Week 8 Picks - 2017 NW Indiana High School Football

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith

October 6, 2017

Lowell will need all their horsepower tonight when the Devils welcome in Andrean in a pivotal Northwest Crossroads Conference (NCC) matchup. (Photo by Mark Smith)

Mr. Picker - WEEK (8) EIGHT:

LOWELL (10-06-2017)
The game changes a little Friday as day long rains slick up local football fields. The big schools don't care because they play on artificial turf at all eight DAC schools. But smaller schools with grass fields will see the boys playing in the mud for the first time this fall.

The game changes a bit more as local teams now know what their playoff assignment is. I have always believed that when you know who you are facing in week 10 when the state tournament begins, it affects how you approach weeks eight and nine.

Lowell could have drawn Griffith (7-1) in the quarterfinals of 4A Sectional 17. But they drew Gary West Side (1-7). That may change who they'd use in week eight or more pointedly, week 9. The Devils don't have to have all hands on decks for week 10. A slightly injured player could stay in a week nine game.

West Lafayette (6-1) could have drawn Andean (5-2) n the 3A Sectional 25 Quarterfinals. They didn't. They drew Benton Central (1-6), a team they've already beaten 59-0. If WL needs to sit a couple of players who have been limping, they now have that chance.

How about this one? Lake Station (1-6) could have drawn Whitng (5-2) in Class 2A Sectional 33. They didn't draw anyone in week 10. The Eagles got the only bye in a seven team sectional. Lake Station's week nine game is against Bishop Noll (0-6), who has lost 31 in a row and forfeited this week's game with Whiting reportedly due to a lack of healthy players.

Lake Station wont beat Griffith (6-1) in week eight (trust me on that) so they probably want to play Noll to get a much needed win in week nine. But with no game in week 10, what if Noll forfeits all their remaining games and Lake Station has two weeks off? My point is that the draw affects how you approach the final two weeks.

Friday's question is: What does an all-day rain do to your home field? Hope everybody scheduled their homecoming game for last week.

'Mr. Picker' WEEK-7, 2017 Football Picks in Review:
Sept. 29-30, 2017

Wrong - 2; Right - 10 = 83.3%

The Pick The Result

Griffith 56, South Central 14  

Griffith 53-10

Whiting 34, Calumet 14  

Whiting 20-12

River Forest 28, Lake Station 14  

River Forest 14-8

HANOVER 28, Wheeler 20  

(wrong) Wheeler 31-14

Gavit 28, Clark 21  

Gavit 44-12

Morton 35, Hammond 28  

Morton 37-14

ANDREAN 42, KV 28  


LOWELL 28, Munster 7  


Valparaiso 27, MERRILLVILLE 16  

Valpo 28-0

CP 28, LaPorte 21  

CP 37-35

Portage 28, Michigan City 21  

(wrong) Mich. City 31-14

New Prairie 27, Marian 21  

New Prairie 42-0


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%)
WEEK (6) SIX (9 of 11, 81.8%)
WEEK (7) SEVEN (10 of 12, 83.3%)
2017 TOTAL: 60 of 83, 72.2%


ANALYSIS: Could have been 12-0. Hanover wasn't playing well and the Wheeler upset could have been predicted. Michigan City at home was favored to beat Portage. I just didn't think so.

WORST PICK: Portage over Michigan City. Didn't happen. Wasn't close. Michigan City was the first team to stop Portage QB Anthony Maceo. Held him to less than 20 yards. I didn't see that coming.

BEST PICK: Lowell over Munster 28-7. Lowell won 28-9. There was never a chance for 28-7 because Munster got an early field goal. You don't pick a score which gives one team nine points. It's hard to get to that number. I really couldn't have picked a 28-9 final.


'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 (8) EIGHT:

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

HAMMOND (10-06-2017)
This is the game I thought Clark would win all year. But the Pioneers upset East Chicago to break their three year losing streak two weeks ago. West Side has lost six in a row, but they have been competitive the last 2 weeks. Clark's final home game will be a win.

