The RENEGADE 'Magnificent-7':
2017 NW Indiana High School Football Week-8 Poll

A Special Report by Mark Smith



The local highlight game in week 8 sees Lowell welcoming in Andrean (5-2) for a Northwest Crossroads Conference (NCC) decision-maker. (Photo by Mark Smith)

LOWELL (10-02-2017) Around the state update: Lafayette Catholic is 2-5 after a 49-0 loss to West Lafayette. Lafayette Catholic has won five of the last eight Class 1A state championships.

Fort Wayne 6A powerhouse Snider (7-0) is averaging 47 points a game going into next week's game with 4A Catholic power Bishop Dwenger (5-2). Snider is 32-2 the last three seasons.

5A No.4 Concord (7-0) has wins over Plymouth (5-2) and Northwood (5-2). Concord hosts Northridge (7-0) this coming Friday.

5A No. 1 Roncalli (7-0) plays 5A No. 5 Decatur Central (6-1) next Friday.

The state tournament pairings came out Sunday (Oct. 1 ) at 1 p.m. You were unable watch them anywhere else but on the IHSAA web site.

1. (4A) LOWELL (7-0)
2016 (9-5), 2015 (12-1), 2014 (8-5), 2013 (6-4), 2012 (5-5), 2011 (5-5)


LOWELL: Lowell stayed at the top of this poll with a 28-9 road win at Munster. Junior Jaeger Gill scored two TDs. I wish the Devils were more effective on offense. Nine more penalties and two turnovers didn't cost them at Munster, but they will going forward. Lowell has allowed just 48 points all season, but that will be put to the test this Friday when they welcome in the diversified multiple high scoring offense of Andrean. The Devils finish with Andrean and Hobart (6-1) and they will have to improve to stay unbeaten.


2. (6A) Valparaiso (6-1)
2016 (5-5), 2015 (7-3), 2014 (2-8), 2013 (3-7), 2012 (3-7)


VALPO: The Vikings shut out Merrillville 28-0 with soph QB CJ Opperman completing just 10 of 22, but running a turnover-free offense. Valpo held Merrillville (1-6) to 64 total yards and they have allowed just 55 points all year. But Valpo is very similar to Lowell in this respect. They have to get better offensively or it will be a short post-season. There is talk they may eventually get starting QB Jake Leffew back, but it may not be the truth. The Vikings travel to Portage (4-3) this Friday.


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

LaPORTE: After LaPorte rushed for 500 yards in a 37-35 loss at Crown Point, I wonder how they lose. The Slicers have rushed for 2,700 yards in seven games. I went to public school and even I know that's almost 400 a game. Two turnovers and a blocked punt kept Crown Point in the game and the Bulldogs won when they blocked a field goal in the final minute. The Slicers have lost to Hobart (6-1), Valpo (6-1) and CP (4-3). LaPorte hosts arch-rival Michigan City (5-2) in a pivotal DAC game this Friday night.


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


NEW CARLISLE: Everyone pretends New Prairie is not in Northwest Indiana even though they are in the same Class 4A sectional as Hobart and Kankakee Valley. New Prairie's sixth consecutive win was 41-0 over (Mishawaka) Marian. No one has beaten the Cougars since a season opening loss at LaPorte and no one has come close. In the last six games, New Prairie has scored 306 points, 51 points a game. Glenn (3-4) visits this Friday, but they won't leave on the happy bus. The Cougars are 15-4 the last two seasons, with two losses to LaPorte.


5. (6A) Portage (4-3)
2016 (6-4), 2015 (1-10), 2014 (1-9), 2013 (6-4), 2012 (3-7)


PORTAGE: Portage did not do much in the showdown with Michigan City, losing 31-14 last Friday. 1,000-yard rusher Anthony Maceo was held to 19 yards on 14 carries and two turnovers buried Portage, which had won four in a row. The Indians host Valparaiso this Friday, still needing two wins to tie for first in the Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC) standings.

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


MICHIGAN CITY: MC stopped the four-game win streak of Portage 31-14 as QB Michael McCullough was 15 of 27 for 256 yards. The Wolves have won three in a row since a 17-14 loss at Valparaiso.
The Wolves now find out about their future. Michigan City and LaPorte are both in 5A Sectional nine, which means they will meet twice in the month of October to decide who will win the DAC and the sectional. But I still don't rate them better than Portage or Valpo or even New Prairie. The Wolves close the year at LaPorte (4-3) and at Crown Point (4-3). We'll see.


7. (4A) Hobart (6-1)
2016 (10-3), 2015 (5-5), 2014 (3-7), 2013 (5-5), 2012 (8-3)


HOBART: Hobart barely topped Highland 14-7. How can they be ahead of Griffith (6-1) or Crown Point (4-3)? This was the first really shaky game the Brickies have had all year. Everybody has beaten Highland. But the Brickies still have wins over LaPorte (4-3) and Andrean (5-2) and Hobart has allowed just 96 points all year. Hobart is home the rest of the way, hosting Munster (2-5) and then Lowell (7-0) in the Brickyard. Hobart has not been 6-1 in nine years.


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Revised: October 02, 2017 .