Week 8 Picks - 2018 NW Indiana High School Football

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith

October 1, 2018


Teams that are heading in different directions? Maybe. But both sides have to be ready when arch-rivals LaPorte and Michigan City meet this Friday night. 
(Photo by Mark Smith)

"Mr. Picker" - WEEK (8) EIGHT:

VALPARAISO (10-01-2018)
Late season games become more difficult to predict because you don’t know who is injured. Kankakee Valley’s Donald Nannenga was hit in week one and, to my knowledge (the key phrase) has not yet returned to the lineup. He was a two-way running back/linebacker and a key player. Outside of ‘KV nation’, his return will be a surprise to anyone picking the game, not to mention the team they’re playing.

Lowell QB Ethan Igras was hurt in game one and didn’t come back until last week. But, in high school, there can be no announcement of an injured player returning. You find out when the game begins.

Andrean linebacker River Walsh has missed most of the season after a week three injury described a broken leg. Newspaper reports included comments that ‘Walsh might return before the end of the season.’

Will he? Few know and it's in Andrean’s best interests to keep his availability quiet until game time, which ever game that might be. It's why teams can surprise you late in the season. There might be a loss or a gain to or from the injury list that outsiders just don’t know.

I’m not going to pick Lake Central games for awhile. LC got shut out 15-0 by Chesterton (2-5) last week. I’ll let you pick Hobart (6-1) at Munster (1-6).

And Hammond (0-6) has lost 10 in a row. Until they win again, I’ll pass on them as far as predictions are concerned.

What about Crown Point’s home game with Chesterton? Or Lowell’ s road game with Andrean? All four won last week. I don't know what to pick. Check back here later in the week for those winners. In the meantime, a review of last week's 'Mr. Picker' results:

'Mr. Picker' WEEK-6, 2018 Football Picks in Review:
Sept. 28-29, 2018

Wrong - 2; Right - 10 = 83.3%

The Pick The Result

Clark 26, Gavit 12  

(wrong) Gavit 38-7

Bowman 33, Attucks 22  

Bowman 40-22

River Forest 28, Lake Station 6  

River Forest 41-20

Hobart 27, Highland 7  

Hobart 28-14

Wheeler 21, Hanover Central 14  

Wheeler 16-14

Whiting 35, Calumet 14  

Whiting 24-12

Penn 28, New Prairie 0  

Penn 35-7

Michigan City 28, Portage 0  

Michigan City 49-14

Lake Central 26, Chesterton 14  

(wrong) Chesterton 15-0

Valparaiso 24, Merrillville 14  

Valpo 20-6

CP 27, LaPorte 21  

CP 24-21

LOWELL 20, Munster 7  

LOWELL 21-12


Week Seven Review: My maximum this week would have been 11-1. I would never have picked Gavit over Clark, but I have just been stubborn about accepting how far Lake Central has fallen. LC has lost 14 of their last 18 and I keep picking them to win. Lowell and Crown Point led (almost - for CP anyway) all the way, but the games were close. This was a good week for ‘Mr. Picker.’ 

BEST PICK: Crown Point 27-21 over LaPorte when the final score was 24-21. Wheeler 21-14 over Hanover when the final score was 16-14. The goal here is not just to pick the game, but to pick the final score.

WORST PICK: Clark over Gavit. That’s two weeks in a row Clark has been blown out and Gavit (2-5) shouldn’t beat Clark like that. I wonder if Clark has taken some serious injuries.

‘Mr. Picker’  2018 RESULTS
WEEK (7) 10 of 12 = 83.3%
WEEK (6) 9 of 12 = 75.0%
WEEK (5) 8 of 12 = 66.7%
WEEK (4) 10 of 11 = 90.9%
WEEK (3) 9 of 13 = 69.2%
WEEK (2) 12 of 15 = 80.0%
WEEK (1) 10 of 13 = 76.1%
Season so far: 69 of 88 = 77.2%

'Mr. Picker' (13 Years)
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' 2018 - WEEK (8) EIGHT:

Morton (5-2) at East Chicago (4-3):

EAST CHICAGO (10-05-2018)
Morton shouldn’t have lost 38-0 to Lowell. But EC is the only team that’s lost to Munster. The Cards lost to Gavit (2-5), which makes no sense (no offense, Gavit). But Morton gave up 33 points to Lake Central in a season where Lake Central hasn’t scored more than 13 points against anybody else. At the start of the year, I thought Morton could win sectional and regional titles. I’m not quite on the bandwagon, but the team I’ve thought they had should beat EC decisively.

