Week 9 Picks - 2019 NW Indiana High School Football

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith

October 14, 2019

Is victory finally coming home to Lake Station Friday night? Somebody has to win the matchup of Lake Station and South Newton. (Photo by Mark Smith)


Mr. Picker - WEEK (9) NINE:

VALPARAISO (10-18-2019)
Every once in awhile I get bored with the game I see and I think about the games I’d like to see. Not that I don't like to see Lowell play Morton twice a year. Or the never-ending Route 30 feud between Merrillville and Crown Point. But we do see changes once in awhile.

Portage will start playing Morton next year, and I like it. But what is possible? How about these games?

Morton vs. Merrillville - How many Morton coaches are from Merrillville? Morton plays a weak schedule and they need to bulk it up. And I hate to say it, but Andrean does not have the manpower to play the Pirates anymore. Morton vs. Merrillville would put points on the board and would put some fans in the seats at Morton. If I’m Merrillville, I’d drop Andrean to play Morton. If I'm Morton, I’d drop Lowell to play Merrillville.

Lowell vs. New Prairie - I think this could be a tradition. Two perennial powers who can only meet in the regional. Imagine this matchup this year with New Prairie being undefeated? They have met once and it was a New Prairie win 28-27. It's an hour drive for both sides, but as long as old Russ Radtke is still out on the prairie, this game would be standing room only in Lowell.

Crown Point vs. Elkhart - The new Elkhart high, a consolidation of Elkhart Memorial and Elkhart Central, will be a Class 6A school. CP begins the year with two 4A teams and it's gong to be awhile before Highland beats them. The new Elkhart will want to be a state power so they can't be scheduling small neighbors like Jimtown.

Lowell vs. Hanover Central - It has to happen eventually. If Hanover can schedule Andrean, they’re ready to play Lowell. There is no more obvious a matchup that has never happened. For those ‘of a certain age’, most of Hanover’s school district was the old Lowell school district before HC was built in the late 1960s. When Hanover re-started their football program six years ago, it was understood that they should wait to try to play their ‘sister’ school to the south. But Hanover now plays East Chicago and Culver Academy. I can't believe they really want to play in Marshall County every other year. Lowell has nonconference games with Morton, Portage, Crown Point and Griffith. All good opponents. But Morton has ‘zero’ fan support and Hanover would bring 100 fans to Lowell for a junior varsity game. This matchup will happen eventually.

Now, let's recap last week's results for 'Mr. Picker.'

'Mr. Picker' WEEK-8, 2019 Football Picks in Review:
Oct. 11-12, 2019

Wrong - 1; Right - 9 = 90.0%

The Pick The Result

Calumet 35, River Forest 21  

Calumet 44-0

South Central 35, Bishop Noll 28  

South Central 48-12

HANOVER CENTRAL 28, Wheeler 20  


Kankakee Valley 16, Highland 14  

KV 33-30

Merrillville 35, Lake Central 7  

Merrillville 41-21

Michigan City 20, LaPorte 13  

Mich. City 7-3

LOWELL 19, Andrean 16  

(wrong) Andrean 13-0

Chesterton 28, CP 20  

Chesterton 27-14

Griffith 27, Whiting 14  

Griffith 34-6

Morton 42, East Chicago 14  

Morton 47-3

‘Mr. Picker’ (by the week)
WEEK ONE: 9 of 15, 60.0%
WEEK TWO: 8 of 12, 66.7%
WEEK THREE: 6 of 12, 50.0%
WEEK FOUR: 10 of 10, 100.0%
WEEK FIVE: 8 of 10, 80.0%
WEEK SIX: 5 OF 10, 50%
WEEK SEVEN: 9 OF 10, 90%
WEEK EIGHT: 9 OF 10, 90%
SEASON TOTAL: 64 of 89, 71.9%

ANALYSIS: Another good week and I'm up over 70% for the year. While I missed the Andrean-Lowell game and I’m not sure if they met again tomorrow in Lowell that I’d pick Andrean. That was an even matchup. In the interest if full disclosure, I’m not sure any of the 10 results last week were upsets. It should have been an easy week. Week 9? Not so easy. Some teams that have playoff games in week 10 might not, quite rightfully, play injured players in week nine. You can't know for sure. But I'm looking for 9 of 10 again this final week to build my momentum for the ‘Mr. Picker’ playoffs.

