Week 4 Picks - 2020 NW Indiana High School Football

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith

September 6, 2020


Griffith finally gets on the home turf Friday night when the Panthers play the 2020 home opener against long time rival Lowell. (Photo by Mark Smith)

Mr. Picker - WEEK (4) FOUR:

MERRILLVILLE (9-11-2020)
In the early going, some new ‘hombres’ have been seen heading for the city limits. Let’s take a look around. The new Elkhart high school, a consolidation of the old Elkhart Central and Elkhart Memorial high schools, has caused a disturbance. Elkhart (2-0), which is in Class 6A Sectional 2, has rumbled past Mishawaka 35-28 and Columbus East 52-28. Senior halfback Derrick Woods (5-11, 180) score five TDs in the win over Columbus East. He has seven TDs in two games.

Who is this tall boy playing quarterback at Class 4A Columbia City? Big junior Greg Bolt (6-5, 205) is 31 of 54 for 568 yards and nine TDs in three games and ‘City’ has topped Churubusco 38-0, Central Noble 28-7 and Bellmont 47-6. Bolt has also run the ball 33 times for 268 yards (8.1 yards a carry) and four more TDs. Columbia City (3-0) was 5-5 the last three years and they haven’t had a winning season since 2011. They are in 4A Sectional 19.

What’s going on in Fort Wayne with Carroll high? The Chargers were 7-4 last year and 3-7 in 2018 but those days are over. Carroll (3-0) has already stomped on Bishop Luers 48-14, rejected Snider 42-12 and laid the smack down on Fort Wayne North 76-48. That final score again was 76-48. Football. Not basketball. Junior QB Jeffrey Becker (6-1, 195) has thrown for 1,000 yards and 14 TDs in three games with no interceptions. Carroll, which is 6A Sectional 3, has yet to play Bishop Dwenger (3-0) and that’s a big deal in Fort Wayne but the Class 6A playoffs in the north will not be without major matchups.

Again this week, there’s some games you just can't pick and I think Kankakee Valley-North Newton, unfortunately, is one of them. Hobart-Culver is another. Highland-Lake Station. Just too many fences between those two farms. Let's take on some slightly less obvious competitions. But first, a look back at Mr. Picker's Week-3 predictions, and how he did.

'Mr. Picker' WEEK-3, 2020 Football Picks in Review:
Sept. 4-5, 2020

Wrong - 2 Right - 8 = 90.0%

The Pick The Result

Culver Academy 28, HANOVER 26  

(wrong) HANOVER 46-20

Highland 28, West Side 6  

Highland 44-20

Portage 35, Lake Central 27  

Portage 21-0

Andrean 30, New Prairie 21  

Andrean 42-14

Munster 28, Clay 21  

Munster 28-20

Rensselaer 28, Western 24  

(wrong) Western 33-14

Kankakee Valley 27, Washington 7  

KV 42-7

River Forest 35, Lake Station 13  

River Forest 49-0

LOWELL 33, Wheeler 14  

LOWELL 26-13



WEEK THREE (in review):
Other than going the wrong way on the Rensselaer game, this was a good, if not predictable, week. I left out Valpo-LaPorte, North Newton-North Judson and Hobart-Griffith, which were even more obvious mismatches than a couple of games I did pick.

‘Mr. Picker’ (by the week)
WEEK ONE: 6 of 9, 66.6%
WEEK ONE: 6 of 10, 60.0%
WEEK ONE: 8 of 10, 80.0%
SEASON TOTAL (overall): 20 of 29, 68.9%

'Mr. Picker' (15 Years)
2019 (final) OVERALL: 126 of 166 = 75.9%
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 2020 WEEK (4) FOUR:

Knox (1-2) at North Judson (3-0)

NORTH JUDSON (09-11-2020)
Folks turned sideways on Knox when they lost their first two games to Southwood and Marian, but Southwood (3-0) is the 4th-ranked team in Class 1A and Marian (3-0) is the second-rated team in Class 3A. Knox is good and North Judson knows it. The ‘Judds’ average 49 points a game, but they haven’t beaten a team with a winning record. I like Knox to rock the box here.

