Week 15 Picks - 2019 NW Indiana High School Football

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith

November 27, 2019
 

High schools take over the giant Lucas Oil Arena this weekend for the six IHSAA state championship games. Undefeated powerhouses Valparaiso and New Palestine meet in the prime time game (6 p.m. CST / 7 p.m. EST ) Friday night. (Photo by Mark Smith)

Mr. Picker - WEEK (14) FOURTEEN:

VALPARAISO (11-29-2019)
It is state championship week and the game changes. After playing in sub-freezing weather in the northern part of the state for four weeks, the 12 survivors move indoors and play in perfect 70-degree condition inside the Lucas Oil Arena in downtown Indianapolis.

Who will feel the change the most?

Passing teams.

East Noble senior Bailey Parker was 227 of 356 for 2,995 yards and 39 touchdowns (and just nine interceptions) during the regular season. I don't want to try to defend him indoors. Watch Lafayette Catholic QB Clark Barrett (6-5, 207) who completed 206 of 358 passes outdoors for 2,836 yards and 36 touchdowns with just 10 interceptions. Indoors, he might be Clark Kent.

Driving weather heading to Indianapolis is good for Friday, and not so good (a light but steady rain) for Saturday. If you go to the finals, know that tickets are $15 per day.

There is no commercial or cable TV in Northwest Indiana of the state finals, but the IHSAA Network airs all six games live.

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

'Mr. Picker' WEEK-14, 2019 Football Picks in Review:
Nov. 22-23, 2019

Wrong - 2; Right - 10 = 83.3%

The Pick The Result

Lafayette Catholic 34, Adams Central 27  

Lafayette Catholic 24-14

Lutheran 37, West Washington 20  

Lutheran 49-0

Western Boone 41, Triton Central 20  

Western Boone 35-13

Andrean 40, Eastbrook 21  

(wrong) Eastbrook 26-14

Heritage Hills 28, Danville 20  

Heritage Hills 33-17

Bishop Chatard 27, Marian 10  

Bishop Chatard 45-0

Evansville Memorial 35, Mt. Vernon 14  

Evansville Memorial 28-3

Hobart 24, East Noble 21  

(wrong) East Noble 29-24

New Palestine 33, Bloomington South 14  

New Palestine 45-0

Valparaiso 28, Bishop Dwenger 14  

Valparaiso 10-7

Center Grove 35, Ben Davis 21  

Center Grove 17-10

Carmel 31, Merrillville 21  

Carmel 38-17

‘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%
State Tournament
WEEK TEN: 13 OF 15, 86.6%

WEEK ELEVEN: 11 OF 14, 82.7%
WEEK TWELVE: 8 OF 10, 80.0%

WEEK THIRTEEN: 8 OF 10, 80.0%
WEEK THIRTEEN: 10 OF 12, 83.3%
POST-SEASON: 50 OF 61, 81.9%
SEASON TOTAL (OVERALL): 123 of 160, 76.8%

ANALYSIS: Andrean over Eastbrook was a bad call, especially after Rensselaer gained 450 yards rushing on Andrean in the 2A Sectional 36 championship game. Eastbrook runs the ball like Rensselaer does. Might have been a ‘homer’ pick there.

To be honest, if East Noble played Hobart again, I’d pick Hobart again. The Brickies led 17-0 and forced five East Noble turnovers. They should have won.

Best pick of the week?

Class 1A No. 8 Lafayette Catholic (10-3) by seven over 1A No. 4 Adams Central (12-2). AC lost in the Semistate for the second year in a row. Lafayette Catholic was 5-7 last year.

I can go 6-0 in the final week, but it’ll take some doing.

I’m picking two upsets.

'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 (15) Fifteen:

Here’s what’s going to happen.


No. 8 Lafayette Catholic (11-3) vs. No. 1 (Indy) Lutheran (13-0):

Friday - 11 a.m. (1A) ‘Marvelous ‘ Marcus McFadden (6-0, 200) has run the ball 236 times for 1,944 yards and 46 touchdowns in 13 games for Lutheran and when he takes a break, QB Blake White is 163 of 275 for 2,304 yards and 25 more TDs. But Lafayette Catholic plays that old school cowboy schedule that includes 3A power West Lafayette (9-3) and 2A power Lewis Cass (11-2). Lafayette Catholic is not really a 1A team. Here’s my upset of the weekend.

