A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith
Valpo back DAC champs to their list of varsity football accomplishments. The Vikings were the No.1 team in Northwest Indiana during the regular season.
(Photo by Mark Smith)
(10-18-2018) If you go back to the start of the season, this particular poll
has not changed much.
For the record, I started the season with Valparaiso (1), Hobart (2), Michigan City (3), Andrean (4), New Prairie (5), Morton (6) and Lowell (7) rated in that order.
The surprise to me has been Merrillville, which I didn’t see topping Andrean on opening night back in August. Am I shortchanging Hobart (7-2)? Maybe. But they came up significantly short against Andrean, losing 41-7 and the again against Lowell, losing 34-7.
I may have to face some hard reality about them.
Whiting (9-0) has been very good and they did beat Griffith (7-2) back in August. But would the the Oilers beat Lowell (7-2) or Morton (7-2)? Would those matchups even be close? I don’t think Whiting would win a rematch with Griffith (7-2) right now.
POLL NOTE: Since Class 5A and 6A do not play this week, the ‘poll posse’ is going to take a week off. The “Magnificent 7’ rides again the week of the sectional championship game.
But let's make some snap judgments here about the state tournament fate of these seven teams.
1. (6A) Valparaiso (7-2)
2017 (8-2), 2016 (5-5), 2015 (7-3), 2014 (2-8), 2013 (3-7)
VALPARAISO – Valpo topped Lake Central 48-14 to win the Vikings’ second consecutive Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC) championship. The Vikings allowed just 49 points in seven league games. Valparaiso was 4-0 at home and has won 10 DAC games in a row. They will be playing in November, but I don't see this team beating Penn.
2. (5A) Michigan City (7-2)
2017 (9-4), 2016 (7-4), 2015 (2-7), 2014 (4-6), 2013 (2-8), 2012 (2-8)
MICHIGAN CITY – MC romped over Crown Point 48-0. In their last five games, the Wolves have scored 40 or more every time. The Wolves are 4-0 on the road and they get a bye to rest up. Michigan City has three easy playoff games. No one with a winning record is in their way. They just need to show up for work every day and they will win the sectional and the regional. The happy days end at the semistate if MC faces the state’s highest scoring team, 5A No. 1 New Palestine (9-0) and the state’s highest scoring player in New Pal fullback Charlie Spegal, who has scored 48 touchdowns.
3. (3A) Andrean (8-1)
2017 (8-4), 2016 (5-6), 2015 (7-4), 2014 (14-1)
MERRILLVILLE – The 59ers turned back Highland 28-0 to win the Northwest Crossroads Conference (NCC) championship. The 59ers have won eight in a row since a six-point opening night loss to Merrillville. Andrean will get to the 3A Sectional 25 championship game, but I’d be very surprised if they defeated West Lafayette (9-0). Andrean lost 56-10 to West Lafayette last November.
4. (6A) Merrillville (6-3)
2017 (1-9), 2016 (5-6), 2015 (7-5), 2014 (6-6)
MERRILLVILLE – Merrillville rallied to win 28-16 at Chesterton last Friday to complete a surprising 6-3 regular season. I know Merrillville is supposed to win more than they lose, but this was a 1-9 team in 2017. The Pirates have lost only to Penn (7-2), Valparaiso (7-2) and Michigan City (7-2) and they get Lake Central (2-7) as their Class 6A Sectional 1 semifinal opponent on October 26. It would be an upset if Merrillville lost to Portage or Crown Point in the sectional championship game. It would be an even bigger upset if the Pirates beat Penn or Valpo in the regional.
5. (4A) Lowell (7-2)
2017 (14-1), 2016 (9-5), 2015 (9-5), 2014 (12-1)
LOWELL – Nobody got a bigger boost from the final game of the season than Lowell, which topped Hobart 34-7, the best game of the year for the Devils. Lowell gained 300 total yards and committed no turnovers. The defense allowed less than 100 total yards and recorded five quarterback sacks. Lowell allowed 79 points total all season and they held six teams to seven points or less. If Lowell reaches the 4A regional, I don't think the Devils can beat Mishawaka (8-1). Then again, I didn't think they could go 7-2 on the regular season, either.
6. (4A) New Prairie (6-3)
2017 (11-2), 2016 (9-3), 2015 (6-4), 2014 (13-2)
NEW CARLISLE – The Cougars beat Elkhart Central 49-0 to end the regular season, the sixth time they’ve scored 35 or more this year. The Cougars lost only to 6A No. 5 Penn (7-2), 4A No. 5 Mishawaka (8-1) and 3A No. 5 Andrean (8-1), so I'd guess that 6-3 is about the record they should have. The Cougars have a tough sectional. They lost 27-21 to Mishawaka (8-1) in September and I don't see them winning a rematch in the sectional championship game.
7. (4A) Morton (7-2)
2017 (8-3), 2016 (4-7), 2015 (6-5), 2014 (10-2)
HAMMOND – Morton stomped on Clark 46-0 to end the regular season with a six-game winning streak. I’ve liked Morton all season and I’m jumping them back into the poll after their fifth consecutive 30-point plus victory. Morton has outscored their last five overmatched foes 216-21. To me, the most surprising score of the season was the September 38-0 Lowell win over Morton. I believe that the Governors very much wish to earn a rematch in the 4A Sectional 17 championship game on November 2. They should be careful what they wish for.
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Revised: October 17, 2018 .