Week 6 Picks - 2020 NW Indiana High School Football

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith

September 22, 2020


After seeing fall sports shut down in August, Whiting high school got the 'green light' to resume athletics last week. Whiting football will be back in the driver's seat in October. (Photo by Mark Smith)

Mr. Picker - WEEK (6) SIX:

MERRILLVILLE (9-25-2020)
Despite the juggled scheduling and cancellations, games have not proven more difficult to pick. I thought that some teams might play shorthanded (I know some are) due to positive Covid-19 tests creating odd results, but that has not really happened. I’m guessing that every team you and I watch on Friday nights has lost players due to quarantine action after positive Covid-19 tests. If a few boys are sidelined because they came in contact with a positive virus victim, that, of course, would not be announced. The team simply would play without the boys who are in quarantine, win or lose, and us outsiders would probably never know it unless it was a starting skill position player.

But if you look at the ten games I predicted last week, none of the results are outlandish except for River Forest over East Chicago. No offense to either school but River Forest should never beat East Chicago by eight TDs. I don’t know the situation at EC but they started the season late and must be short some players. The Cardinals get next week (Sept. 25) off and that will probably help them prepare for the rest of what has been a fractured season.

State-wide, 6A No.1 Center Grove rolled over 6A No. 3 North Central 47-0. 4A No. 1 Mt. Vernon stomped on 4A No. 8 Delta 35-0. Class 3A No. 6 Brebuef lost two games (Sept. 18 and 25) to a Covid-19 virus situation.

Can't pick Hanover vs. Boone Grove (1-4). Hard times for Boone this year. And as well as LaPorte (1-4) played last week, Merrillville vs. LaPorte is a mismatch that I will leave to your imagination. With all the north Lake County cancellations, I’m going to stop at nine picks this week. But first, a look back at Mr. Picker's Week-5 predictions, and how he did.

'Mr. Picker' WEEK-5, 2020 Football Picks in Review:
Sept. 18-19, 2020

Wrong - 3 Right - 7 = 70.0%

The Pick The Result

Hanover Central 42, Griffith 28  

(wrong) Griffith 35-8

River Forest 27, East Chicago 21  

River Forest 56-0

Lake Station 38, Bishop Noll 28  

(wrong) Noll 64-54

South Bend Riley 34, Gary West Side 20  

(SB) Riley 34-0

Andrean 35, Highland 14  

Andrean 52-10

Wheeler 28, Boone Grove 14  

Wheeler 44-0

West Lafayette 31, Rensselaer 20  

West Lafayette 27-21 (OT)

Valparaiso 27, Chesterton 17  

Valparaiso 30-21

Lake Central 31, LaPorte 16  

(wrong) LaPorte 28-16

CROWN POINT 26, Portage 21  


WEEK FIVE (in review):
I could have been 10-0 this week. Well, maybe. Who knew 0-4 LaPorte would pick Game 5 against Lake Central to finally win one. (Even though that’s exactly what they did last year). And you can't blame me for picking Hanover over Griffith, even though Griffith did blow them out and it wasn’t even close. LaPorte is better than they previously showed and Griffith, even with a roster of about 30 players, is better than I thought. And seriously, congratulations to Bishop Noll for winning their first game in five years. And for scoring 64 points. The last time Bishop Noll scored 64 or more was when they defeated the old East Chicago Washington high school 70-0 on September 24, 1981.

‘Mr. Picker’ (by the week)
WEEK ONE: 6 of 9, 66.6%
WEEK TWO: 6 of 10, 60.0%
WEEK THREE: 8 of 10, 80.0%
WEEK FOUR: 9 of 9, 100%
WEEK FIVE: 7 of 10, 70%
SEASON TOTAL (overall): 36 of 48, 75.0%

'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 (6) SIX:

Highland (2-2) at Munster (1-4):

MUNSTER (09-25-2020)
Munster has been shut out three times, but this is their arch rival. Do they have a chance? Highland has lost big to the two winning teams they have faced so far, but they rolled over Munster 30-3 last year. Munster’s final games are Highland (2-2), 2A No. 1 Andrean (4-1), 4A No. 9 Lowell (4-0) and 4A No. 4 Hobart (4-1). So, you can see, they’re all-in on this one.

