Week 15 Picks - 2017 NW Indiana High School Football

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith

November 24, 2017

Plenty of room for one and all in the Lucas Oil Arena for the Indiana High School football championships. Lowell plays East Central in the 5A game Saturday at 2:30 p.m. (Photo by Mark Smith)

Mr. Picker - WEEK (15) FIFTEEN:

CROWN POINT (11-24-2017) It's the weekend of champions for Indiana high school football, the 45th Indiana state finals. And while six teams will lose this weekend, they won't be remembered that way. Teams that lose in the semistate carry that feeling of 'we fell short' into the future. Teams that lose in the finals, for some reason, escape that stigma. They are always referred to as 'state finalists", no matter how badly they lost the final. 'State Finalist' is going to sound really, really good.

With that said, the phrase 'undefeated state champions' is the gold standard. Pioneer (14-0), Lowell (14-0) and Ben Davis (13-0) can write their name in IHSAA history for all time. Playing in the state finals on the home field of the National Football League's Indianapolis Colts is an honor.

I wish Northwest Indiana people could watch these games live on TV, but unless you live in the South Bend or Lafayette area, I don't know how you can. If you can go Saturday, you should go. It's $15 for an all-day ticket. The weather won't be bad. You can watch one game or all three and leave when you want. If you have (or if you are) boys who play football, it's a good Saturday.

'Mr. Picker' WEEK-14, 2017 Football Picks in Review:
Nov. 17-18, 2017

Wrong - 6; Right - 6 = 50.0%

The Pick The Result

Pioneer 35, Monroe Central 14  

Pioneer 42-14

Lutheran 28, Eastern Greene 20  

(wrong) Eastern Greene 12-8

Scecina 35, Southridge 14  

(wrong) Southridge 24-7

Woodlan 28, Eastbrook 24  

Woodlan 15-14

Evansville Memorial 42, Danville 28  

Memorial 28-7

Brebeuf 28, Marian 14  

Brebeuf 17-0

Greenwood 27, East Central 21  

(wrong) East Central 27-14

LOWELL 21, Bishop Dwenger 16


Cathedral 31, Columbus East 17  

(wrong) Columbus East 42-13

Michigan City 28, Kokomo 21  

(wrong) Kokomo 21-14

Carmel 21, Penn 14  

(wrong) Penn 34-7

Ben Davis 34, Avon 24  

Ben Davis 57-20


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%)
TOTAL: 79 of 107, 73.8% (regular season)

WEEK (10) TEN (16 of 19, 84.2%)
WEEK (11) ELEVEN (16 of 16, 100.0%)
WEEK (12) TWELVE (9 of 12, 74.0%)
WEEK (13) THIRTEEN (7 of 12, 58.3%)
WEEK (14) FOURTEEN (6 of 12, 50.0%)

PLAYOFF TOTAL: 54 of 71, 76.0%
OVERALL TOTAL: 133 of 178, 74.6%


PICK ANALYSIS: Oh well. Everything was wrong last week. I went with the Indianapolis private schools and Brebuef, Scecina and Cathedral all lost. Very surprising to me. I think the weather (cold and rain) hurt Michigan City and I'm not shocked Penn won over Carmel. I am shocked they won by 27.

WORST PICK: Lutheran over Eastern Greene. The Greene team won 12-8 and I was surprised. Lutheran was really good. They'd only lost to Catholic rivals Ritter and Scecina. They'd scored 50 points or more six times. Eastern Greene held them to eight points. Eight. I think that like Michigan City, 'Mother Nature' may have called them (Lutheran) home in late November.

BEST PICK: Woodlan over Eastbrook. Eastbrook was No. 1 and undefeated, but I thought that, on a bad weather night, Woodlan had a chance. Woodlan won 15-14 and it must have been a great finish. The old Whiting coach Sherwood Haydock is finally in the title game.


