Week 6 Picks - 2017 NW Indiana High School Football

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith

September 22, 2017

When there a game at Valparaiso high school its not always Valparaiso high school playing. The undefeated Vikings are in Crown Point Friday while the Boone Grove Wolves meets Griffith for the first time ever in the Greater South Shore Conference at VHS. Boone plays their home games at Valparaiso high school. (Photo by Mark Smith)

Mr. Picker - WEEK (6) SIX:

LOWELL (09-22-2017)
With the extreme heat Friday, the biggest issue may not be the Friday night varsity games, but Saturday's junior varsity play, which will be held in daylight.

Saturday temperatures may again rise into the low 90s. Early starts (10 a.m.) and water breaks could ease the pain. Plus, the JV game can be shortened in length if necessary and at schools with artificial turf fields, that subject may come up. Football people always try to be rough and tough and ignore any weather, but this heat level is unusual for this late in the season.

Watch for the score from Hammond tonight as Bishop Noll (0-5) has a real chance to break their 29-game losing streak at home against River Forest (1-4). Clark (0-5) has lost 27 in a row and their chance to turn it around comes on October 6 at home against Gary West Side (1-4). The seniors on those two teams have never won a game and that makes these final few chances to win the "Super Bowl" to them.

I think this is a very predictable week, but I thought we'd be playing in cold and rain by now, too.

'Mr. Picker' WEEK-5, 2017 Football Picks in Review:
Sept. 15-16, 2017

Wrong - 6; Right - 6 = 50.0%

The Pick The Result

New Prairie 35, Bremen 7  

New Prairie 61-13

Morton 42, West Side 14  

Morton 49-14

HANOVER 34, Boone Grove 16  

(wrong) Boone Grove 15-7

Highland 27, Munster 20  

(wrong) Munster 40-21

Griffith 49, Wheeler 14  

Griffith 48-0

LOWELL 27, Kankakee Valley 14  

LOWELL 27-13

ANDREAN 34, Hobart 21  

(wrong) Hobart 13-10 (OT)

Gavit 26, East Chicago 20  

(wrong) East Chicago 20-18

MERRILLVILLE 28, Michigan City 20  

(wrong) Mich. City 56-28

CROWN POINT 26, Portage 14  

(wrong) Portage 27-10

LaPorte 42, Lake Central 20  

LaPorte 56-7

Valparaiso 17, Chesterton 12  

Valparaiso 14-0


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%)
WEEK (5) FIVE (6 of 12, 50.0%)
2017 TOTAL: 41 of 60, 68.3%


ANALYSIS: I stayed too long on the farm with Gavit and Highland, waiting for them to post key wins. Gavit almost got EC, but when you're 1-4, it's hard to say you should be winning. Merrillville wasn't in the game against Michigan City. CP lost their QB against Portage. Hanover got surprised by Boone. I've got all the excuses.

WORST PICK: Which one do you want? Merrillville didn't come close. Neither did Highland. CP lost by 17. And then I picked the Bears and Colts to win last Sunday. Must be the heat.

BEST PICK: Lowell over Kankakee Valley 27-14. Lowell won 27-13. It wasn't a TD with a missed extra point but two Kougar field goals. The game went as predicted in a lot of ways.


'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 (6) SIX:

Whiting (3-2) at HANOVER CENTRAL (4-1):

CEDAR LAKE (09-22-2017)
Hanover won this game 20-0 last year in the middle of a 10-game win streak. Whiting has scored 70 points twice this year, but they've lost to Griffith and Boone. Both teams struggle when they want to throw it. Hanover defeated Whiting for the first time last season and I think they may define their young program (just 5 years) by what they do against the Oilers.

HANOVER 20, Whiting 14

(South Bend) Riley (3-2) at New Prairie (4-1):
NEW CARLISLE (09-22-2017)
The Cougars have scored 222 points in the last four weeks, but Riley's three wins are the most they've had in any season since 2013. The Cougars' running attack is very hard on the South Bend city schools and that continues on this night. Riley's last winning season was 1997.

