valparaiso 35-21

Mishawaka 38, Adams 14  

Mishawaka 49-21

MERRILLVILLE 41, Jefferson 33  


Elkhart 41, Chesterton 28  

Elkhart 14-10

WEEK TWELVE (in review):
Winamac pulled of a rare feat. ‘The Mac’ lost to North Judson 29-0 on September 18 and came back to beat them 14-8 in the Class 1A Sectional 41 championship. Your 'mission' if you choose to accept it? Find another time that a team was shut out by an opponent during the regular season and came back to beat the same team in the post-season. It just doesn't happen. I had no idea who would win the CMA-Logansport game and I knew Calumet was better than Hanover, I just went for the upset. The best pick of the week? Probably Lowell-Hobart. Low scoring. Decided by a field goal.

‘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%
Regular season: 63 of 82, 76.8%

WEEK TEN: 15 of 17, 88.2%

WEEK ELEVEN: 12 of 15, 80.0%
WEEK TWELVE: 9 of 12, 75.0%

Playoffs: 36 of 44, 81.8%
Total (overall): 99 of 126, 78.6%

'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 (13) THIRTEEN:

(1A) Lafayette Catholic (4-3) at Winamac (7-2):
WINAMAC (11-13-2020)
There’s only seven games to go by for the Catholic boys, who have lost twice to 2A Tipton (9-2). The Winamac Warriors have won six in a row despite an offense that scores just 20.4 points per game. Hard November weather coming in this week will help Winamac. LC QB Clark Barrett has thrown the ball 203 times in seven games, 29 times a game. That makes this game closer than it would have been in last week’s 65-degree weather.

Lafayette Catholic 22, Winamac 14

(1A) No. 1 South Adams (11-0) at No. 3 Southwood (12-0):

WABASH (11-13-2020)
Southwood’s Alex Farr has completed 125 of 220 for 1,995 yards for 28 touchdowns, but South Adams QB James Arnold has thrown for 2,000 yards and 35 touchdowns. Who does what on a 40-degree night with cold winds? One thing is for sure. The South’s gonna rise again. South Adams goes 12-0 for the second consecutive year.

South Adams 28, Southwood 21

(2A) Bishop Luers (6-6) at Tipton (9-2):

TIPTON (11-13-2020)
Bishop Luers is doing what they often do. The Knights may or may not thrive against their Summit Athletic Conference (SAC) competition and then they stop sectional foes. Luers won Sectional 35 by scores of 56-7, 49-12 and 56-49. But Tipton has been strong all year, losing just to Heritage Christian (8-2) and Western (8-2). Tipton QB Sammy Edwards has thrown 33 career touchdowns with just six interceptions. But Luers junior passer Carson Clark (185 of 311, 2,670 yards, 26 TDs) was 21 of 29 last week for a career-high 354 yards and six TDs. I’m leaning towards Luers.

Bishop Luers 35, Tipton 21

(2A) No. 1 ANDREAN (11-1) at No. 3 Pioneer (11-1):

ROYAL CENTER (11-13-2020)
To my knowledge, these two power football schools have never met. Most folks from Merrillville have never even been to Royal Center, either. The Panthers have won nine in a row since a Labor Day weekend loss to New Haven and they run the ball like it's going out of style with senior brothers Addai (62 carries, 655 yards, 10 TDs) and Ezra (98 carries, 1,425 yards, 20 TDs) Lewellen and junior Brock Robinson (123 carries, 1,092 yards, 14 TDs). But Andrean has a license to kill with senior quarterback Joe Cimino (100 of 142, 1,412 yards, 23 TDs), senior runner Ryan Walsh (99 carries, 1,004 yards, 14 TDs and all-purpose trouble maker Nick Flesher (39 catches, 563 yards, 12 TDs). The colder weather will favor the home team, but Andrean’s defense (132 points allowed in 12 games) is an issue. A hard-running Rensselaer team got 87 yards on 30 carries last week against the 59ers defensive front. Pioneer won't do much better.

ANDREAN 31, Pioneer 16

(3A) Concordia (6-5) at No. 1 Bishop Chatard (11-1):

INDIANAPOLIS (11-13-2020)
Concordia, like Bishop Luers, plays bigger schools all year and their record often shows it. The Concordia Cadets have won their last two games 24-0.
But they won't shut out Chatard. The top-ranked Trojans have lost only to 5A superpower Cathedral (9-1). Bishop Chatard, the defending 3A state champ, has allowed only 105 points all season and they are 36-5 the last three seasons. Congratulations to Concordia for winning their sixth sectional title last week, but this game isn’t that close.

