Week 2 Picks - 2017 NW Indiana High School Football

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith

August 24, 2017

The last time Whiting was the 'guest' at Griffith was 1971. The Oilers welcome Griffith to the Greater South Shore Conference (GSSC) at 7 p.m. Friday. (Photo by Mark Smith)

'Mr. Picker' WEEK-1, 2017 Football Picks in Review:
Aug. 18-19, 2017

Wrong - 4; Right - 8 = 66.7%

The Pick The Result

Highland 27, Morton 13  

(wrong) Morton 27-23

Lake Central 34, Munster 14  

LC 33-14

Chesterton 21, Hobart 14  

Chesterton 35-21

Michigan City 42, Griffith 31  

Michigan City 25-20

Portage 26, Mishawaka 14  

(wrong) Mishawaka 47-45

Gavit 42, Calumet 14  

Gavit 32-12

Wheeler 28, River Forest 14  

Wheeler 26-14


(wrong) ANDREAN 42-13

Valpo 28, Penn 21  

Valpo 12-7

LaPorte 42, New Prairie 28  

LaPorte 41-12

Kankakee Valley 33, Rensselaer 28  

(wrong) Rensselaer 27-13

LOWELL 27, CP 16  

LOWELL 27-13


WEEK (1) ONE (8 of 12, 66.7%)


ANALYSIS: For week one, when you don't really know anything, it was a good week. I didn't really know who was starting at QB for Lowell. I didn't know anything but rumor about Penn. And I didn't know about Rensselaer rumors. I'd heard that some starters were being benched for the first half of the game. Shouldn't have listened to it. Starting lineup or no starting lineup, the Bombers topped KV by two TDs.

WORST PICK: Merrillville over Andrean. Not even close. Rare case when the team with the returning starting QB lost to a smaller school with a new staring QB. I don't think Merrillville is bad, so the flip side there is that Andrean could be really good.

BEST PICK: LOWELL over CP. This is a game that usually doesn't have 40 points scored on traditionally strong defenses. The two-TD spread may say more about Lowell than it does about CP.


'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 (2) TWO:

LaPORTE (08-25-2017) Week two in Northwest IndianA this year is highlighted by four intra-state battles. Illinois high school football begins this week and four traditionally solid schools are taking on Northwest Indiana's finest.

Michigan City at Homewood-Flossmoor. Lincoln-Way (New Lenox, Ill.) Central at Lake Central. Gavit at (Chicago Heights) Bloom Township. (Lansing, Ill.) TF South at East Chicago. These are all good matchups. TF South was 7-3 last year. Lincoln-Way Central was 7-4. Bloom was 5-4 and Homewood-Flossmoor, where the coach is former Portage coach Craig Buzea and the defensive coordinator is former Merrillville coach Zac Wells, was 10-1 in 2016, 10-2 in 2015 and 11-3 in 2014.

I like these state-to-state matchups and the travel distances just aren't very far. It is about 20 minutes from East Chicago to TF South and about 30 minutes from Gavit to Bloom. But whether these games continue depend almost totally on whether fans will cross state lines to attend a game at a place they've never been to, even though it may be closer than some Indiana rivals.

As much as I like these matchups, especially Michigan City and Homewood-Flossmoor, the MC fans (not the team) will determine whether this is a regular series.

Week two is tough for predictions because of those out of state matchups. The Illinois teams have not yet played a game yet. If I wasn't sure what NW Indiana teams had before the first kickoff, do you really think I know about the prospects for Lincoln-Way Central?

Mr. Picker 2017 WEEK (2) TWO:

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

FLOSSMOOR (08-25-2017)
Homewood (Homewood and Flossmoor are two different places) is the original home of Aurelio's Pizza and Michigan City fans might want to pick some up because that could be the only thing they enjoy on this night. H-F returns 13 starters off an 11-1 team and they typically have a high-powered running attack. Michigan City can score, but H-F can score more.

Homewood-Flossmoor 37, Michigan City 20

Lake Central at Lincoln-Way Central (0-0):
NEW LENOX (08-25-2017)
For Lake Central fans, Lincoln-Way Central will be easy to find. Eventually. Get on Route 30 West and keep going for a while. Route 30 is Lincoln Highway. That's why there are four 'Lincoln Way' high schools. LWC is the original. Lincoln-Way Central returns nine starters on offense from a 7-4 team including Division I WR-DB prospect Matt Pollack, who is all over the internet when you look up his team. LC's junior QB Zack Bundalo threw for four TDs last week, but the offense will be tested this week against an experienced (6 starters return including Pollack) defense.

