Week 2 - Football Game of the Week Preview

6A Crown Point (0-1)
at 4A Highland (0-1)

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith


CP quarterback Will Pettit (7) will look to get the Bulldog offense into the end zone Friday evening when Crown Point rides the bus to Highland. (Photo by Mark Smith)

When: Friday, August 28, 2020;  Kick-off: 7 p.m. CDT.

Where: Highland high school, 9135 Erie Street (Two blocks east of Kennedy Ave.)


TV/Radio/Internet: No radio or TV.

Enrollment: CROWN POINT - 2,861; Highland Ė 1,097. For the record, in 1996, IHSAA records said that Highland had 1,194 students.

Highland is in the eight-team Class 4A Sectional 17, but they probably won't be playing three playoff games under any circumstances. Gavit, Hammond, Griffith and East Chicago have no games scheduled the first two weeks, although EC has three games scheduled and Griffith has seven. Hobart is a huge favorite in Sectional 17, but if thereís only four teams left by October, anything can happen.

Just brutal. Mid-summer 90-degree heat all week and temperatures in the upper 80s with a chance of rain for game day. I always wonder in situations like this how much teams can practice on a weekday afternoon. The forecast for Wednesday was for 95 degrees. I know weíre dealing with young people who are in good shape, but I would guess that this level of heat in practice takes something away from a smaller school that has fewer players.
Iím seeing a number right at 80 degrees at kickoff Friday and thankfully, Iím seeing significantly cooler temperatures next week.

PARKING: I don't know how many tickets Highland is going to sell for their home opener and I saw a report that Crown Point would be allowed to sell only 250 tickets for the visitors stands. There won't be a capacity crowd, I would not believe, so parking (which is relatively scarce at Highland compared to 6A schools) won't be an issue.
But donít just show up and expect to get in. Check with one school or another to find out how many spectators will be allowed. This is Covid-19 Ďvirus-worldí and all rules have changed.

THE SITUATION: This is Highlandís home opener and since they began playing CP again three years ago, the Trojans are 0-3. Highland didnít play in week one so this is a new beginning.

Highlandís record the last seven years are 5-6, 6-5, 4-6, 5-6, 4-7, 4-6 and 4-7. Theyíve been stuck in the same place.

With Hobart, Andrean and Lowell later on the schedule after the CP game, the Trojans probably need to beat one of the four to have a winning season.

Crown Point certainly feels they should have won last week, so there will be a little hunger to get that first win on the board. But being the visitor in another schoolís home opener is a position where you must beware. Highland is undefeated coming into this game. They may not know they are supposed to lose to CP again.

The 'Distant Replay'...
Balanced Bulldogs attack leads to 24-0

shutout win over Highland in home opener


Team 1 2 3 4 F
HIGHLAND (1-1) 0 0 0 0 0
CROWN POINT (1-1) 7 7 10 0 24

Friday, August 30, 2019 - 67 degrees & clear, Nonconference game at CROWN POINT, Ind.

1st Qtr CROWN POINT (7-0) Matthew Walters, 5-yard run. 67-yard drive, 11-plays. 4:36 min. Time of Possession (TOP). Sammy Brewer kick. 8:41 left.
2nd Qtr: CROWN POINT (14-0) Matthew Walters, 5-yard run. 95-yard drive, 11-plays. 4:45 min. TOP. Sammy Brewer kick. 1:00 left.
3rd Qtr: 
CROWN POINT (17-0) Sammy Brewer, 24-yard field goal. 38-yard drive, 11 plays (following Noah Hollendonner's interception of an Ethan Litavecz pass ). 3:49 min. TOP. 8:01 left.
CROWN POINT (24-0) Matthew Walters, 39-yard run. 90-yard drive, 6 plays. 2:55 min. TOP. Sammy Brewer kick. 3:22 left.
 No scoring.