Knox 28, North Judson 20

Merrillville (3-0) at Portage (2-1):

PORTAGE (09-11-2020)
I love Portage. Speedy. Spunky. And they showed some defense last week in a 21-0 win over Lake Central. It won't matter. Merrillville is speedier (especially on defense) and spunkier. Nobody comes close to Merrillville until week seven.

MERRILLVILLE 30, Portage 14

Munster (1-2) at Rensselaer (1-2):

RENSSELAER (09-11-2020)
I clearly know little about Rensselaer because I’ve picked them to win three times so far and they’re 1-2. But just like Knox, the two teams to beat Rensselaer: Western (3-0) and Kankakee Valley (3-0) are undefeated. Munster won their first game in two years 28-20 over Clay last week, but Rensselaer is not going to host a party for them.

Rensselaer 34, Munster 20

River Forest (2-1) at Hanover Central (2-1):

CEDAR LAKE (09-11-2020)
Hanover is flying high on offense, scoring 40 points in every game so far. But River Forest is averaging 38 points a game against smaller schools. If you look at Hanover’s schedule, who else is going to beat them in the Greater South Shore Conference? Warm up the scoreboard in Cedar Lake for this one as the Wildcats hit 40 again.

Hanover Central 49, River Forest 21

South Central (2-1) at Wheeler (1-2):

UNION TOWNSHIP (09-11-2020)
Does this sound familiar? Sure, Wheeler is 1-2 but look at the teams they’ve lost to ... Lowell (3-0) and Kankakee Valley (3-0) are both undefeated. Meanwhile South Central has laid the smack down on two schools: Culver (0-3) and Boone Grove (0-3) who haven’t won a game yet. I like the Bearcats to put up good numbers in this one.

Wheeler 31, South Central 24

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

MERRILLVILLE (09-11-2020)
This is East Chicago’s very first game and they will be ready to fight. But this one may not last 12 rounds. Andrean lost to superpower Merrillville in the season-opener, but they have rode hard over Lake Central 28-0 and New Prairie 42-14. Watching the 59ers, they are very athletic on both sides of the ball.

Andrean 35, East Chicago 13

Bishop Noll (0-1) at Boone Grove (0-3):

VALPARAISO (09-11-2020)
Somebody’s got to win here. Boone has only scored 12 points all season, but all three teams they’ve lost to have 2-1 records. Bishop Noll lost 49-30 to non-IHSAA Calumet Christian and they had last week off. Boone had a rough pre-season and they have not led in any game all year, but Noll has lost 38 games in a row going back to the 2014 season. Could Noll actually win this week?

Boone Grove 28 Bishop Noll 21

LOWELL (3-0) at Griffith (0-1):

GRIFFITH (09-11-2020)
This is the Panthers’ home opener and their oldest rival. Griffith lost 42-0 to Hobart, but throw that game out. The Panthers have a veteran quarterback in Carson Crowe and a strong linebacker in varsity wrestler Connor Cervantes. Lowell seemed to work on the passing game last week as QB Cam Stojancevich tossed two TDs. The big deal here is depth. Griffith has to get to the lead early because they reportedly only have about 35 varsity players.

LOWELL 32, Griffith 14

Lake Central (1-2) at CROWN POINT (1-2):

CROWN POINT (09-11-2020)
It was hard times for both of these old rivals in week three. Lake Central was blanked 21-0 at Portage, while Crown Point got run over 42-7 at Merrillville. Crown Point’s offense has been held under 100 yards twice in three games, but LC has been shut out the last two weeks. I don’t know about this one.

Check back with me Thursday for a prediction.

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

MICHIGAN CITY (09-11-2020)
The game of the week. The big, green team heads east to take on the wide-open Wolves who have scored 109 points in three games. MC did lose 21-14 to Chesterton last week, but at the start of the season, Chesterton was very highly rated. That’s not a bad loss. Valparaiso, which is still without Jefferson-transfer quarterback Max Grimes, has won 18 Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC) games in a row.

Valparaiso 31, Michigan City 21

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Revised: September 09, 2020 .