Week 4 - Football Game of the Week Preview

6A Lake Central (1-2) at
6A Crown Point (1-2)

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith


CP seniors and co-captains Matthew Walters (24) and Reilly Granger (54) will lead Crown Point in a 'bounce back' game Friday against rival Lake Central. (Photo by Mark Smith)

When: Friday, September 11, 2020;  Kick-off:  7 p.m.

Where: Crown Point High School - 1500 S. Main (one mile south of the downtown square), Crown Point, Ind.


TV/Radio/Internet: No radio or TV.

Enrollment: CROWN POINT - 2,861; Lake Central – 3,299.

Lake Central, which had 3,467 students in 2013, is the only team CP faces that has a larger enrollment than they do. According to the IHSAA directory, Penn (3,596 students) is Northern Indiana’s largest school. The newly consolidated Elkhart high school is listed as having 3,358 teenagers.

WEATHER: Good football weather. Game time temperatures will be about 65. Light winds out of the northwest. No chance of rain. A little cool for fans but outstanding for players.


PARKING/TICKETS: Usually there’s more than 1,500 fans at an LC-CP game, so folks who want to come should check with the school to see if you’ll be able to buy tickets at the gate. I believe that CP allowed 1,500 home fans in the home opener and I’m guessing it will be something similar this Friday. Lowell got 750 tickets and that’s likely to be what LC will get this week.

As someone who is watching from the sidelines, you don’t notice the fan limitations. The atmosphere is very normal.


THE SITUATION: Many of you have heard of Michigan City football being forced to postponed its next two football games because a Wolves’ coach tested positive for the Covid-19 virus. The loss of two games (Valparaiso and Merrillville) won't affect Crown Point or Lake Central. LC plays Michigan City on September 25. That game may be moved back to the 26th, so MC will have the IHSAA-required six practices after the boys will be prohibited from practicing for 14 days.

The worry here is that this situation is the one I most fear in the Covid-19 era. The young and healthy boys did not contract the virus themselves, but an older person, statistically much more vulnerable to the virus, caught it and the entire team, which obviously was in contact with their coach, reportedly NOT head coach Phil Mason), had to be quarantined. Teachers and coaches are apparently far more vulnerable to serious Covid-19 affliction than the boys and girls are. This scenario could hit any team in any sport on any day. Michigan City was lucky that it happened in mid-season. Had this positive test happened in week nine, Michigan City’s season would be over.

I have not yet heard of anyone who contracted the virus at a high school football game and trust me, I’m looking and listening. Kids are still asked to wear face masks (they will be all season). But parents are allowed to take them off when they are seated. I think that outdoor games are relatively safe. Do I understand how tedious this elbow-touching and social distancing and mask wearing is? Yes, I do. Is it consistently annoying? Yes it is.

But as one of the older and most vulnerable people in the stadium Friday night, will I wear the mask? Yes, I will.

The Distant Replay...
Walters bursts through for 99-yard TD
as Bulldogs shutout LC, 10-0

Team 1 2 3 4 F
CROWN POINT (2-2 1-1) 3 0 0 7 10
Lake Central (2-2, 1-1) 0 0 0 0 0

Friday, September 13, 2019 -  69 degrees (at kickoff), Duneland Athletic Conference at ST. JOHN, Ind.

1st QtrCP (3-0) Sammy Brewer, 32-yard field goal. 53-yard drive, 10 plays. 3:39 min. Time of Possession (TOP). 1:11 left.
Qtr: No scoring.
3rd Qtr: No scoring.
 CP (10-0) Matthew Walters, 99-yard run. 99-yards, 1 play. 0:15 sec. TOP. Sammy Brewer kick. 6:56 left.

CROWN POINT (36 carries, 255 yards, one TD): Matthew Walters (HB) 15 carries, 175 yards, one TD; Davian Lira (HB) 18-75 yards; Will Pettit (QB) 3 carries, 5 yards; David O’Toole (WR) 1-6 yards.

LAKE CENTRAL (34 carries, 119 yards): Felix Garcia (HB) 25 carries, 101 yards; Matep Cedeno m()QB) 8 carries, 21 yards; Max Creasbaum (HB) 1 carry, (minus 3 yards)

CROWN POINT: Will Pettit (QB) 9 of 20, 78 yards; 0 TDs, one interception;
LC: Mateo Cedeno (QB) 5 of 20, 41 yards.

CROWN POINT: David O’Toole (WR) 5-35 yards; Ben Uran (TE) 3-39 yards; Treston Logan (WR) 1-4 yards.
LC: Felix Garcia (HB) 2-24 yards; Danny Nykiel (WR) 1-6 yards; Diego Garcia (WR) 1-8 yards; Ryan Mayton (WR) 1-3 yards. .

CP: 333 yards, 14 first downs, one turnover;
LC: 160 yards, 7 first downs, No turnovers.

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The Distant Replay...

QB Pettit passes for 231 yards, 2 TDs

to lead Bulldogs to 22-7 Sectional Semifinal win over LC

Team 1 2 3 4 F
CROWN POINT (6-4) 0 15 7 0 22
LAKE CENTRAL (3-7) 7 0 0 0 7

Friday, November 1, 2019 -  39 degrees (at kickoff), IHSAA 6A Sectional Semifinal at ST. JOHN, Ind.

1st Qtr LAKE CENTRAL (7-0) Felix Garcia, 34-yard run 52-yard drive, 6 plays. 3:02 min. time of possession (TOP). Derek Baldwin kick. 4:51 left.
Qtr: CROWN POINT (7-7) Tysen Cazy, 16-yard pass from Will Pettit. 66-yard drive, 11 plays. 3:15 min. TOP. Sammy Brewer kick. 11:08 left.
CROWN POINT (15-7) David O’Toole, 80-yard pass from Will Pettit. 80-yard drive, 1 play. 0:12 min. TOP. Treston Logan, 2-point run. 0:50 left.