New Prairie 49, Riley 20

Gavit (1-4) at Morton (3-2):

HAMMOND (09-22-2017)
These two split games last year, but Gavit has lost four in a row coming into this one. I wonder if the Gladiators are having injury problems I don't know about? They had a lot of starters back off a winning team in 2016. Morton has lost only to Plymouth (4-1) and Lowell (5-0). Watch out for them in these four Great Lakes Athletic Conference (GLAC) games if they can win this league opener. And they can.

Morton 35, Gavit 20

Highland (2-3) at LOWELL (5-0):

LOWELL (09-22-2017)
Highland has had two 'big' games this fall against Morton and Munster and they've fallen short. This is a tough assignment for the Trojans coming of a 19-point loss to Munster. Lowell has scored more than 27 points just once this season, odd for a big winning team. But the Devils have allowed only 39 points all season.

LOWELL 42, Highland 14

Munster (2-3) at ANDREAN (3-2):

MERRILLVILLE (09-22-2017)
Andrean lost in overtime last week and the 59ers' other loss was when they had some key players suspended in week three. Munster won a rivalry game last week over Highland, but they have been up-and-down, losing to Lake Central (1-4) but defeating Morton (3-2). I think Munster has a significant edge in depth, which will come into play on a hot 'summer' night.

ANDREAN 28, Munster 27

Kankakee Valley (3-2) at Hobart (4-1):

HOBART (09-22-2017)
KV has good speed and the Kougars average almost 25 points a game. But Hobart has won four in a row including victories over LaPorte (3-2) and Andrean (3-2). These two could very easily meet again in Class 4A Sectional 18 and that game will be closer than this one.

Hobart 34, Kankakee Valley 16

Chesterton (2-3) at Portage (3-2):

PORTAGE (09-22-2017)
The Indians won a big one, 27-10 over Crown Point last week, as they compiled more passing yards than rushing yards for the first time this season. Chesterton was 2-0 last season and ended up 2-8. This year, the Trojans were 2-0 and now they're 2-3. I'm not a big believer in trends that go back to past seasons, but Chesterton has allowed more points (111) this season than they have scored (100). I kinda do believe in that.

Portage 28, Chesterton 14

Valparaiso (5-0) at CROWN POINT (2-3):

CROWN POINT (09-22-2017)
Valpo is without QB Jake Leffew and I don't know if CP is without starting QB Ryan Bolda, who was hurt last week. Valpo has won 'em all, even though they've been held to less than 20 points five times. Crown Point can run on most teams, but Valpo is not 'most teams'. The defenses are better than the offenses here.

Valparaiso 14, CROWN POINT 9.

Griffith (4-1) at BOONE GROVE (3-2):

VALPO (09-22-2017)
Boone plays at Valpo high school when the Vikings aren't there and this is big to them. The first meeting ever (Boone has only had football 7 years) of these two schools. Spirits will be high on the Boone side, but the score will be high on the Griffith side.

Griffith 49, BOONE GROVE 14

LaPorte (3-2) at MERRILLVILLE (1-4):

MERRILLVILLE (09-22-2017)
This is a bad matchup for the Pirates, who have not done well against strong rushing teams. LaPorte won this game 46-35 last season and they average 250 rushing yards per game. Merrillville has allowed at least four TDs in all three Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC) games so far.


Michigan City (3-2) at Lake Central (1-4):

ST. JOHN (09-22-2017)
I don't totally understand why Lake Central has fallen on such hard times, losing the last four games 41-0, 40-14, 45-0 and 56-7. Last year, LC was 1-5 and then won 3-of-their-last-4. The year before the Indians were 5-1 and then lost their last four. The roller coaster seasons are baffling. That's why I think they'll jump up and compete eventually and it might be the Homecoming game Friday. Michigan City averages 30 points a game. They'd like to win two in a row for the first time all year. Eventually LC will rise up and grab an unexpected win.
'Eventually' won't be Friday.

Michigan City 41, LC 31

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Revised: September 22, 2017 .