Week 2 Picks - 2018 NW Indiana High School Football

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith

August 21, 2018

Merrillville quarterback Aahric Whitehead (18) knows that Pirate backs and receivers like Edward Akins (25) hold the key to putting points on the board against Class 6A No. 3 Penn in the big school matchup in Merrillville this Friday night. (Photo by Mark Smith)

"Mr. Picker" - WEEK (2) TWO:

MERRILLVILLE (08-24-2018)
Some of the odder match-ups of the season occur in week two in Northwest Indiana when Illinois teams are first available for matchups.

Hammond plays (Burbank, Illinois) Reavis, Gavit takes on St. Ignatius from Chicago; and Michigan City hosts Homewood-Flossmoor. Gary West Side takes the long ride to play at Woodstock, Illinois.

For a couple of years (2016 and 2017), Lake Central played Lincoln Way East. Portage played (Chicago) St. Rita from 2009-2011.

Indiana-Illinois matchups are good competition, but bad box office. Fans don’t cross state lines to go to schools they don’t know. At least not to the extent that they do to local schools.

Crown Point could schedule larger Illinois teams in week two, but they’re better off playing Highland because Highland parents and students know where Crown Point is and they’ll come to the game.

As close as Marian Catholic is (in Chicago Heights less than 10 miles from the Indiana border), I don’t remember any Indiana school ever playing them in football.

After one week, it looks like a lot of teams are breaking in new quarterbacks. Scoring was clearly down and I think that trend continues. I’ll leave out most of the Illinois matchups and I won't bother with New Prairie, which won by four TDs last week facing Clay, which lost by eights touchdowns and has lost 23 games in a row.

You can pick that game for me.

And for the Lowell-Portage and CP-Highland predictions, please check back later in the week for those preview stories.

'Mr. Picker' WEEK-1, 2018 Football Picks in Review:
Aug. 17-18, 2018

Wrong - 3; Right - 10 = 76.1%

The Pick The Result

Wheeler 28, River Forest 12  

Wheeler 52-20

Morton 30, Highland 14  

Morton 16-6

Hobart 28, Chesterton 8  

Hobart 10-9

Mishawaka 34, Portage 27  

Mishawaka 35-14

Penn 27, Valpo 17  

Penn 21-3

LaPorte 35, New Prairie 21  

(wrong) New Prairie 42-14

No. Newton 33, So. Newton 12  

North Newton 41-6

Rensselaer 34, K. Valley 14  

Rensselaer 34-12

Michigan City 21, Griffith 0  

Mich. City 53-0

Lake Central 34, Munster 14  

LC 10-3

Andrean 30, Merrillville 20  

(wrong) Merrillville 20-14

Whiting 42, Clark 21  

Whiting 54-7

CP 28, LOWELL 14  

(wrong) LOWELL 17-7


Week One Review:  An OK start. I didn’t see any of the three games I picked incorrectly going the way they went. Looking at those games again, only New Prairie winning was the one I might pick differently. I’m still not totally sure how Lowell beat Crown Point and I was there.

BEST PICK: Probably Michigan City shutting out Griffith. Not just the pick but the shutout.

WORST PICK: LaPorte over New Prairie and New Prairie won by 28. I obviously didn't know what New Prairie had.

‘Mr. Picker’  2018 RESULTS
WEEK (1) 10 of 13 = 76.1%

'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 (2) TWO:

Gary Roosevelt (1-0) at Calumet (1-0):

GARY (8-24-2018)
Here’s two teams that might not totally have believed they’d be 1-0. Roosevelt’s 32-18 win over West Side was big for the Panthers because they face an erratic schedule that includes three Saturday games and eight road games. Calumet has its first four games at home and I considered their 22-20 win over Gavit an upset. I think Calumet has a chance for a winning season.

Calumet 28, Gary Roosevelt 8

Wheeler (1-0) at Kankakee Valley (0-1):

WHEATFIELD (8-24-2018)
Wheeler has an unusual schedule. They play their first four games on the road. The Bearcats' home opener is on September 21. KV got run over by Rensselaer last week, but here’s a second chance to get started. Wheeler’s got a good offense. If there’s a road upset this week, here it is.

Wheeler 28, KV 21

Boone Grove (1-0) at River Forest (1-0):

Boone lost to RF 21-14 last year and the Wolves won big in week one, 40-12 over John Glenn. Boone will be ready here. River Forest lost 52-20 in week one in a good demonstration of their wide open spread offense. I think the Ingots will score. I just think Boone will score more.

Boone Grove 41, River Forest 20

Hobart (1-0) at LaPorte (0-1):

LaPORTE (8-24-2018)
Here’s one that’s hard to figure. Hobart upset LaPorte last year and LaPorte lost by four TDs in week one at New Prairie. But LaPorte is physically bigger and playing at home.
The Brickies won last week, but it was only 10-9. LaPorte has to be better than they showed last week and they better be if they want to win this one.