Lafayette Catholic 28, Lutheran 24


No. 2 Heritage Hills (14-0) vs. No. 1 Bishop Chatard (13-1):

Friday – 2:30 p.m. (3A)
One of two 1 vs. 2 matchups in the finals on Friday. A traditional deep south power, Heritage Hills has two 1,000-yard rushers in quarterback Cole Sigler (6-1, 180) and Jacob Wetzel (6-0, 210). The Patriots have thrown just 69 passes all season. But Bishop Chatard is one of the true Godfathers of the state tournament with 13 state titles. The Trojans ride with senior Daylen Taylor (5-10, 185) who has run 226 times for 2,149 yards and 30 touchdowns. QB Kyle Cheek is 160 of 243 for 2,196 yards and 29 touchdowns and receiver Andrew Sowinski (6-0, 175) has caught 63 for 1,032 yards and a state leading 22 pass receiving TDs.

Chatard has been scary. They defeated West Lafayette (9-3) by 28 points. Chatard beat Marian (12-2) by 45 points. The Trojans beat Northwood (7-4) by 27 points. Chatard beat Brebeuf (7-3) twice, 49-14 and 49-7 and took out Bloomington South (8-5) by a 42-7 score. Heritage Hills has a long winning streak, but it ends here.

Bishop Chatard 42, Heritage Hills 14


No. 2 Valparaiso (13-0) vs. No. 1 New Palestine (13-0):

Friday - 6 a.m. (5A)
This is the main event and the champ is here. Defending 5A king and No. 1 New Palestine has won 27 games in a row and averages 50 points a game. No. 2 Valparaiso was a Class 6A team last year. They have played six Class 6A schools and have beaten them all. Valpo has allowed 117 points in 14 games (just 9.0 per game) and no one has scored more than 29 points on them in three seasons.

New Palestine has the state player of the year in superback Charlie Spegal (5-10, 220) who has run 307 times for 3,008 yards and 54 touchdowns. Spegal is the state’s all-time leading rusher with 10,070 yards (over 3,000 for two consecutive years) and 174 touchdowns. No one has ever stopped him. New Palestine has thrown 145 passes all year and they don't care if you know what’s coming. Valpo’s main hope is to hog the ball behind a big and bad offensive line that includes tackles Ben Scott (6-6, 335) and John Hofer (6-6, 300) and guard Krayton Schenk (6-1, 300). Halfback Tommy Burbee (5-10, 175) has run 220 times for 1,661 yards and 22 TDs. The Vikings have turned the ball over eight times all year. But it's the defense, led by defensive ends Dylan Dingman (6-2, 250 and Cooper Jones (6-5, 250), that sends you home. Valparaiso has 31 takeaways, including 20 interceptions on top of 40 quarterback sacks.

With no common opponents, how do you judge this? New Pal has not trailed at any time all season and the Patriots rolled over superpower Cathedral (9-3) by a 35-10 score. But New Pal only plays one 6A school (state finalist Center Grove, a team they beat 28-9). I’m a firm believer in strength of schedule and I’m going with the defense of the big, green team.

Valparaiso 27, New Palestine 17


No. 8 Eastbrook (12-2) vs. No. 2 Western Boone (13-1):

Saturday - 11 a.m. (2A)
Eastbrook has rushed for 4,759 yards in 14 games and fullback Wyatt Stephenson (5-6, 160) is 268 for 1,290 yards and 22 TDs. Eastbrook, which lost the state championship game last November, has thrown just 57 times all season and they like it like that. Western Boone junior Robbie Taylor (5-6, 185) has run for 1,251 yards and 17 touchdowns, but quarterback Spencer Wright (6-1, 175) has odd numbers. Wright has thrown just 141 times all season but he has 22 touchdown passes. Eastbrook’s spread option is tough to deal with.

Eastbrook 34, Western Boone 20


No. 3 Evansville Memorial (12-1) vs. No. 1 East Noble (14-0):

Saturday - 2:30 (4A)
Okay, I’ve seen enough. East Noble quarterback Bailey Parker (6-3, 180) is one bad hombre. He’s run for 1300 yards and passed for just under 3,000 yards. Memorial relies on the defense, which has held 10 opponents to 14 points or less. Memorial has waited 12 months for this day. Last year, the Tigers were 14-0 and lost 47-42 to West Lafayette in the state title game.
I think, as I’ve hinted earlier, that East Noble will benefit greatly from playing indoors. Warm up the scoreboard here.

East Noble 42, Evansville Memorial 31


Center Grove (8-5) vs. No. 5 Carmel (10-3):

Saturday - 6 p.m. (6A)
This is one of those Indianapolis area Metropolitan Conference rematches that nobody outside of the Indy-area cares about. On September 6, Carmel defeated Center Grove 20-14. I’m not sure this game will be that close. Center Grove averages 24 points a game, which is low for a winning team. Carmel rolled on Merrillville 38-17 after they jacked up 6A No.1 Homestead 31-7. Carmel’s going to win a ninth state football championship Friday.

Carmel 27, Center Grove 10



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Revised: November 27, 2019 .