'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 (15) FIFTEEN:

(1A) Pioneer (14-0) vs. Eastern Greene (11-3):

INDIANAPOLIS (11-24-2017)
The first game Friday might be the easiest game to pick. Pioneer was here last year. They were 14-0 when they lost to Linton-Stockton. Here they are 14-0 again with all-state QB Jack Kiser (6-2, 205), who has run for 35 touchdowns. Like I said before, I'm very surprised Eastern Greene is even here. Good season. But they are facing a team that has waited 12 months for exactly this day.

Pioneer 42, Eastern Greene 21

(3A) Indianapolis Brebuef (10-4) vs (Evansville) Memorial (13-1):

INDIANAPOLIS (11-24-2017)
Brebeuf is the only Catholic school at the state finals which is very rare in the Indiana playoffs. The Braves record is deceptive because they've lost to Zionsille 21-18 and three Indy-area Catholic schools Ritter, Roncalli and Bishop Chatard. QB Derek Ozuba has thrown for 2,00 yards but he does have 13 interceptions. Memorial QB Michael Lindauer may be looking forward to playing indoors after a senior season where he has thrown for 30 TDs and 2,738 yards. Brebuef's Alex Potts has 10 field goals. Watch the team that have a kicker who has booted double digit field goals outdoors. Passing QBs indoors. Good kickers. This will be a high scoring game.

Memorial 35, Brebeuf 30

(5A) Kokomo (11-3) vs Columbus East (13-1):

INDIANAPOLIS (11-24-2017)
The night game Friday may be another mismatch. Sorry. Kokomo is a solid team but I think they're here because they could handle the elements better than Michigan City last week. Columbus East just rolled past Cathedral, the state's dominant playoff school. East halfback James Hogan, just 5-foot-7 and 160 pounds, has run 209 times for 2,184 yards and 30 TDs. QB Josh Major has completed 80% of his passes. What? Unless the IHSAA statistics are wrong. Josh Major is 71 of 92 for 1,226 yards and 12 TDs. He's also run for 1,000 yards. Fast team. Big line Averaged 50 points a game outdoors. Kokomo may be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Columbus East 49, Kokomo 14

(2A) Woodlan (12-2) vs. Southridge (12-2):

Indianapolis (11-25-2017)
I'm just going to be hopeful here. Southridge is a little better, on paper. Two 1,000-yard rushers. Woodlan rides two big seniors on offense. Justin Durkes (6-2, 175), who has 31 TD passes and 14 interceptions, and Jack Rhoades (6-1, 194), who has run for 2,000 yards. I worry that Southridge can just hog the ball. But I'm going with another Woodlan upset in what should be an entertaining 2A final.

Woodlan 28, Southridge 27

(4A) East Central (11-3) vs. LOWELL (14-0):

Indianapolis (11-25-2017)
Tradition rich public schools that have never met. Both have four semistate wins and one state title a long time ago. Lowell has allowed just 83 points (6.4 per game) all year with a very fast defense including a top secondary. East Central halfback Logan Storie has run for 1,922 yards and the Trojans smacked down 4A No. 3 Evansville Central 35-13 in the regional. Both teams have five shutouts, but the game is different indoors. What I keep coming back to here is that Lowell runs very well sideline to sideline and Saturday they are on a fast track indoors.

LOWELL 27, East Central 10

(6A) Penn (12-1) vs. Ben Davis (13-0):

Indianapolis (11-25-2017)
Penn has made a great run with 12 wins in a row. Young QB and top defense. The Kings (or Kingsmen) of the north. But here is the undisputed No. 1 team in the state in any class. No one has come within a TD of the Ben Davis Giants. And senior Reese Taylor has 35 TD passes and seven interceptions in a schedule with 12 Class 6A teams. Broc Thompson (6-2, 175) is a 1,000-yard receiver. They play a top schedule. Penn has not seen a team with these kind of players. I think Ben Davis was built to play indoors and, with this outcome, all of the undefeated teams will win the state championship.

Ben Davis 42, Penn 14

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Revised: November 26, 2017 .