The RENEGADE 'Magnificent-7':
2018 NW Indiana High School Football Week-7 Poll

A Special Report by Mark Smith



Valpo quarterback CJ Opperman (right) and tight end Jake Evans pose with the 'County Seat Trophy' the traveling award that goes to the winner of the annual Valparaiso-Crown Point game. Valparaiso has won four in a row to grab onto first place in the Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC). (Photo by Mark Smith)

VALPARAISO (09-24-2018) All six state Number One teams won again last week.

Class 1A Pioneer (6-0) faces their big test this coming week against Knox (5-1). Class 2A No. 1 Western Boone has allowed just 26 points all year.

3A No. 1 Bishop Chatard (6-0), a 13-time state champion, has defeated four Indianapolis Catholic League rivals including Roncalli and Cathedral.

Class 4A is led by another familiar name, four-time champion Bishop Dwenger (6-0) which has defeated all six of its Fort Wayne rivals by 13 points or more.

Nobody in 5A seriously talks about how they are going to win state because of 5A No. 1 New Palestine (6-0). ‘New Pal’ is 66-4 in the last six years. They have scored 371 points in six games.

In 6A, superpower Warren Central (6-0) averages 50 points a game against an all-6A schedule. The Warren Central game vs. Carmel (5-1) on October 5 will be interesting. WC and Carmel are league rivals, but they are in opposite playoff brackets and could meet in the 6A final like they did in 2013.

Honestly? Nobody wants to see that.

Everybody wants to see the top teams in this poll go head to head and Valpo-Merrillville and Andrean-Lowell will highlight the next two football Fridays.

1. (6A) Valparaiso (4-2)
2017 (8-2), 2016 (5-5), 2015 (7-3), 2014 (2-8), 2013 (3-7)


VALPARAISO – Valpo continues to roll. Four wins in a row. All league games in the Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC). In a 38-7 win over Crown Point, Valpo led 7-0 after 30 seconds. They led 14-0 after five minutes.
Valpo led 38-0 with 16 minutes left in the game. The Vikings have now not been scored on in 11 quarters. Let's see what happens when they get to Merrillville (4-2) this Friday.

2. (5A) Michigan City (4-2)
2017 (9-4), 2016 (7-4), 2015 (2-7), 2014 (4-6), 2013 (2-8), 2012 (2-8)


MICHIGAN CITY – MC coasted past Lake Central 49-6 to go to 3-1 in the DAC. LC has lost all four league games. The Wolves have been productive on offense. Another 400 yards last week. At least four TDs in every game except the 14-7 loss to Valparaiso. MC has not worries. They get a quarterfinal bye in 5A Sectional 9 where the other three teams are Munster (1-5), LaPorte (2-4) and South Bend Adams (2-4). The Wolves will still be playing in November. Michigan City’s defense should like the trip to Portage (4-2) this week where the Indians have only scored 73 points all season.


3. (3A) Andrean (5-1)
2017 (8-4), 2016 (5-6), 2015 (7-4), 2014 (14-1)


MERRILLVILLE – The 59ers dominated an outmanned Munster team 52-0 for their fifth win in a row. Munster has hit on hard times, but the 59ers have won 59-0, 41-7 and 52-0 the last three weeks.
That’s bringing some major league lumber to the yard. Andrean averages 39 points a game and the loss to Merrillville (4-2) is looking better every week. Under the present playoff format, I always think that the 1A, 2A, 3A and 4A teams need a couple of 52-0 games so they can rest their starters. Class 5A and 6A teams, the schools with larger rosters anyway, get that first round bye so they get a major break from an injury and fatigue standpoint. The 59ers play their 5th road game of the season this coming Friday. They close the year at home against Lowell (5-1) and Highland (3-3).


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

MERRILLVILLE – Merrillville bounced back from a 21-point loss to Michigan City with a 35-7 road win at LaPorte. The Pirates held LaPorte to 153 yards rushing after the Slicers averaged 280 yards rushing per game. Now one of the feature games of the season with big, strong Merrillville hosting big strong Valparaiso (4-2) in the last real chance for the Vikings to lose in league play.

5. (4A) New Prairie (4-2)
2017 (11-2), 2016 (9-3), 2015 (6-4), 2014 (13-2)


NEW CARLISLE – The Cougars topped Adams 35-14, the fourth game they’ve won by 10 points or more. The Cougars have defeated 4A No. 15 St. Joseph’s (4-2) but they have lost to 4A No. 4 Mishawaka (5-1) and 3A No. 8 Andrean (4-2). Mishawaka and St. Joseph’s are rivals of New Prairie in Class 4A Sectional 18. The ‘Death Wish’ schedule continues when the Cougars visit 6A No. 4 Penn (5-1) for the first time ever this Friday night.

6. (4A) Hobart (5-1)
2017 (6-4), 2016 (10-3), 2015 (5-5), 2014 (3-7)


HOBART – Hobart came back from a 34-point loss to Andrean to win 31-6 at Kankakee Valley. From a confidence standpoint, it's important that this game was not close. Sophomore QB Riley Johnson was 9-of-15 for 211 yards and also ran 19 yards for a TD. They aren't higher in this poll because the two nonconference wins they have are over teams, Chesterton (1-5) and LaPorte (2-4) that have hit on hard times. The Brickies finish the home schedule against Highland (3-3) this week before they end the regular season with Munster and Lowell. Hobart should be 7-1 when they get to Lowell on October 12.


7. (4A) Lowell (5-1)
2017 (14-1), 2016 (9-5), 2015 (9-5), 2014 (12-1), 2014 (8-5)


LOWELL – Lowell just survived at Highland winning 7-0. Backup QB John Alessia ran 12 times for 62 yards as the Devils did just enough to win for the fourth week in a row. Lowell’s defense shut out a third team this fall. No one has scored more than 10 points against the Devils. In Lowell’s last 21 games, the Devils have allowed 127 points, an average of six points a game. No secret what’s going on here. Lowell has been without two-year starting QB Ethan Igras (right hand injury) since the fourth quarter of the first game. The word is, unless he reinjures his hand, Igras, who has been playing every game on defense, will be back at QB soon. But it's not certain if ‘soon’ will be this week against Munster.


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Revised: September 22, 2018 .