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

A Special Report by Mark Smith



Let's just say there was not a capacity crowd Saturday afternoon for the rescheduled varsity football game between Valparaiso and Crown Point. Rain and lightning postponed the game Friday, and on Saturday, a lot of people apparently found something else to do. (Photo by Mark Smith)

VALPARAISO (09-30-2019) Our inadvertent ad-lib experiment for Saturday football was not a fan favorite this last weekend.

When heavy storms postponed every Northwest Indiana football game last Friday night, most were rescheduled for some time Saturday.

Local fans either didn't hear about the new starting times or they didn't care. From what I saw and heard most stadiums were more than 3/4 empty no matter what caliber of game was being played on the field. Those of us who attended a game were so alone it was almost like you showed up at the wrong field.

Anyone who has listens to me knows Im a big proponent of Saturday afternoon daylight football. Its better. Saturday is not a school day. Saturday is not a work day for most people. Playing football in the daylight is better than playing at night. Weather is, on the whole, better during the day than it is at night, as we found out last Friday.

Saturday is for football. Friday night is for basketball.

I think that since the six class IHSAA football playoffs have three championship games on the Friday after Thanksgiving and three more on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, the state tournament should mirror that. In other words, three classes of playoffs should be held on Friday nights and three classes should be held on Saturday afternoons.

You increase your attendance that way because players, parents and fans in areas like NW Indiana where there are dozens of teams, could see games on the nights when their school was not playing.
Radio and TV stations would not have to choose one game to air, they could obviously carry two a week. Understaffed newspapers could report on more games because writers and photographers could cover two games a week instead of just one.

I have a dozen arguments for Saturday football. But Ill stop now.

Because as I looked at 300 people Saturday (obviously direct blood relatives or next of kin) watching Valparaiso play Crown Point last Saturday, a game that should have drawn 3,000 fans, I realized that my arguments about the merits of Saturday afternoon football should probably be kept to myself. For a long time.

Few changes in the poll this week but there will be movement after week seven.

1. (5A) Valparaiso (6-0)
2018 (10-2), 2017 (8-2), 2016 (5-5), 2015 (7-3), 2014 (2-8)


VALPARAISO Valpo turned back Crown Point 31-14 last Saturday, scoring 17 points in a row in the fourth quarter to break a 14-14 tie. The Vikings were not as dominant as they had been the first five weeks, but two interceptions by Blake Lemmon turned the tide in the fourth quarter. The Vikings welcome in mighty Merrillville (6-0) for a first place showdown this Friday.


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


MERRILLVILLE The Pirates don't have time to be unhappy with a turnover-plagued 21-0 win over LaPorte last Saturday. The Pirates probably expected to be ahead more than 7-0 at the half, but it does not matter. It is time to find out if Merrillville (6-0) is as good as Valparaiso (6-0). Who will go wrong and who will be right? We find out when the Pirates visit Valpo Friday night.


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


NEW CARLISLE The Cougars rolled over outmanned South Bend Adams 55-14 last Friday and now they face a judgment day. The Cougars played Penn for the first time ever last season and lost 35-7. Now, New Prairie is the top-ranked team in Class 4A and Penn (3-3) is just a .500 team without their original starting quarterback. But it's still big. Penn makes their first-ever visit to New Prairie Friday night at 7 p.m.

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


HAMMOND Morton was walking down easy street again after a 56-6 win over Gavit last Friday. All the Governors have to do is stay healthy and work on plans for 4A Sectional 17 where they will see Highland (3-3), the only team that has beaten them, and Lowell (4-2), the team that eliminated them from the state tournament last year. I don't think there is any chance that Hammond (0-5), East Chicago (4-2) or Clark (4-2) can defeat the Governors in the final three weeks of the season but then again, I didn't think there was any way the Cubs would miss the major league baseball playoffs.


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


CHESTERTON The Trojans saw their young quarterback Chris Mullen throw four touchdown passes in a Saturday 26-7 win at Portage. How good are they, really? Are they really the fifth best team in NW Indiana? Check back to me after they play Lake Central (3-3), Crown Point (3-3) and Merrillville (6-0) in the final three weeks.


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


CROWN POINT Crown Point was tied 14-14 with Valparaiso in the fourth quarter but the final score was 31-14. I can't drop the Bulldogs out of the poll for losing to Valparaiso (6-0) and Merrillville (6-0) and the two-point loss at Lowell (4-2) doesn't look so bad after Lowell has won three in a row this month. CP moves up because I can't put Michigan City in this poll anymore with the problems they apparently are having. I hear myself keep saying that the Bulldogs are better than their record. But if playing good teams close for half the game was worth a trophy, Indiana University would be the Big-10 football champions.


7.) Hobart (4-2)
2018 (7-3), 2017 (6-4), 2016 (10-3), 2015 (5-5)


HOBART Is it time for Hobart to be in the poll? After losses to Merrillville (6-0) and Chesterton (4-2), the Brickies have won four in a row including a 49-10 win over Kankakee Valley last Saturday. Maybe they were a little lucky in the 30-27, three overtime win over Culver Academy (3-3) but theres no column in the standings for "lucky games." Only for wins and losses. Should Lowell (4-2) be ahead of Hobart in this poll? We won't have to wonder. Hobart should be 6-2 when they host Lowell on the last day of the regular season.



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Revised: October 01, 2019 .