HIGHLAND (21 carries, 47 yards, 0 fumbles): Ethan Litavecz (QB) 7-18 yards, (includes 2 sacks and/or tackles for loss); Jonah Tillman (RB) 5-15 yards; Christian Rios (RB) 2-22 yards; Brandon Hubbird (RB) 1-(-1) yards; Drew Barsich (RB) 2-16 yards.

CROWN POINT (37 carries, 233 yards, 3 TDs, 0 fumbles): Matthew Walters (TB) 28-134 yards, 3 TDs; Davian Lira (TB) 21-102 yards; Will Pettit (QB) 8-(-24) yards; Jason Kostick 3-(-8) yards; David O'Toole 2-44 yards; Collin Flavin 1-(-13) yards.

HIGHLAND: Ethan Litzvecz (QB) 6-16, 25 yards, 3 INTs.
CROWN POINT: Will Pettit (QB) 12-20, 144 yards, 1 INT.

HIGHLAND: Quinten McToy (WR) 1-11 yards, Brandon Hubbird (WR) 2-16 yards, Xavier Arce (RB) 2-23 yards, Garrett Hudnall (WR) 1-7 yards, Gavin Hofkamp (WR) 1-(-7), Jonah Tillman (RB) 1-(-7).

CROWN POINT: David O'Toole (WR) 6-48 yards; Tysen Cazy (WR) 2-41 yards; Ben Uran (TE) 1-23 yards; Matthew Walters (TB) 1-(-2) yards; Davian Lira (TB) 1-(-2) yards; Felix Meeks (TE) 1-36 yards.


HIGHLAND: 3-25 yards; CROWN POINT: 11-85 yards.

HIGHLAND: 72 yards, 7 first downs; (3) turnovers; CROWN POINT: 377 yards, 18 first downs, (1) turnover.

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CROWN POINT - It's not fair to say that this game was never in doubt for CP, but Highland never led and never really came close to leading after halftime. Halfback Mathew Walters scored three TDs and carried 28 times for 134 yards. CPís Davian Lira added a 100-yard game. I believe that CP likes playing Highland in week two. It's a local game with some history (CP and Highland were in the old, Lake Suburban Conference in the 1970s and 80s) and Iíve never thought CP wanted to travel hundred of miles the week before their annual Week 3 game with Merrillville. CP is the largest school that Highland faces so facing CP, they have nothing to lose. Iím guessing this game works for both programs.

2020 (4A) Highland (0-0)
4-7 (2019), 4-6 (2018), 4-7 (2017) 5-6 (2016)
Coach Pete Koulianos (3rd year, 8-13) all games Friday at 7 p.m.
Northwest Crossroads Conference (NCC) games in CAPs
8-28 (6A) Crown Point (1-0)
9-4 (4A) Gary West Side (0-1)
9-11 at (1A) Lake Station (0-1)
9-18 at (2A) ANDREAN (0-1)
9-25 at (4A) MUNSTER (0-1)
10-2 (4A) LOWELL (1-0)
10-9 (4A) at HOBART (1-0)
10-16 at (4A) KANKAKEE VALLEY (1-0)

Class 4A Sectional 17
vs. Gary West Side (0-1), Griffith (0-0), East Chicago (0-0) LOWELL (1-0) or Hobart (1-0)
(Hammond schools Morton and Gavit are not playing this season due to the COVID-19 virus).


SCHEDULE CHANGES: Highland was scheduled to play Griffith in week one but the game was cancelled. Word is that Highland is ready to rumble Friday. The CP game is Ďoní. Highland has three very winnable games the next four weeks so they a good start against CP could get them rolling.


HIGHLAND Ė Since Highland hasnít played yet it's hard for an outsider to know much about them. But Christian Rios (5-11, 200) is a senior who will be a factor on both sides of the ball Friday.
Rios carried 13 times for 138 yards last year against Munster. And he made 12 tackles in Highlandís 19-18 win over Morton last fall.

