The RENEGADE 'Magnificent-7':
2017 NW Indiana High School Football Week-5 Poll

A Special Report by Mark Smith



Kankakee Valley isn't in this week's poll but they might be next week. All they have to do is upset undefeated Lowell at KV this coming Friday.
(Photo by Mark Smith)

LOWELL (09-11-2017) When I first began making a poll back in the dark ages before smart phones and RPO (run-pass option) offenses, I was told that polls must be based on wins and losses. You can't rank a team with three losses ahead of a school with three wins. And unbeaten teams have to be in the poll!!!!

"I don't care WHO you play and how you win if you're undefaeted!!!! The goal is to win, right?"

Let's look at last Friday. Michigan City loses to 6A No. 6 Valparaiso (4-0) at Valparaiso when the Vikings used a defensive holding penalty and a 34-yard 'hope lob' to 6-foot-4 defensive back turned receiver Michael Scarsella in the final 30 seconds to steal a 17-14 victory.

So rank the teams. Michigan City should have won. But a flag and a prayer and they're .500. Can you give Valpo full credit for winning and MC full credit for coming close? Don't you have to decide who was better and go forward from there?

Hanover Central (4-0) has won by scores of 48-8, 57-12, 41-0 and 34-0. They have won 15 consecutive Greater South Shore Conference (GSSC) teams over three years. They've only been in the league three years.

You can find a way to lose games and Hanover has not. They are only playing the teams that, by league rules, they must play. I don't want to diminish what they've done. It's hard to win varsity football games every week when you are favored every week.

But other than come up with some gimmick alternative poll (which I have done before) or rate teams based on success instead of quality, where do you stand?

So what's the answer? There isn't one.

So we say what we think and let it play. Which this week goes as follows.

1. (4A) LOWELL (4-0)
2016 (9-5), 2015 (12-1), 2014 (8-5), 2013 (6-4) 2012 (5-5), 2011 (5-5)


LOWELL: Lowell rolled over Clark 63-6. The expected result. The Pioneers (0-4) were totally outmanned. I can't give the Devils credit for beating Clark, which hasn't won a game in 2014. The Devils' wins over Portage (2-2), Morton (2-2) and Crown Point (2-2) look better every week. The base strength the Devils supposedly had at the start of the year was their defense. Lowell has allowed 26 points all season. So far, so good. But the Devils ride the big, yellow bus south to Kankakee Valley (3-1) Friday and the defense will get a good test.


2. (6A) Valparaiso (4-0)
2016 (5-5), 2015 (7-3), 2014 (2-8), 2013 (3-7), 2012 (3-7)


VALPO: Valpo escaped on a last minute pass to top Michigan City 17-14, staying in first place in the Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC). But the fact that they needed an act of God to score 17 points on a Michigan City team that has an average defense, isn't encouraging. Still, converted defensive back Reece Crossin did throw for two TDs and 147 yards for the Vikings in place of injured starter Jake Leffew (out probably for the season) and... wait for it... "I don't care who you play and how you win, if you're undefeated!!!!!" Right? Valpo travels to rival Chesterton (2-2) this Friday.


3. (6A) LaPorte (2-2)
2016 (9-2), 2015 (6-4), 2014 (8-6), 2013 (1-9), 2012 (1-9)

LaPORTE: I'm starting to be concerned about the Slicers. In this week's win at Chesterton: 48 carries, 334 yards, 430 total yards. 18 first downs. And just 20 points. That's almost 1,500 yards gained in four weeks and just 90 points. Those numbers argue with each other. They contradict each other. Not saying the Slicers should be better than they are. I'm just saying (and the numbers suggest) they should be scoring more points. I'm still thinking they will. Lake Central (1-3) has allowed 40 or more points three weeks in a row and they head to LaPorte County this Friday. Time to turn yards into points.


4. (6A) Portage (2-2)
2016 (6-4), 2015 (1-10), 2014 (1-9), 2013 (6-4), 2012 (3-7)


PORTAGE: Senior Quarterback Anthony Maceo ran for two more TDs in a 28-21 win at Merrillville, giving him 12 TDs in four games, tops in the DAC. Portage's losses, to Lowell (4-0) and to Mishawaka (2-2), are hardly glaring indicators of mediocrity. But I'm a little disappointed in 102 points (25.5 per game) allowed so far. This defense returned almost everyone from last season. Three teams have scored 20 on them. But Portage is 2-0 in the DAC and they are home three of the next four weeks. The Indians will have to buckle down to stop the hard running visitors from Crown Point this Friday.


5. (4A) New Prairie (3-1)
2016 (9-3), 2015 (6-4), 2014 (13-2), 2013 (12-1), 2012 (9-2)


NEW CARLISLE: The Cougars lost that first game to LaPorte and folks started to look a little sideways at them. But New Prairie has now won games 73-0, 42-3 and 46-7 in the last three weeks. In this last win over (South Bend) Washington (2-2), New Prairie never punted, scoring six TDs while recording two safeties and 300 yards rushing. Might be time to remind you that NP (3-1), a Northern Indiana Conference (South Bend area) member, is in the same sectional as KV (3-1), Mishawaka (2-2) and Hobart (3-1) so there are eyes on their potent point parades. The Cougars head to Marshall County to take on Bremen (2-2) this Friday. Down the line, it's New Prairie at (Mishawaka) Marian (4-0) on Sept. 29.

6. (5A) Michigan City (2-2)
2016 (7-4), 2015 (2-7), 2014 (4-6), 2013 (2-8), 2012 (2-8)


MICHIGAN CITY: I give MC more credit in losing 17-14 at Valpo last week than I give the Vikings for pulling the game out in the final minute. They battled Valparaiso evenly, taking a 14-10 lead with 6:25 to play, only to lose it late. Might be time to list the teams the Wolves have played so far: Griffith (3-1). Chesterton (2-2), Valparaiso (4-0) and Homewood-Flossmoor. And a 'looking back' note.
The Homewood-Flossmoor team that beat Michigan City 63-21 is now 3-0. H-F won its next two games 43-6 and 48-0. Just so you know. Michigan City welcomes in Merrillville this week. This game was 42-35 last year and 44-30 the year before. Warm up the scoreboard.


7. (3A) ANDREAN (3-1)
2016 (9-2), 2015 (6-4), 2014 (8-6), 2013 (1-9), 2012 (1-9)


MERRILLVILLE: I don't know if the 59ers would beat Crown Point (2-2) right now, but Andrean defeated Merrillville (1-3) and CP did not. The 59ers topped Hammond 52-14 last week, the third time they've scored 40 or more in three games. Andrean has score 50 points five times in their last 15 games, but their schedule has been a little uneven so far. That's over now. The 59ers stay home for a 3-game run of league games now including Kankakee Valley (3-1), Munster (2-2) and this week, Hobart (3-1).


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Revised: September 10, 2017 .