The RENEGADE 'Magnificent-7':
2019 NW Indiana High School Football Week-5 Poll

A Special Report by Mark Smith



Merrillville quarterback Aahric Whitehead (18) will be looking at rival Michigan City in a big Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC) game this Friday night. (Photo by Mark Smith)

VALPARAISO (09-16-2019) Morton rolled over Munster 69-7 last week, but you had to search to find out about it.

Neither the Post-Tribune or the Times wrote anything about Munster-Morton in either the Saturday or Sunday issues. Not even a box score.

The Times had three nice stories on games (Valpo-Michigan City, Merrillville-Portage and Calumet-Whiting) in the Saturday paper.
The Cal-Whiting story was especially timely. But they also ran two pages of NFL previews and a story on a golf tournament in Sulfur Springs, West Virginia.

Sunday, the Times had a story on Crown Point football and a young girl who’s playing two sports for Kankakee Valley.
They also ran college football stories on Valparaiso University, Indiana University and Notre Dame as well as a page and a half on college football. The Times also had a half page on the Chicago Black Hawks and another half page on that same golf tournament in Sulfur Springs West Virginia.

The Times did run a half dozen box scores of Friday games.

I’m here to suggest that the priorities are slightly off in what is covered.

Nobody is going to buy the Times of Northwest Indiana to read about the PGA or the Chicago Black Hawks or the Bears, who are covered in exceptional depth by the Chicago newspapers.

On the other hand, if Morton or Chesterton football winning again isn't in the Times or the Post Tribune, it won't be anywhere Saturday or Sunday.

I know there are budget concerns. Its takes more money to send reporters to eight football games than it does four.
College and pro football coverage comes in from national or state wide wire services. It's easier to get and insert. Money dictates coverage and I know the Post-Tribune is very limited with what they can do.

All I ask for is box scores from the games that aren't covered by a writer. The Times does a half-way job of that on Sunday, but even if you run Friday football stories or box scores on Monday, they have the same effect in coverage.

I may be one of a dying breed, but I get the Saturday and Sunday local newspapers for the high football games. I think a lot of players, coaches, fans and parents do, too. Many read the paper on-line, but if you're still printing an edition, give the local readers what they want. Not redundant Chicago coverage.

For high school football, we’re somewhat of a captive audience.

1. (5A) Valparaiso (4-0)
2018 (10-2), 2017 (8-2), 2016 (5-5), 2015 (7-3), 2014 (2-8)


VALPARAISO – Valpo pulled away from Michigan City 42-21 to stay in first place (tied with Chesterton) after two weeks in the Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC) race. The Vikings overpowered MC up front gaining over 200 yards rushing. No ne has come within three TDs of Valpo yet and Chesterton (3-1), this week’s opponent, won't either. The only team left on Valpo's schedule that can beat them is Merrillville and that game, the brawl for it all, is set for October 4.


2. (6A) Merrillville (4-0)
2018 (7-4), 2017 (1-9), 2016 (5-6), 2015 (7-5), 2014 (6-6)


MERRILLVILLE – The Pirates rolled over Portage 46-7 to go 4-0 for the first time since 2001. This is the third Pirate game this year where the purple boys’ have won by three touchdowns or more.
The Pirates head down hard times road the next three weeks when they travel to Class 5A powers Michigan City (2-2) next Friday and Valparaiso (4-0) on October 4. They seem ready, but then again. I thought the Chicago Bears were ready for this season, too.


3. (5A) Michigan City (2-2)
2018 (10-3), 2017 (9-4), 2016 (7-4), 2015 (2-7)


MICHIGAN CITY – MC doesn't drop in the poll because their losses are to Warsaw (3-1) and Valparaiso (4-0). The Wolves last Friday were the latest in a long line of folks who found out in the last two years that the Vikings are really strong. The Wolves did take a 21-14 lead in the second quarter at Valpo, giving them some hope for what is an unavoidable rematch in 5A Sectional 9 next month.
MC is starting a new QB in sophomore Giovanni Laurent, who threw two TD passes at Valpo. That change seems to bode well for the future. ‘The future’ is not next week when Michigan City hosts undefeated Merrillville (4-0).


4. (4A) New Prairie (4-0)
2018 (7-4), 2017 (11-2), 2016 (9-3), 2015 (6-4)


NEW CARLISLE – The Cougars put South Bend St Joseph’s down 54-28 to stay undefeated. The score was 34-7 at the half as NP was not seriously challenged for the fourth week in a row. Chris Mays has 12 touchdowns in four games and Chris Ketterer has 11. New Prairie has rushed for 1,708 yards on just 208 carries (8.5 yards per carry) in four games. It's judgment day for New Prairie as they take on mighty Mishawaka (3-1) this Friday over in the South Bend-Elkhart area. Mishawaka averages 38.5 points a game. New Prairie averages 49.5 points a game. One thing for sure. The final score this week won't be 49-38.


5. (4A) Morton (3-1)
2018 (9-3), 2017 (8-3), 2016 (4-7), 2015 (6-5)


HAMMOND – Morton is living up to the pre-season hype. The Governors impeached Munster 69-7 last week, grabbing five interceptions. Barring a series of injuries, no one left on Morton’s schedule can beat them. In truth, the Governors should be 4-0. Morton lost 19-18 at Highland when they committed 17 penalties. The only team that can beat Morton before the post-season is Morton themselves. The ‘running clock’ will keep running the next five weeks. Morton might be better than New Prairie, but they wouldn't beat them in a head-to-head match.


6. Chesterton (3-1)
2018 (3-7), 2017 (4-6), 2016 (2-8), 2015 (8-3)


CHESTERTON – The Trojans took the slow ride over LaPorte 29-7 to continue a very strong season so far. And what’s up with this Chris Mullen? Against LaPorte, Mullen was 17 of 25 for 305 yards and four touchdowns. Can Mullen get the time to do something like this against 5A No. 3 Valparaiso (4-0) this coming Friday? It's time to find out.


7. Crown Point (2-2)
2018 (5-7), 2017 (7-5), 2016 (6-6), 2015 (1-9), 2014 (8-2)


CROWN POINT – Crown Point was unimpressive (and that’s being kind) in a 10-0 win at Lake Central last week. Matt Walters tied a record held by many when he ran 99 yards for a fourth quarter touchdown. But it was Crown Point’s worst game of the season and I have no explanation. I’m losing some faith in the Bulldogs staying in the poll. Rensselaer (4-0) and Boone Grove (4-0) are out there waiting for a chance. CP is on the road this Friday at an equally confusing Portage (1-3) team.



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Revised: September 15, 2019 .