Morton 34, East Chicago 14

Clark (2-5) at Gary West Side (1-6):

GARY (10-05-2018)
As I stated before, I’ve picked Clark to win two weeks in a row and they’ve been bombed 42-0 and 44-7. And I’m wondering if they’ve lost a key player or two. West Side’s only win was two weeks ago, 14-12 over Hammond. They’ve lost all other games by two TDs or more. I’m staying with the Pioneers. They are the better team. I think.

Clark 32, West Side 12

Hanover Central (3-4) at South Central (2-5):

UNION MILLS (10-05-2018)
SC has been outscored 62-7 the last two weeks and I think they’ve been hit by injuries on a small roster. Hanover lost a game they should have won. A 16-14 loss to Wheeler last Friday. At the start of the season, this game might have gone either way. Not now. Hanover should win decisively.

Hanover 28, South Central 7

Riley (4-3) at New Prairie (4-3):

NEW CARLISLE (10-05-2018)
Warm up the scoreboard. Riley’s spread offense against New Prairie’s traditional quick-hitting running attack. Both will be effective, but again, the longer the season goes on, the more you favor the running teams, for multiple reasons. New Prairie has lost only to Penn (6-1), Mishawaka (6-1) and Andrean (6-1).

New Prairie 42, Riley 28

Kankakee Valley (2-5) at Highland (3-4):

HIGHLAND (10-05-2018)
Both teams appear to have played hard all year. Highland has scored 20 points combined in three games against winning teams this season. KV has scored 97 points (13.8 per game) all year, but the Kougars' only wins have come on the road. KV’s place kicker decides this one.

Kankakee Valley 17, Highland 14

River Forest (2-5) at Calumet (4-2):

GARY (10-05-2018)
Okay, who is Joey Ondo? Inserted at quarterback two weeks ago against Gary Roosevelt, Ondo, a freshman, threw for five touchdowns in a 32-22 victory. Lake Week, RF won 47-20. The total of 79 points is the most RF has scored in back-to-back games in 14 years. Ondo is all of 5-foot-8 and 125 pounds. But Calumet has played well all year, losing only 35-20 to Griffith (5-2) and 24-12 to Griffith.

Calumet 42, River Forest 28

Bowman Academy (5-1) at Whiting (7-0):

WHITING (10-05-2018)
Bowman’s only been around since 2007 and they’ve never played Whiting. Bowman has a star running back in Jontae Hurt (5-9, 175) who has picked up 900 yards on 108 carries. Junior quarterback George Johnson (5-11, 180) is 50 of 89 for 1,275 yards and 13 TDs and he’s run for four more TDs. Whiting has been very strong against a very weak schedule. On paper, this is an upset win for Bowman. But I just can't go there. Not this season.

Whiting 28, Bowman 21

Boone Grove (5-2) at Wheeler (4-2):

UNION TOWNSHIP (10-05-2018)
Boone halfback Braeton Vann has 14 TDs, but Wheeler has lost only to Whiting (7-0) and Griffith (5-2). Don’t think about this one too much. The team that runs the ball better wins later in the year. And Boone should be 6-1. The last half of the Boone-Whiting game was stolen from them for reasons I can't explain.

Boone Grove 28, Wheeler 14

LaPorte (2-5) at Michigan City (5-2):

MICHIGAN CITY (10-05-2018)
The unofficial championship of LaPorte County sees the high flying home teams against the sliding visitors. LaPorte has to run the ball. They average 250 yards per game. But if Michigan City gets ahead, the Slicers have no answer. MC has averaged over 300 yards per game with good balance of running and passing.

Michigan City 27, LaPorte 7

Portage (4-3) at Valparaiso (5-2):

VALPARAISO (10-05-2018)
Portage has done a magnificent job of creating a winning record, while averaging just 13 points a game. But reality set in with a four TD loss to Michigan City last week. Valparaiso has controlled the lines of scrimmage in all five DAC games so far. No league team has scored 10 points on them. That will continue.

Valparaiso 21, Portage 0

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Revised: October 01, 2018 .