LaPorte 28, Hobart 14

Homewood-Flossmoor (0-0) at Michigan City (1-0):

MICHIGAN CITY (8-24-2018)
Very interesting matchup. H-F scored 63 points on Michigan City last year and the MC coaches will remind the boys of that this week more than once. H-F has an all-state wide receiver in Maurice Scott (6-5, 180) and they also have Cam Wright, a transfer who started at QB for two seasons at Merrillville. Cornerback Wynston Russell (5-11, 180) has said ‘yes’ to a scholarship to Oregon State. The Vikings were 9-2 last season and return seven starters on defense. MC totally dominated Griffith 53-0 in week one, but this is a whole new ball game in more ways than one. MC can defend H-F, but I’m not sure they can score much on them.

H-F 26, Michigan City 12

Lake Central (1-0) at Morton (1-0):

HAMMOND (8-24-2018)
Another very interesting matchup. I can't find a previous matchup between Lake Central (or its predecessor Dyer Central) and Morton. So it's about time. The Governors didn’t have much offense in the 16-6 win over Highland and LC didn’t wear out the scoreboard in their 10-3 win over Munster. Morton will be worthy of playing a 6A school, but LC will be worthy of a 2-0 record.

Lake Central 21, Morton 13

Chesterton (0-1) at Munster (0-1):

MUNSTER (8-24-2018)
Both teams showed up on defense in week one, but Chesterton scored nine points and Munster scored three. So it comes down to who you thought more highly of in the pre-season and that’s the Trojans. Clearly, I don’t have a definite thought here except that here’s another low-scoring game.

Chesterton 12, Munster 10

Griffith (0-1) at Whiting (1-0):

WHITING (8-24-2018)
Griffith won big last year, but the Panthers lost 53-0 in week one. Whiting rolled over Clark 54-7 and they surely were pointing to this game. This is the biggest school the Class 2A Oilers will play this season, but 4A Griffith is hungry to rebound after last week. It will be close, but the Panthers have just lost too much from last season.

Whiting 20, Griffith 14

Clark (0-1) at Lake Station (0-1):

LAKE STATION (8-24-2018)
Clark has lost 31 of their last 32. Lake Station had won just eight of the last 33. That means that both sides probably see an opportunity here. The Eagles lost 62-7 to East Chicago last week. Clark lost 54-7 to Whiting. I think it's Clark that breaks out here. I know. I know. They don’t have many players. And 31 of their last 32. But I think its finally Clark’s week.

Clark 34, Lake Station 20

Bowman Academy (1-0) at East Chicago (1-0):

EAST CHICAGO (8-24-2018)
Bowman got a win over (Indianapolis) Washington 22-18 last week, but I may have underestimated East Chicago. The Cardinals returned all five offensive linemen from last year? I didn’t know that prior to their 62-7 win over Lake Station. This should be a high-scoring game. There’s a lot of teams on Bowman’s schedule they can beat. EC is not one of them.

East Chicago 42, Bowman 27

Andrean (0-1) at Hanover Central (1-0):

CEDAR LAKE (8-24-2018)
This is a new matchup on the regular season schedule, but Hanover is playing Andrean at the wrong time. The 59ers lost 20-14 at Merrillville last week, while Hanover topped Class 1A Clinton Prairie 26-8. Hanover lost 24-9 to Andrean in sectional play last year, but last week’s Andrean loss means the 59ers won't be overlooking HC. The worst thing that could happen to Hanover was Andrean losing last week.


Valparaiso (0-1) at Mishawaka (1-0):

MISHAWAKA (8-24-2018)
The Vikings lost 21-3 to Penn and now they head back to St. Joseph’s County to take on Mishawaka, a 35-14 winner over Portage in week one. The Vikings played well defensively, but Mishawaka is a difficult team to prepare for because of their option rushing attack. One note. Apparently, the old, beaten up, mud-friendly Mishawaka playing field has been renovated and artificial turf will welcome the Vikings.

Valparaiso 16, Mishawaka 14

Penn (1-0) at MERRILLVILLE (1-0):

MERRILLVILLE (8-24-2018)
A battle of the unbeaten. A clash of the titans! Well, it won't be much of a battle unless the Pirates tighten up offensively. The Pirates committed three turnovers in last week’s 20-14 upset win over Andrean and that can't happen this week. Penn stopped Valparaiso 21-3 last week, but it was only 7-3 in the fourth quarter. The Pirates are not hopelessly overmatched in this one. Merrillville is better than they were last year. Penn is better than Merrillville.


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Revised: August 19, 2018 .