Last year against CP, Rios made three tackles for losses at linebacker. He only carried the ball three times in the loss in Crown Point. I would bet that changes this time.

Quarterback Ethan Litavecz (6-3, 175) missed a couple of games last year due to injury, but heíll be ready to go against CP. He might be a better runner than passer, but he has some experience. Halfback Jonah Tillman also played significantly last year.

The Trojans ran out of several different formations: Double tight end. Three receivers and a wingback. Iím sure they will be versatile in that respect again with a returning QB.

I don't know how good the Trojan defense will be, but last year they were respectable. Paired with an offense that scored only 158 (14.3 ppg.) points all season, Highland didnít give up more than 35 in any game, defeating Morton and falling just 28-21 to Andrean.

The Trojans arenít going to throw the ball 30 times. Depending on how effective their line is early, Highland figures play a ball-control game and make this Fridayís matchup a low-scoring contest.

2020 (6A) Crown Point (0-1)
6-5 (2019), 5-7 (2018), 7-5 (2017), 6-6 (2016)
Coach Kevin Enright (9th year) 47-43
All games Friday at 7 p.m. (2019 records in parenthesis)
8-21 (4A) Lowell (1-0)
8-28 at (4A) Highland (0-0)
9-4 at (6A) MERRILLVILLE (1-0)
9-11 (6A) LAKE CENTRAL (1-0)
9-18 (6A) PORTAGE (1-0)
9-25 at (5A) VALPARAISO (1-0)
10-2 at (5A) LaPORTE (0-1)
10-9 (6A) CHESTERTON (0-1)
10-16 at (5A) MICH. CITY (1-0)

6A Sectional 1
Vs. (Lafayette) Jefferson (1-0), Merrillville (1-0) or Lake Central (1-0)



CROWN POINT - Crown Pointís defense was solid last week, allowing only five first downs and 47 yards. Linebackers Jacob Lopez (5-10, 190) and Reilly Granger (6-0, 210) combined for 19 tackles. They could have won last week. The Bulldogs just needed to make one play in two or three situations. Davian Lira, a running back in 2019, started at cornerback and was in on five tackles.

Offensively, Crown Point, obviously, was a disappointment in week one. They had major difficulty blocking the quick Lowell defensive front and the Bulldogs threw the ball more than they probably wanted to. CP had three new starters on the offensive line and two sophomores. I saw sophomore Jack Ruess (6-3, 265) leave the game early and I donít know his availability at Highland. I don't know enough about it to judge offensive line potential, but letís give the O-line a few weeks to get going.

Newcomer JJ Johnson (5-10, 160) caught seven short passes in his varsity debut. The Bulldogs have to get the ball to speedy Matthew Walters (5-10, 160) outside the tackles (I know they know that) because he is their biggest long TD threat.

The biggest thing for CP is to stay confident. I donít have to tell a football-playing CP senior that the Bulldog lost to Lowell in 2017 and 2018 and came back to win the sectional championship.

at Highland Stadium - capacity: 3,000



Again this week, the Sagarin ratings are invalid since Highland hasnít played a game. The ratings are based on results and the Trojans havenít had any yet. For the record, CP was an 11-point favorite over Lowell last week and the Bulldogs lost by six. Last year, CP was a 12-point favorite over Highland and the Bulldogs won 24-0.



HIGHLAND (08-28-2020) Itís a major advantage to have already played a game, even if you lost. Crown Point will start quickly and Matthew Walters will get into the end zone for a quick 7-0 CP lead. The Bulldogs will be much more effective moving the ball but they may still stall out near the goal line.

CPís defense will be the star on this night. Theyíll hold the Trojans to under 200 yards and the only Highland TD will come in the fourth quarter.

CP kicker Sammy Brewer will get several chances in this game and heíll boot three field goals. The Bulldogs will lead all the way and post their first win.




CROWN POINT 23, Highland 7

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