LWC 31, Lake Central 27

Morton (1-0) at Plymouth (1-0):
PLYMOUTH (08-25-2017)
Here's another fine matchup that is long overdue. NW Indiana teams have never scheduled Plymouth and I don't know why. With that said, this could be a long ride home for the Governors. Morton stole the game from Highland last week with two fumble return TDs. Plymouth upset state rated (still 4A No. 16) East Noble 22-18 and Marshall County is not fun for visitors this time of year unless you are going to the 'Blueberry Festival.'

Plymouth 28, Morton 7

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

GRIFFITH (08-25-2017)
A great new matchup of traditional NW Indiana powers who haven't met in years. Griffith joins Whiting in the Greater South Shore Conference (GSSC), so this is a mandated league game. The 2A No. 6 Oilers scored 74 points on outmanned Clark last week, but they know that traveling to Griffith isn't fun. In an era where the same schools schedule the same schools every year, this game is a blessing. More so, on this night. For Griffith. The Panthers should have beaten Michigan City last week and they'll be more than ready.

Griffith 35, Whiting 14

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

WHEATFIELD (08-25-2017)
KV was a disappointment at Rensselaer last week, especially scoring just 13 points. This team returned most of its offense from last year. Wheeler is at a disadvantage against larger schools because they don't have many (they reportedly don't have a JV this year) players. Cooler weather will help them this week and they have to control the ball and shorten the game. But I think KV wears them down late in the game.

Kankakee Valley 28, Wheeler 26

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

CHESTERTON (08-25-2017)
Munster was a bit overwhelmed by the passing attack of LC last week, but they'll come much closer on this night. But Chesterton is feeling good after winning the season opener 35-21 at Hobart, breaking an eight-game losing streak. Senior halfback Lou Razo carried the ball 15 times for 252 yards and two TDs. Razo scored a third TD on a fumble recovery runback. Chesterton completed no passes and that's an issue, but I think they win a close one here.

Chesterton 21, Munster 20

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

VALPO (08-25-2017)
The Vikings host 4A No.7 Mishawaka in a game that should begin at 6:30 p.m. Valpo time. What worries me here about Valpo is that they totaled just 12 points and 260 yards against Penn. They'll do better against Mishawaka, but the Cavemen (400 yards and 47 points last week vs. Portage) are hard to stop for four quarters. Another high scoring early season game.

Mishawaka 40, Valparaiso 28

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

HOBART (08-25-2017)
The Brickies' home opener matches them against a LaPorte team that runs the ball on everybody. Hobart did roll up 350 total yards last week, but LaPorte ran the ball 72 times in a 41-12 win at New Prairie. LaPorte won this game 27-10 last year and the Slicers have a lot of those offensive players back.

LaPorte 42, Hobart 14

(SB) CLay (0-1) at New Prairie (0-1):

NEW CARLISLE (08-25-2017)
New Prairie lost 42-13 at LaPorte last week and the 13 was more surprising than the 42. But this is a bounce back week against a Clay team that has hit on hard times, losing 13 games in a row. The Cougars are much better at home and Clay is much better at basketball.

New Prairie 35, Clay 14

Rensselaer (1-0) at North Newton (0-1):

MOROCCO (08-25-2017)
The Bombers hit the road for the first time to take on their western neighbors. Rensselaer contained a good KV offense last week and I can't explain North Newton's 3-0 loss to LaVille last Friday. Says a lot for what is supposed to be a good Spartan defense. But you won't win many games with zero points.

Rensselaer 42, North Newton 8

Highland (0-1) at CROWN POINT (0-1):

CROWN POINT (08-25-2017)
Another new matchup reuniting teams that played in the old Lake Suburban Conference 25 years ago. Highland outplayed Morton last week but lost 27-23 when Morton picked up two Highland fumbles and ran them back for TDs. CP lost 27-13 at Lowell when they gave up two kick return TDs. That won't happen this week and CP's offense will get right on this night.

CROWN POINT 31, Highland 17

LOWELL (1-0) at Portage (0-1):

PORTAGE (08-25-2017)
The game of the week. Portage scored 45 points at Mishawaka last week and still lost. QB Anthony Maceo scored five TDs last week and he'll saddle up against a Lowell defense that allowed just 49 rushing yards to Crown Point. The Indians rallied to win 28-27 at Lowell last year and the Devils have not forgotten. But Lowell dropped four turnovers in their win over CP. They can't do half of that and win here.

Portage 27, LOWELL 21

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Revised: August 24, 2017 .