'Mr. Picker' (13 Years)
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 2019 WEEK (9) NINE:

South Newton (0-8) at Lake Station (1-7):

LAKE STATION (10-18-2019)
There may be drama here. South Newton has not won a football game since Oct. 7, 2016. The Rebels have lost 30 games in a row. But Lake Station has won just three of their last 27 and all three have all been road games. The Eagles’ last home win was October 21, 2016. So there is a chance that no one on the field for Lake Station Friday night has even won a home varsity football game. And there is a chance that no one on the field for South Newton has ever won any varsity football game anywhere. Somebody has to win this Friday night.

Lake Station 26, South Newton 12

Andrean (5-3) at Highland (3-5):

HIGHLAND (10-18-2019)
The 59ers can clinch a winning season for the 10th time in 11 years if they top Highland. And if Hobart loses to Lowell, the 59ers, Lowell and Hobart all share the Northwest Crossroads Conference (NCC) title. Highland has lost three in a row, but the Trojan seniors will take the home field for the final time Friday. Andrean has only lost to top teams (Merrillville, Hobart and New Prairie).

Andrean 30, Highland 14

Portage (1-7) at LaPorte (1-7):

LaPORTE (10-18-2019)
Good luck picking this one. Portage has lost six in a row, and after scoring 83 points in the first three weeks, the Indians have scored just 37 in the last five weeks. I don't know why. Meanwhile LaPorte has scored only 71 points all season, but something is happening here. The Slicers have been competitive in the last three games losing 21-0, 21-10 and 7-3. I like LaPorte to win their final home game.

LaPorte 17, Portage 10

Clark (4-4) at Morton (7-1):

HAMMOND (10-18-2019)
There was a time this year when it was suggested that Clark could possibly upset Morton, but Clark has lost their last three games. Actually, there wasn't a time when anybody really thought Clark could beat Morton. The Governors will win decisively again this week and will ask themselves for the eighth week in row, "How did we lose to Highland?”

Morton 56, Clark 8

South Central (2-6) at Hanover Central (5-3):

CEDAR LAKE (10-18-2019)
South Central has won two of their last three, but Hanover needs a win to clinch their first winning season since 2016 and to get some positive push towards a winnable Class 3A Sectional 25. Hanover is the largest school that South Central plays all year.

Hanover Central 27, South Central 17

Griffith (1-6) at Wheeler (4-4):

UNION TOWNSHIP (10-18-2019)
Obviously the Bearcats need this one to guarantee at least a .500 season. Wheeler hasn't had a winning season since 2015. Griffith got their first win of the season last week and they might be excited about ending the schedule on a two-game win streak. I like an upset here, fueled by Panther power.

Griffith 28, Wheeler 21

Michigan City (4-4) at CROWN POINT (4-4):

CROWN POINT (10-18-2019)
I need help here. CP has a habit of falling far behind and rallying in the second half. They were tied with Valparaiso (8-0) and Merrillville (7-1) in the fourth quarter, but they lost. Michigan City reportedly has had some internal problems, but they have bounced back with wins over Portage and LaPorte. Both these teams are better than 4-4 so I need time to think about this one. Is there a favorite here?

Check back with me Thursday.

Lowell (5-3) at Hobart (6-2):

HOBART (10-18-2019)
One night only for the Northwest Crossroads Conference (NCC) title. Hobart gets all of the title with a win. Lowell gets a title share with a road upset. Lowell lost to Andrean last week, but I didn't know that in the last 15 years, Lowell has lost to Andrean six times during the regular season and then come back to win the sectional. The Brickies are going for their seventh win in a row and Hobart hasn't won more than seven in a row in 13 years.  I really don't know about this one.

Check back with me Thursday.

Chesterton (6-2) at Merrillville (7-1):

MERRILLVILLE (10-18-2019)
They should play this one at high noon because this will be a wild west shootout. Merrillville averages 35 points and 350 yards a game, but there’s a new sheriff in town. Chesterton 6-foot-3 sophomore quarterback Chris Mullen has thrown for 1,800 yards and 20 touchdowns. I don't think either team can stop the other very long.

Merrillville 37, Chesterton 34

New Prairie (8-0) at Elkhart Central (6-2):

ELKHART (10-18-2019)
The feature game on the week nine schedule asks if New Prairie, trying to post just the school’s second undefeated regular season in history, can defeat an Elkhart Central team that is playing at home for the final time in history. Elkhart Central and Elkhart Memorial consolidate next year and the Blue Blazers are going out in style with six wins so far and narrow losses only to Mishawaka 22-17 and Penn 21-19. Central senior fullback Mark Brownlee has 1,440 yards and 21 TDs on 175 carries. New Prairie quarterback Chris Ketterer has 1,556 yards and 22 TDs on 173 carries. The end of an era in Elkhart can be the end of New Prairie’s undefeated season.

Elkhart Central 28, New Prairie 27

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Revised: October 14, 2019 .