The RENEGADE 'Magnificent-7':
2019 NW Indiana High School Football Week-6 Poll

A Special Report by Mark Smith



The Merrillville flag is still flying high after consecutive 46-7 victories over Portage and Michigan City. (Photo by Mark Smith)

VALPARAISO (09-23-2019) One of the good things about present day coverage of high school football is the video broadcast or replays you can watch.

Between the Region Sports Network, the Regional Radio Sports Network and the WJOB Network, you can see a minimum of three games every week.

I was not aware that the RRSN partners with Lowell high school to broadcast their games on line, but they do. I just watched Lowell play Kankakee Valley again.

These are very basic broadcasts. Most have just one camera and two announcers.

Some don't have instant replay. But you don't need all that.

The most frustrating thing about following high school football is that all the games are played on the same night at exactly the same time. Coaches don't like to play on Thursday or Saturday so those of us who watch see one game a week. Period.

Now. This week Lowell plays Highland. If you want to know what the Devils are up against, you can watch two Highland games archived on that WJOB Network. I believe all Lowell games are available on demand on the Regional Radio Sports Network. That CP win over Lake Central this month? You can watch it anytime you want on the Region Sports Network.

I do wish when and how you can watch local high school football on-line was better publicized. I don't think a lot of the people who care know the video of games is available.

Time for the mid-season grades and some of them are being delivered by "Mr. Obvious."

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


VALPARAISO – Valpo rolled over Chesterton 40-8. The Vikings were playing their reserves in the fourth quarter. The score was 23-0 at the half. Everybody thinks they can beat Valparaiso until they show up and match up against the Vikings’ offensive and defensive lines.


It will be a shock to me if 5A No. 2 Valparaiso and 5A No. 1 New Palestine do not meet in the Class 5A Northern Semistate on Nov. 22.


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


MERRILLVILLE – The Pirates scored 46 points in the first half and dominated Michigan City 46-7 to stay unbeaten. That’s the third time this season that the purple boys have held an opponent to seven points or less. Merrillville will improve to 6-0 this coming Friday when they take on LaPorte.

MID-SEASON GRADE: A+ (again, obviously)

Merrillville coaches are probably already working on defensive schemes to try to stop the unstoppable offense of new sectional rival and Class 6A No. 4 (Lafayette) Jefferson (5-0).


3. (4A) New Prairie (5-0)
2018 (7-4), 2017 (11-2), 2016 (9-3), 2015 (6-4)


NEW CARLISLE – The Cougars spoke truth to power Friday night, taking down 5A No. 9 Mishawaka 28-27. New Prairie star Chase Ketterer carried 13 times for 239 yards and four TDs. But the deciding play was a deflection on a two-point pass conversion with two minutes to play. New Prairie plays superpower Penn in two weeks, but Penn has lost quarterback Ron Powlus for the season to injury.

MID-SEASON GRADE: Once again. A+

The Cougars are 5-0 for the first time in six years and 9-0 is a distinct possibility. Everyone in 4A in this part of the state should be keeping an eye on this team.


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


MICHIGAN CITY – MC’s season may be headed south after a 46-7 loss to Merrillville last week. It's not that the Wolves have lost to Valpo (5-0), Merrillville (5-0) and Warsaw (4-1). It's that they just were not close to Valpo or Merrillville at all. Can they win their final four, even with three on the road? They can. They need to.


There is talk of internal problems here and losing often creates that. All is not lost here. A turnaround is very possible.


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


HAMMOND – Morton is rolling down happy street. The Governors laid down the law on overmatched Gary West Side 76-0 last Friday. Morton is in a streak of games they can't possibly lose. Keep running the next five weeks. The 19-18 loss to Highland (3-2) is still unexplainable considering the talent gap between the two teams.


The amount of penalties Morton draws is the only red mark on a very crisp report card. Morton should be 7-1 when they play Clark on October 18.


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


CHESTERTON – The Trojans were stomped on 40-6 by Valparaiso last week and their offense seems to have stalled. Take away the 40-0 win over out-manned Munster and the Trojans average about 16 points a game. I’m surprised that the Vikings held Chesterton to just six points.


I think the unsaid Trojan regular season ceiling this year was to go 6-3 and beat everybody but Michigan City, Merrillville and Valparaiso. That goal is still within reach.


7. Crown Point (3-2)
2018 (5-7), 2017 (7-5), 2016 (6-6), 2015 (1-9), 2014 (8-2)


CROWN POINT – Crown Point got by Portage 22-16 last week, but I keep going back to those two games they lost 21-19 to Lowell (3-2) and 27-24 in overtime to Merrillville (5-0). CP’s offense has not been as good as I’d hoped, but the defense has allowed just under 13 points a game. That will change when the Bulldogs host mighty Valparaiso this Friday.


I thought CP would be 4-1 at this point and they have not scored more than 24 points in any game. I still think this is a better Bulldog team than they have shown.



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Revised: September 24, 2019 .