A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith
|LaPorte QB Nolan Lorenz (9) runs behind the blocking of guard Oscar Gomez (63) and that's not news. LaPorte begins the post-season as the No. 1 rushing team in Northwest Indiana. (Photo by Mark Smith)|
LOWELL (10-15-2017) Okay, now the tough grades. Not the teams that make the poll in week 10, but the teams that don't.
Greater South Shore Conference (GSSC) champion Griffith (8-1) isn't in this poll because of their schedule, which was weak. If they win 4A Sectional 17, they'll be in the poll.
Hobart (6-3) has beaten LaPorte (6-3) and Andrean (6-3), but they've also lost to two sub-.500 teams. If they win 4A Sectional 18, they'll be here.
Andrean (6-3) hasn't lost to a losing team. But they also haven't defeated a winning team, if you follow me. If they win 3A Sectional 25 over superpower West Lafayette (8-1), they'll be way up in this poll.
Rensselaer (7-2) probably would have been 7th in the poll this week had they not lost 35-31 to Western (5-4). The Bombers only other loss was to West Lafayette.
I think Portage (4-5) is pretty good, but they've lost more than they've won. Understand that this poll does not end with the regular season. We will see how accurate I am here because a lot of the teams listed here will meet in the next four weeks.
1. (4A) LOWELL (9-0)
2016 (9-5), 2015 (12-1), 2014 (8-5), 2013 (6-4), 2012 (5-5), 2011 (5-5)
LOWELL: The Devils followed up their 16-0 shutout of Andrean (6-3) with a 30-7 win at Hobart (6-3). The Brickies went without their starting QB Sam Erlich, but Lowell went without their leading tackler junior end Blake Jansky. Lowell had four different players score TDs at Hobart as they won their 12th road game in a row. The Devils finish the regular season at 9-0 for the second time in three years. Lowell hosts Gary West Side (2-7) in the 4A Sectional 17 semifinals and, if they win, they get Gavit (4-5) or Highland (3-6). If the Devils need to get healthy, they may get that chance. Lowell is the only undefeated team in NW Indiana so this was not a ranking which needed much thought.
2. (6A) Valparaiso (8-1)
2016 (5-5), 2015 (7-3), 2014 (2-8), 2013 (3-7), 2012 (3-7)
VALPO: Valpo rolled over Lake Central (2-7) to finish first in the Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC) for the first time since 2010. Backup QB Reece Crossin passed for three TDs and ran for two more in a game that was only briefly in doubt. Valpo gets a much needed bye week until they host 6A No. 5 Penn (8-1) in the Sectional two semifinals on Oct. 27. The Vikings could have starting QB Jake Leffew back on the field that night and they'll need that against the Kingsmen. who have won eight in a row. Valpo is number two here because they lost to the same Crown Point team that Lowell defeated 27-13. Then, they beat everybody else.
3. (6A) LaPorte (6-3)
2016 (9-2), 2015 (6-4), 2014 (8-6), 2013 (1-9), 2012 (1-9)
LaPORTE: LaPorte gained an unofficial 404 yards on 73 carries in a 36-33 win over Portage. That puts the Slicers, who run out of double tight end, '4-Horsemen' style formations over 3,700 yards in nine games. LaPorte led by 15, but held on as Portage QB Anthony Maceo threw for three Portage TDs. The Slicers get a much-needed bye week and then play at (South Bend) Adams (3-6). The 5A Sectional 9 title game looks like a rematch of last week's 58-56 LaPorte win over Michigan City. LaPorte is third in this poll because of the losses to Hobart (6-3) and Crown Point (5-4). Those are good teams and winning teams but LaPorte should have won those games.
4. (4A) New Prairie (8-1)
2016 (9-3), 2015 (6-4), 2014 (13-2), 2013 (12-1), 2012 (9-2)
NEW CARLISLE: Northwest Indiana's 'forgotten team' won for the eighth week in a row, running over Jimtown 47-13 last Friday. The Cougars average 46 points a game and the only loss is to LaPorte (6-3). New Prairie begins 4A Sectional 18 with a quarterfinal game at (South Bend) Washington (3-6), a team they've already stomped on 46-7. The Cougars would almost certainly play Mishawaka (5-4) in the semifinals. Teams like Lowell (9-0) and Griffith (8-1) are surely already thinking about how they'd stop the 'Prairie Dogs' attack. The Cougars are fourth here because of the 29-point (41-12) loss to LaPorte (6-3). New Prairie can lose to LaPorte, but not by four TDs. Everybody moves the ball on LaPorte.
5. (5A) Michigan City (6-3)
2016 (7-4), 2015 (2-7), 2014 (4-6), 2013 (2-8), 2012 (2-8)
MICHIGAN CITY: Michigan City edged Crown Point 17-15 to end another good season. The Wolves may have been a bit lucky as a 47-yard field goal that could have beaten them never was kicked due to a fumbled snap. But MC has been unlucky all year, losing two games on the final play. MC gets a first round bye in 5A Sectional 9 and then a to game at Munster (4-5), which won its last two on the road. Michigan City is 5th in this poll because they lost to LaPorte (6-3) and Valparaiso (8-1), but beat Griffith (8-1) and Crown Point (5-4). MC's coaches are already planning what to do defensively in the rematch with county rival LaPorte, which could happen on Nov. 4.
6. (4A) Morton (7-2)
2016 (4-7), 2015 (6-5), 2014 (10-2), 2013 (8-2)
HAMMOND: Morton has gotten stronger as the season has gotten longer. They
swamped Clark 63-0 to sweep an undefeated Great Lakes Athletic Conference (GLAC)
title. Since early losses to Plymouth (6-3) and Lowell (9-0), the Governors have
impeached six consecutive teams. Would Morton beat CP? Not sure. Would they beat
Griffith (8-1)? That game looks like it's coming on October 27. The big hole in
Morton's resume is that they have not defeated a winning team all season. But
the 19-0 loss to Lowell is intriguing.
7. (6A) Crown Point (5-4)
2016 (6-6), 2015 (1-9), 2014 (8-4), 2013 (6-4)
CROWN POINT: Crown Point had a chance for a game-winning 47 yard field goal, but couldn't get it off on the final play, losing 17-15 at home to Michigan City. CP trailed 17-7 before a second half rally. Like LaPorte, here's a team that runs the ball a lot and will benefit from a bye week. Tyler Gomez, who ran for 100 yards or more for the eighth consecutive week will welcome the 'down time' and his offensive linemen will also gladly take a break. CP hosts Merrillville (1-8) in the 6A Sectional semifinals on Oct. 27. Merrillville's only win was 34-26 over CP on Labor Day weekend. CP is still seventh despite four losses because of the wins over LaPorte (6-3) and Valparaiso (8-1).
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Revised: October 15, 2017 .