Highland 27, Munster 7

Rensselaer (2-3) at Lafayette Catholic (1-2):

LAFAYETTE (09-25-2020)
I don't have a good ‘read’ on Lafayette Catholic. The Knights win is over winless Northwestern (0-5) and the losses are on the road to West Lafayette (4-1) and Tipton (3-1). Assuming that Rensselaer falls between Tipton and Northwestern quality-wise, who falls on this night? The Bombers lost 27-21 in overtime to West Lafayette last week and they have lost to Lafayette Catholic the last two years. But I think the Bombers edge the home team here.

Rensselaer 26, Lafayette Catholic 21

ANDREAN (4-1) at Hobart (3-1):

HOBART (09-25-2020)
Rare local showdown between two teams that both have been ranked No. 1 at one time this year. Andrean has outscored its last four opponents by a combined score of 169-28. Hobart has beaten their last two foes by a total points differential of 80-0. Who has the power? The Brickies won 33-10 last year, but Andrean won 41-7 in 2018. Defenses dominate offenses here and the home team has the better defense.

Hobart 21, Andrean 13

Kankakee Valley (5-0) at LOWELL (4-0):

LOWELL (09-25-2020)
Major showdown here with KV, easy winners of five games in a row taking on their undefeated rivals to the north. The Kougars (5-0) have not been 6-0 since 2012 and I don't believe they have ever been 7-0. KV led Lowell 14-0 at the half last year and the Devils won 21-14. The Devils have played a more difficult schedule so far and they have been shorthanded in a couple of games, but they have scored 110 points in their last three wins. Should be a good game if it happens. With Covid-19 virus concerns canceling last week’s Lowell game, I believe this week’s game is on, but let me get back to you Thursday with a prediction.

Bishop Noll (1-3) at River Forest (3-2):

HOBART TOWNSHIP (09-25-2020)
Noll won their first game in six years last week 64-54 over Lake Station, but River Forest has averaged 37 points a game. This is the first meeting between these two teams since 2017 and Noll is rebuilding their program. RF has to see Noll (1-3), South Central (2-3), Calumet (who hasn’t played any games yet) and Bowman Academy (1-3) as the ‘yellow brick road’ to a 7-2 season, the best for RF since 2011. Once again, the ‘river runs through it.’

River Forest 35, Bishop Noll 12

CROWN POINT (3-2) at Valparaiso (4-0):

VALPARAISO (09-25-2020)
Valparaiso’s offensive line has won the battle against everyone they have faced so far. But the last Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC) team to beat Valparaiso was Crown Point (on 9-22-2017). CP has become very conservative on offense. Can they make that work against the big, green team that has won 19 regular season games in a row?

Check back with me Thursday, for this pick.

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

MICHIGAN CITY (09-25-2020)
Michigan City lost two games to the Covid-19 virus, but they’re back and the Wolves look at LC (1-4), Portage (2-3), LaPorte (1-4) and Crown Point (3-2) as the blueprint for a big finish. But Lake Central needs a turnaround with superpowers Valparaiso (3-0) and Merrillville (4-0) still left to play.

Michigan City 34, Lake Central 14

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

CHESTERTON (09-25-2020)
I’ve been high on Portage for awhile now and Indians’ QB Tylee Swopes was 23 of 35 for 297 yards last week. But Chesterton passer Chris Mullen is 72 of 131 for 978 yards in five games. Hard running teams give Portage problems, but the Trojans like to fly the friendly skies.

Chesterton 35, Portage 28

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Revised: September 21, 2020 .