Week 3 Picks - 2017 NW Indiana High School Football

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith

September 1, 2017

It's almost game time in LaPorte where undefeated Valparaiso will take on the defending Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC) champ Slicers on opening night of the 2017 DAC season. (Photo by Mark Smith)

'Mr. Picker' WEEK-2, 2017 Football Picks in Review:
Aug. 25-26, 2017

Wrong - 3; Right - 9 = 75.0%

The Pick The Result

Homewood-Flossmoor 37, Michigan City 20  

H-F 63-21

Lincoln-Way Central 31, Lake Central 27  

LWC 41-0

Plymouth 28, Morton 7  

Plymouth 50-13

Griffith 35, Whiting 14  

Griffith 48-9

Kankakee Valley 28, Wheeler 26  

KV 31-22

Chesterton 21, Munster 20  

Chesterton 33-21

Mishawaka 40, Valparaiso 28  

(wrong) Valpo 31-7

LaPorte 42, Hobart 14  

(wrong) Hobart 34-23

New Prairie 35, Clay 14  

New Prairie 73-0

Rensselaer 42, North Newton 8  

Rensselaer 45-6

CROWN POINT 31, Highland 17  


Portage 27, LOWELL 21  

(wrong) LOWELL 20-7


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

WEEK (2) TWO (9 of 12, 75.0%)
2017 TOTAL: 17 of 24, 70.7%


ANALYSIS: I could have been 10 of 12 if I'd have been sure about Lowell, but I'd pick Mishawaka over Valpo and LaPorte over Hobart again if the games were played tonight. The single most surprising outcome of the season so far is LaPorte losing to the Brickies. I think LaPorte is the better team. There may have been some off-the-field circumstances last week that affected the Slicers' play. Hobart is very young and reportedly will be good, but that result was ahead of its time.

WORST PICK: Portage over Lowell. I did not see Lowell holding a Portage team that scored 45 on Mishawaka, to just seven points. Portage is 0-2 but there's a good team in there somewhere.

BEST PICK: CP over Highland. I had CP winning by 14. They won by 27. Crown Point's 14-point loss at Lowell was deceptive in week one. The Bulldogs' defense from scrimmage was solid in that defeat. Credit to Highland for wanting to play CP, but they were overmatched.


'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 - WEEK (3) THREE:

LOWELL (09-01-2017)
I didn't expect Munster (0-2), Merrillville (0-2) and Portage (0-2) to be still looking for a first win on the first day of September. We may have some shifts in power among some teams, but a word of warning. The first two weeks are exhibition games to a lot of schools. The Dunelend Conference begins league play tonight and the Northwest Crossroads Conference and Great Lakes Athletic Conference (Hammond schools) won't begin for awhile.

The Cleveland Browns just finished the National Football League pre-season 4-0. Trouble is: Now, the real games begin.

There's a few home teams with a chance to pull a big upset Friday. Then again, IU thought they had a chance against Ohio State Thursday, didn't they?

Mr. Picker 2017 WEEK (3) THREE:

Rensselaer (2-0) at North Judson (1-1):

NORTH JUDSON (09-01-2017)
Judson won at home over the Bombers two years ago but this isn't that Rensselaer team. The Bombers are going to be 4-0 when they meet West Lafayette at the Lucas Oil Arena in downtown Indianapolis on Saturday, Sept. 16.

Rensselaer 30, North Judson 14

Hammond (1-1) at Kankakee Valley (1-1):

WHEATFIELD (09-01-2017)
I don't know how to read Hammond's 58-43 win over (Burbank, Ill.) Reavis. The Rams are not an Illinois power, but 58 points is impressive. KV won 31-22 at Wheeler last week and this will be their home opener. Looks like another high scoring game.

KV 42, Hammond 21

Gavit (1-1) at North Newton (0-2):

MOROCCO (09-01-2017)
North Newton is home for the third week in a row in search of points. They've lost 3-0 and 45-6 so far. Gavit got derailed 26-6 in Chicago Heights against Bloom last week. I do not remember Gavit and North Newton ever playing before.