Clark 27, Gary West Side 14

South Central (4-3) at HANOVER CENTRAL (4-3):

CEDAR LAKE (10-06-2017)
What's happened here? SC has lost their last two. HC has lost their last three. Plus, Hanover drew powerful Andrean (5-2) in week 10 in the sectional quarterfinals. I'm uneasy about this one, but I'm staying with Hanover in a close game. The conditions should favor them.

HANOVER 28, South Central 20

Wheeler (4-3) at BOONE GROVE (4-3):
PORTER TOWNSHIP (10-06-2017)
Wheeler is on the road, but its about five minutes from Wheeler to Boone. The Bearcats have done well, losing only to Griffith (6-1), Whiting (5-2) and Kankakee Valley (3-4). Boone has won four of their last five. I can't pick this one. But I will anyway.

Wheeler 26, BOONE GROVE 20

Calumet (2-5) at River Forest (3-4):

HOBART TOWNSHIP (10-06-2017)
Both of these teams have defeated Lake Station and Bishop Noll, but River Forest also topped Boone back in August. The field conditions matter here. The rain could put the 'river' back in River Forest.

River Forest 14, Calumet 12

Hammond (4-3) at Gavit (2-5):

HAMMOND (10-06-2017)
Since an opening 22-0 shutout at (South Bend) Washington, Hammond has averaged 32 points a game. Gavit has been a major disappointment, but it's not over yet. They didn't draw Lowell (7-0) or Griffith (6-1) in 4A Sectional 17, they drew Highland (2-5). I'm still waiting for the Gavit revival this season. Maybe this week.

Gavit 28, Hammond 26

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

EAST CHICAGO (10-06-2017)
Nobody pays any attention to Morton since coach Roy Richards left, but they are 5-2 with losses to Plymouth (5-2) and Lowell (7-0). This is an interesting game to play for EC because Morton is better and EC drew Morton in the 4A Sectional 17 semifinals. The Cardinals want to win their final home game, but they want to know what works against Morton and what doesn't.

Morton 35, East Chicago 14

Valparaiso (6-1) at Portage (4-3):

PORTAGE (10-06-2017)
Portage got shut down last week at Michigan City and Valpo is better defensively. But the Vikings can't score a lot without their top two QBs and I still like the Indians to win a close game here.

Portage 20, Valparaiso 17


ST. JOHN (10-06-2017)
I do not believe these teams have ever met with records this bad. Both teams use a spread offense that the rain may handcuff. I think Lake Central breaks a 6-game losing streak here.


CROWN POINT (4-3) at Chesterton (3-4):

CHESTERTON (10-06-2017)
CP has topped Valpo and LaPorte back to back. Chesterton broke a 4-game losing streak last week by topping Lake Central. I think Crown Point is well-suited to play in bad weather.

CROWN POINT 27, Chesterton 14

Lafayette Catholic (2-5) at Rensselaer (6-1):

RENSSELAER (10-06-2017)
The 7-time state champions are having a down year? OK, but it's still big for Rensselaer to win this one at home. The Knights are scoring less than 21 points a game. They are not the team that whomped on Rensselaer 52-16 last year. And 59-6 the year before. The Bombers have won two of the last four meetings with Lafayette Catholic. Make it 3-of-5.

Rensselaer 35, Lafayette Catholic 27

LaPorte (4-3) at Michigan City (5-2):

MICHIGAN CITY (10-06-2017)
Both teams are a little shorthanded, but I don't see MC stopping LaPorte running the ball long enough to outscore them. LaPorte ran for 500 yards last week at CP. Michigan City averages 34 points a game. The weather will affect this one. These two will meet again in week 12 in 5A Sectional 9.

LaPorte 35, Michigan City 28

ANDREAN (5-2) at LOWELL (7-0):

LOWELL (10-06-2017)
The game of the week. Andrean is really 5-1-1 because they tied Hobart and lost in overtime. And the 59ers loss came when players were suspended for that game. They could be undefeated. Lowell has won seven games by 14 points or more, but they've had some turnover trouble. Still, can't see a low scoring game here.


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Revised: October 06, 2017 .