Week 5 Picks - 2017 NW Indiana High School Football

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith

September 15, 2017

It'll be 3A No. 5 West Lafayette and 2A No. 4 Rensselaer in the Lucas Oil Arena in downtown Indianapolis Saturday morning. There's plenty of room for you. Even if every single person from Rensselaer shows up, there will still be good seats available.
 (Photo by Mark Smith)

Mr. Picker - WEEK (5) FIVE:

LOWELL (09-15-2017)
The Northwest Crossroads Conference is the next-to-last league to begin conference play this week. The Great Lakes Athletic Conference (GLAC) starts conference play next week.

I have not noticed in past years that league games are more predictable than nonconference games. In fact, it's the other way around. Knowing a team from multiple past seasons might give coaches more certainty about how to attack them. Players almost always remember last year's game and think about what they can do to 'make it right.'

We still have the same four undefeated teams after four weeks: Hanover Central, Rensselaer, Lowell and Valparaiso.

Rensselaer (4-0) gets the big stage Saturday morning (10 a.m.) when they play West Lafayette (3-1) at the Lucas Oil Arena in Indianapolis. For early risers, it might be worth the drive.

'Mr. Picker' WEEK-4, 2017 Football Picks in Review:
Sept. 8-9, 2017

Wrong - 1; Right - 11 = 91.7%

The Pick The Result

New Prairie 35, (SB) Washington 21  

New Prairie 46-7

Rensselaer 35, Twin Lakes 14  

Rensselaer 21-0

Kankakee Valley 27, North Newton 8  

KV 17-12

HANOVER 42, River Forest 7  


Highland 34, Gavit 20  

Highland 25-12

Munster 28, Morton 14  

(wrong) Morton 24-16

Hobart 27, East Chicago 20  

Hobart 40-0

Boone Grove 20, Lake Station 14  

Boone Grove 53-0

LaPorte 42, Chesterton 21  

LaPorte 20-18

Valparaiso 35, Michigan City 21  

Valpo 17-14

Crown Point 34, Lake Central 27  

CP 45-0

Portage 28, Merrillville 20  

Portage 28-21


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

WEEK (2) TWO (9 of 12, 75.0%)
WEEK (3) THREE (7 of 12, 58.3%)
WEEK (4) FOUR (11 of 12, 91.7%)
2017 TOTAL: 35 of 48, 72.9%


ANALYSIS: Was there any way to have picked Morton over Munster coming off back-to-back Morton losses to Plymouth and Lowell? After Munster beat East Chicago 35-13 in week three? Probably not. So the week was as good as it could have realistically been. Still, a real true 'picker' has got to get 'em all right at least once a year.

WORST PICK: Munster over Morton. The Governors actually played well the week before against Lowell. Munster had chances, but didn't make much of them.

BEST PICK: Portage over Merrillville 28-20. The final score was 28-21. All I needed was the knowledge that all extra points would be good. I thouht there would be one miss. Yee of little faith.


'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 (5) FIVE:

New Prairie (3-1) at Bremen (2-2):

BREMEN (09-15-2017)
The Cougars average 43 points a game and Bremen plays a small school schedule including 1A Triton. The Lions lost this game by 22 points last year. Will this one be closer?
Uh. No.

New Prairie 35, Bremen 7

West Side (2-2) at Morton (2-2):

HAMMOND (09-15-2017)
The Cougars topped Roosevelt to begin the year, but have scored just 12 points in their last two games. They will find hard times in Hammond against a battle-tested team.

Morton 42, West Side 14

HANOVER CENTRAL (4-0) at Boone Grove (2-2):

PORTER TOWNSHIP (09-15-2017)
A test for Hanover which averages 45 points a game and needs a test. Boone has won two and been competitive in all four. This is too much to ask.

HANOVER 34, Boone Grove 16

Munster (1-3) at Highland (2-2):

HIGHLAND (09-15-2017)
Highland has won two and they should have beaten Morton. Munster should have beaten Morton, too. But hey. Notre Dame 'should have' beaten Georgia. The Bears 'should have' beaten the Atlanta Falcons last Sunday.

Highland 27, Munster 20

Griffith (3-1) at Wheeler (2-2):

UNION TOWNSHIP (09-15-2017)
This game seems close on paper. But they play it on grass and Griffith has much too strong an offense here. The Bearcats are at home. But, again, so were Notre Dame and the Chicago Bears last week.

Griffith 49, Wheeler 14

LOWELL (4-0) at Kankakee Valley (3-1):

WHEATFIELD (09-15-2017)
The Kougars have won three in a row, but they have to find a way to score on a Lowell team that has allowed only four touchdowns in four games. The Kougars will keep it close, but then, so did the Bears and the Fighting Irish.

LOWELL 27, KV 14

Hobart (3-1) at ANDREAN (3-1):

MERRILLVILLE (09-15-2017)
This game will explain a lot. Andean only lost a game when they had five players suspended. Hobart lost the season opener to Chesterton and has won three in a row.
Hobart has shut out Gary West Side and East Chicago in back to back weeks. That will end here.

ANDREAN 34, Hobart 21

Gavit (1-3) at East Chicago (1-3):

EAST CHICAGO (09-15-2017)
Is Gavit short some players? Since a 20-point win over Calumet it's been nothing but hard times. EC has been shut out two of the last three weeks. They are like the Indianapolis Colts. If they didn't have back luck, they'd have no 'Luck' at all.

Gavit 26, East Chicago 20

MERRILLVILLE (1-3) at Michigan City (2-2):

MICHGAN CITY (09-15-2017)
The Pirates and Wolves both lost in the final minute last week. Both teams allow a lot of points. As long as Merrillville's Cam Wright can stay in the game, the Pirates have a chance anywhere. This might be called an upset now, but if you go back to the start of the season, it wouldn't be.

MERRILLVILLE 28, Michigan City 20

CROWN POINT (2-2) at Portage (2-2):

PORTAGE (09-15-2017)
Both teams lost to Lowell. Both teams defeated Lake Central. This game looks even, but it's not. Crown Point is bigger up front and is going to be able to wear down the home team. Uh. No.

CROWN POINT 26, Portage 14

Lake Central (1-3) at LaPorte (2-2):

LaPORTE (09-15-2017)
LaPorte has lost two games by 11 points that they probably should have won. LC has lost three games by 25 or more and I don't know what's going on there. LaPorte might still be the best team in the DAC.

LaPorte 42, Lake Central 20

Valparaiso (4-0) at Chesterton (2-2):

CHESTERTON (09-15-2017)
Valpo will go the rest of the way (I believe) without starting QB Jake Leffew, so points will be hard to come by. Chesterton is 2-2 after being 2-0. Last season they were 2-0 and finished at 2-8. The Trojans are very well aware of that. Teams without their starting QB usually lose on the road. Usually.

Valparaiso 17, Chesterton 12

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Revised: September 15, 2017 .