Week 7 Picks - 2020 NW Indiana High School Football

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith

September 29, 2020


Football is back in Hammond this week as Hammond High takes on Morton Friday night. The Hammond schools lost their first six games to the Covid-19 virus situation, but all four (Hammond, Clark, Morton and Gavit) are eligible for the upcoming state tournament. (Photo by Mark Smith)

Mr. Picker - WEEK (7) SEVEN:

MERRILLVILLE (10-02-2020)
The most interesting change in this week’s schedule is Merrillville playing at Bishop Chatard in Indianapolis. The Pirates showdown game with Valparaiso was cancelled due to the Covid-19 virus so the Pirates will ride the big, yellow bus to Indianapolis for a first-time meeting with one of the true giants of Indiana high school football.

On paper, it’s a great matchup. The game matching powerhouse teams from different parts of the state who, under normal circumstances, would (or could) never schedule each other.

Chatard (5-1), ranked No. 1 in Class 4A is a 14-time state champion. The Trojans only loss this season was 39-20 to Class 5A No. 1 Cathedral (6-0), one of the Top-25 teams in the nation. I’m uneasy about this game. Two 3-hour bus rides (back and forth) in the virus year to play an unscheduled nonconference game.

I appreciate that the Pirates were pointed to a big game in week seven against Valparaiso and now they still have a big game. But I think that if you hope for a long tournament run as Merrillville probably does, bye weeks during the regular season are a plus, not a minus.

Due to virus cancellations, Valparaiso will play five regular season games. Morton will play three. Lowell and Hobart will play eight. What difference does it make? To me, football is a game of injuries.

You need to be 100% when the sectional begins.

Merrillville wins Friday night at Chatard if nobody gets hurt and nobody tests positive the next week. The final score of the game is irrelevant.

To be blunt, there’s a lot of mismatches this week. I will do Munster the favor of not predicting a score on the Munster-Andrean game. Also the less said about Lake Station (0-6) vs. Calumet or Benton Central (0-6) at Rensselaer (3-3) the better. I have no idea who will win, Hammond vs. Morton and Gavit vs. Clark, as all are playing their first games of the season. But first, a look back at Mr. Picker's Week-6 predictions, and how he did.

'Mr. Picker' WEEK-6, 2020 Football Picks in Review:
Sept. 25-26, 2020

Wrong - 2 Right - 5 = 71.4%

The Pick The Result

Highland 27, Munster 7  

Highland 20-3

Rensselaer 26, Lafayette Catholic 21  

Rensselaer 35-19

Hobart 21, Andrean 13  

(wrong) Andrean 35-24

KV 31, LOWELL 21  

(wrong) LOWELL 28-21

River Forest 35, Bishop Noll 12  

River Forest 70-18

Valpo 20, CP 10  


Michigan City 34, Lake Central 14  

Michigan City 48-6

Chesterton 35, Portage 28  

Chesterton 20-0

WEEK SIX (in review):
Another ‘what might have been’ week for Mr. Picker. Hobart was up 14-0 on Andrean and lost. KV was up 21-0 on Lowell and lost. CP and Valpo didn’t even play. I could have been perfect. Could everybody please play this week?

‘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%
WEEK SIX: 5 of 7, 71.4%
SEASON TOTAL (overall): 41 of 55, 74.5%

'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 (7) Seven:

South Central (3-3) at River Forest (4-2):

HOBART TOWNSHIP (10-02-2020)
Warm up the scoreboard here. South Central averages 32 points a game and they haven’t been held below 20. River Forest hasn’t played a tough schedule, but the Ingots average 42 points a game. This one should be high scoring, for sure.

River Forest 42, South Central 30

Bowman Academy (1-4) at HANOVER CENTRAL (4-2):

CEDAR LAKE (10-02-2020)
Bowman put up a fight in a 14-6 loss at Manual high in Indianapolis last week, but they have to score here. Hanover has scored more than 40 points five times this season and they will almost certainly do it again this Friday.
HANOVER 49, Bowman Academy 14

Wheeler (4-2) at Bishop Noll (1-3):

HAMMOND (10-02-2020)
On their home field, does Noll have a shot against a Wheeler team that has scored 40 or more the last three weeks? The Bearcats have lost to Lowell (5-0) and Kankakee Valley (5-1) so they have had a good season so far. And it continues this Friday.
Wheeler 42, Bishop Noll 6

Chesterton (3-3) at Lake Central (1-5):

St. JOHN (10-02-2020)
The Trojans losses are to Pioneer (5-1), Hobart (4-2) and Valparaiso (3-0), all ranked teams. When you get knocked down in the Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC), it's hard to get up. LC has won only three DAC games in four years.

Chesterton 45, Lake Central 20

Michigan City (3-1) at Portage (2-4):

PORTAGE (10-02-2020)
Except for the Chesterton game, Michigan City has moved the ball consistently on everyone. Portage has an explosive offense, but they’ve allowed almost 30 points a game. Bad matchup for the home team.

Michigan City 35, Portage 21

Hobart (3-2) at Kankakee Valley (5-1):

WHEATFIELD (10-02-2020)
KV was unbeatable for 5-½ games, but they gave up 28 second half points at Lowell last week. Hobart led Andrean 14-0 last week and somehow lost 35-24. I can't tell you how teams rebound, but Hobart would certainly have been considered the better team at the start of the season. KV has allowed only 14 points total at home all season in three games.

Hobart 24, Kankakee Valley 17

LOWELL (5-0) at Highland (3-2):
HIGHLAND (10-02-2020)
Highland has two blowout losses to Crown Point (3-2) and Andrean (5-1), but they’ve beaten the teams they were ‘supposed to beat’. Might not be the best time to play Lowell, which could be near full strength for the first time all season. Highland has Lowell (5-0), Hobart (3-2) and Kankakee Valley (5-1) to end the regular season.

LOWELL 27, Highland 14

CROWN POINT (3-2) at LaPorte (1-5):

LaPORTE (10-02-2020)
LaPorte’s got to stop CP from running the ball. Merrillville ran for 234 yards last week on the Slicers. CP had the week off due to the cancellation of the Crown Point-Valparaiso game. I believe that when you’ve played four or five weeks in a row, a week off helps your linemen. CP has only lost to Merrillville (5-0) and Lowell (5-0).

CROWN POINT 23, LaPorte 14

MERRILLVILLE (5-0) at Bishop Chatard (5-1):

INDIANAPOLIS (10-02-2020)
Powerhouse matchup of top-5 teams state wide. I think it comes down to whether Chatard’s four wide receiver set can defeat Merrillville’s high quality secondary led by all-stater Jo Jo Johnson. I may be biased, but I think the Pirates defense will lock up Chatard and a turnover-free Pirate offense leads a solid win.

MERRILLVILLE 31, Bishop Chatard 20

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Revised: September 30, 2020 .