Bishop Chatard 30, Concordia 12

(3A) No. 2 Marian (10-0) at Calumet (5-1):

GARY (11-13-2020)
Calumet won the first sectional in school history, 38-21 over Hanover Central last week. I think they’ve reached their goal and that’s a good thing. Because this is not an even game. Marian has stopped 10 foes including 6A Penn, 5A Mishawaka, and 4A New Prairie. The Knights are 22-2 the last two years; they play fast and average 39 points a game. Calumet is overmatched here.

Marian 35, Calumet 14

(4A) Marion (9-3) at East Noble (9-3):

KENDALLVILLE (11-13-2020)
Marion beat Delta 38-21 last week and they have a 42-28 win over 2A Eastbrook (9-2), but most of their schedule is not prime time. The Marion Knights have won six in a row since a 43-21 loss to Jefferson (10-1). East Noble was in the 4A state finals last year and the defense is solid. The East Noble Knights won three sectional games 35-7, 14-7 and 10-0 last week over Leo (10-2). East Noble has 25 quarterback sacks and 15 interceptions. One way or another, Knight time is the right time. This game won't be close in the end.

East Noble 28, Marion 12

(4A) No. 7 Hobart (9-2) at Logansport (6-6):

LOGANSPORT (11-13-2020)
Here is a mismatch. Logansport hasn’t beaten a winning team all year and they have losses 34-0, 50-16 and 54-0. Hobart may be shorthanded without top linebacker Cam Smith but on a rough weather night, the Logansport Berries’ offense won't be ‘berry’ good. Logansport runs a double-wing misdirection offense a lot like Pioneer. I don’t think you can run that successfully very long on this Hobart team. On a cold, windy night, here comes the pain.

Hobart 24, Logansport 8

(5A) No. 2 Bishop Dwenger (10-1) at Zionsville (5-5):

ZIONSVILLE (11-13-2020)
Zionsville got here with wins over Fishers (3-6) and Harrison (6-4) and now they get a home game. But Bishop Dwenger has lost only to 6A Homestead 35-34 in three overtimes. Zionsville quarterback Josh Stone is 118 of 195 for 1,425 yards, but he’ll be throwing on the run because Dwenger has 40 quarterback sacks. This is one of several games this week that isn’t a mismatch, but it's going to be a double-digit victory for the favored team.

Bishop Dwenger 35, Zionsville 14

(5A) No. 9 Mishawaka (7-4) at No. 3 Valparaiso (7-0):

VALPARAISO (11-13-2020)
Two of northern Indiana’s tradition rich big public schools. The Cavemen won their third consecutive sectional with a 49-21 win at Adams last Friday and Valpo won their third consecutive sectional 35-21 at LaPorte last week. Mishawaka has lost only to Warsaw (8-3), Elkhart (9-0) and Marian (10-0). Valpo has not lost. But halfback Tommy Burbee (116 carries, 867 yards, 10 TDs) could not go last week and you need everybody at the regional. Mishawaka is a notorious, hard-running bad weather team. This one will be close.

Valparaiso 24, Mishawaka 21

(6A) No. 8 Homestead (10-1) at No. 2 Westfield (10-1):

INDIANAPOLIS (11-13-2020)
Westfield lost 56-20 to Cathedral in August and they have now won 10 in a row. Homestead lost that same night 25-21 to Northrup and they have also won 10 straight games. The Westfield Shamrocks have 25 rushing touchdowns and 26 passing TDs. Homestead’s offense is led by all-state QB Evan Ornsby (6-3, 210) who is 143 of 234 for 2,415 yards and 36 touchdowns. Junior Nick Anderson has 46 catches for 1,090 yards and 17 touchdowns. But somebody’s got to catch the ball consistently on a 40-degree night. Who’s going to be the good hands people?

Westfield 21, Homestead 20

(6A) No. 7 Merrillville (9-1) at No. 5 Elkhart (9-0):

ELKHART (11-13-2020)
Elkhart struggled to get past Chesterton last week 14-10, but they’ll be home and they have the dangerous one, ‘Dangerous Derrick’ Woods (5-10, 180) who has run 170 times for 1,419 yards and 27 touchdowns. But Merrillville’s defense has allowed just 12.5 points a game and the Pirates can make Elkhart throw which is not really their thing. And let’s just say I’d be surprised if the Elkhart defense can hold up for four quarters against a Pirate attack that gained 500 yards on Jefferson last week.

MERRILLVILLE 41, Elkhart 20

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Revised: November 08, 2020 .