Gavit 28, North Newton 7

HANOVER (2-0) at Lake Station (1-1):

LAKE STATION (09-01-2017)
Hanover has been very solid running the ball, but they have faced two 0-2 teams, Lake Station topped Clark 38-23 last week, but even at home, this is a hard hill to climb. HC has won 13 regular season games in a row.

HANOVER CENTRAL 42, Lake Station 14

Gary West Side (1-1) at Hobart (1-1):

HOBART (09-01-2017)
Hobart's results so far are hard to figure and we won't know any more after this Friday. The Brickies lost to Chesterton and beat LaPorte. I can virtually guarantee you that, when the time comes, LaPorte will beat Chesterton. So what does that mean for Hobart with Gary West Side. Not much. The Cougars, who have given up 83 points in two weeks, don't match up here.

Hobart 45, Gary West Side 7

East Chicago (1-1) at Munster (0-2):

MUNSTER (09-01-2017)
This is a turning point for Munster. After losses to DAC schools Lake Central and Chesterton, the Mustangs need a win here badly. EC lost 28-0 to TF South last week in Illinois so they need a bounce back here.

Munster 28, East Chicago 20

New Prairie (1-1) at ANDREAN (2-0):

MERRILLVILLE (09-01-2017)
Here's the home opener for the 59ers facing a team they defeated twice, 38-28 and 28-14, last fall. The 59er offense has scored 100 in two weeks. New Prairie laid 73 points on (South Bend) Clay last Friday and they are very familiar with Andrean.

ANDREAN 28, New Prairie 21

LOWELL (2-0) at Morton (1-1):

HAMMOND (09-01-2017)
Morton took the risk of playing at Plymouth and they paid the price, losing 50-13. How is Lowell playing at Morton for the third time in two seasons? How can Lowell be 2-0 and not have a rushing TD yet this fall? How can the Bears lose 25-0 to the Cleveland Browns? (Sorry, that last question just slipped out.)

LOWELL 35, Morton 8

Chesterton (2-0) at Michigan City (1-1):

MICHIGAN CITY (09-01-2017)
Can you get beat 63-21 and just get over it over one week later? That's the question for Michigan City after their loss at Homewood-Flossmoor last Friday. Chesterton is off to a 2-0 start after a 2-8 season with wins 35-21 and 33-21. The Wolves have to have some doubts about last week and the Trojans still may have some doubts about last year, when they lost 20-0 to MC after starting the season 2-0.

Michigan City 31, Chesterton 27


CROWN POINT (09-01-2017)
Merrillville only has 13 points scored in two weeks and I'm not sure QB Cam Wright can play. CP rushed for 352 yards last week and they have not allowed anyone to rush for 100 yards against them yet. These teams split two games last year with CP winning in the sectional title game.


Portage (0-2) at Lake Central (1-1):

ST. JOHN (09-01-2017)
LC lost 41-0 at Lincoln-Way Central in Illinois last week, but there's no way to know just how good LWC is yet. Portage has lost 47-45 to 4A No. 10 Mishawaka and 20-7 to 4A No. 4 Lowell. Are they bad or are the teams they've faced just that good? I think Lake Central can win a high scoring game here.

Lake Central 41, Portage 27

Valparaiso (2-0) at LaPorte (1-1):

LaPORTE (09-01-2017)
Here's where I'm discounting last week's results. Valparaiso stomped on Mishawaka 31-7, a game I thought was pretty even going in. And LaPorte lost 34-23 to Hobart and I still think LaPorte is the better team. So, I'm discounting last week's results for purposes of this prediction. Two weeks ago, I'd pick LaPorte to win this high-scoring game by 10 points. I'm still going that way.

LaPorte 38, Valparaiso 28

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Revised: September 01, 2017 .