3rd Qtr: CROWN POINT (22-7) Matthew Walters, 9-yard run. 82-yard drive, 12 plays. 4:31 min. TOP. Sammy Brewer kick. 4:41 left.
4th Qtr: No scoring.

CROWN POINT (37 carries, 120 yards, one TD): Matthew Walters (HB) 11 carries, 27 yards, one TD; Davian Lira (HB) 16-47 yards; Will Pettit (QB) 6 carries, 18 yards; David O’Toole (WR) 3-25 yards.

LAKE CENTRAL (34 carries, 119 yards, one TD): Felix Garcia (HB) 18 carries, 80 yards, one TD; Mateo Cedeno (QB) 8 carries, 0 yards(2 sacks- minus-19 yards); Max Creasbaum (HB) 3 carries, 7 yards.)


CROWN POINT: Will Pettit (QB) 16 of 29, 231 yards; 2 TDs, one interception;
LC: Mateo Cedano (QB) 7 of 21, 57 yards; Curtis Gills (WR) 1 of 1, 5 yards.

CROWN POINT: David O’Toole (WR) 7-115 yards, TD; Ben Uran (TE) 2-18 yards; Tysen Cazy (WR) 5-58 yards, TD; Felix Meeks (TE) 1-28 yards; Davian Lira (HB) 1-2 yards.
LC: Ryan Mayton (WR) 3-17 yards; Diego Garcia (WR) 2-17 yards; Ricky Guerrero (HB) 1-19 yards; Curtis Gills (WR) 1-(minus-1) yard; Mateo Cedano (QB) 1-5 yards .

CP: 341 yards, 17 first downs, 2 turnovers (fumble, interception);
LC: 143 yards, 7 first downs, one turnover (interception).

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CROWN POINT: If Crown Point needs a good omen for the week four game against Lake Central, here it is. CP lost twice to Merrillville in 2019 and they lost last week 42-7. Now, they play a Lake Central team they defeated 10-0 and 23-7 last year and CP will be on the home turf Friday trying to win again.

Note the numbers for CP quarterback Will Pettit in the November game: 16 of 29 for 231 yards and two TDs. And in the regular season game last September, CP’s Matthew Walters did all you can do on one play going 99 yards for a fourth quarter touchdown. Neither of these games were super exciting as defenses ruled the night, but that’s the way Crown Point would prefer this Friday’s game go.

With these wins, Crown Point has defeated Lake Central six consecutive times since a 21-7 LC win in September of 2015. You always have to be wary of a team you meet so often, but Crown Point can't be uncomfortable playing Lake Central on a night when they badly need a win.

2020 (6A) Lake Central (1-2)
3-7 (2019), 2-8 (2018), 2-8 (2017) 4-6 (2016)
Coach Tony Bartolomeo (4th year, 9-27) DAC games in CAPS
8-21 (W) 38-0 (5A) Munster (1-2)
8-28 (L) 0-28 (2A) Andrean (2-1)
9-4 (L) 0-21 at (6A) PORTAGE (2-1)

9-11 at (6A) CROWN PPOINT (1-2)
9-18 (5A) LaPORTE (0-3)
9-25 at (5A) MICHIGAN CITY (2-1)
10-2 (6A) CHESTERTON (1-2)
10-9 at (6A) MERRILLVILLE (3-0)
10-16 (6A) VALPARAISO (2-0)

Class 6A Sectional 1
vs. Jefferson (3-0), MERRILLVILLE (3-0) or CROWN POINT (1-2)

SCHEDULE CHANGES: The September 25 Lake Central game with Michigan City may be pushed back to Saturday, the 26th. LC needs a win as bad as Crown Point does this week. The final four games on the schedule are going to be rough nights. In 2018, LC was 2-0 and they lost the last eight games. In 2019, LC was 3-3 and they lost the last four. The Indians’ schedule is decidedly back-loaded. LC needs to defeat CP this week and winless LaPorte (0-3) next week to feel good about the final four formidable Fridays.


– I like LC’s new quarterback Luke Neidy, who is 39 of 59 for 423 yards and 3 TDs. He’s been over 100 yards passing in each game and he throws well on the run. So why hasn’t Lake Central scored even one point the last two weeks?

Turnovers. Five last week in their 21-0 loss to Portage. Four in the 21-0 loss to Andrean the week before. Neidy (5-10, 165) has thrown eight interceptions in three games. Receiver Diego Garcia leads LC with 18 catches for 155 yards, but Lake Central has not run the ball well. LC has 221 yards on 95 carries in three games and when you combine the rushing numbers with the turnovers, that’s why they’re losing.

Running back Max Creasbaum (5-8, 185) is the main ball carrier with 188 yards on 45 carries. Creasbaum gained zero yards on six carries last week and I wonder if he’s okay for this week. LC appears to have good size on the offensive line.

LC has a good kicker in Derek Baldin (6-0, 185) who was 5-for-5 on extra points in the season opening win over Munster with a 38-yard field goal.

The LC defense has allowed 381 yards on 96 rushing attempts and they know they must buckle down on CP’s running game tonight. Veteran Linebacker Sam Long (6-0, 225), who missed the entire 2019 season with an injury, leads the Indians with 32 tackles in three games.

Trying to put the best spin I can on LC so far. After losing to CP six times in a row and being shut out the last two weeks, the Indians will be hungry to win at Crown Point this Friday.

2020 (6A) Crown Point (1-2)
6-5 (2019), 5-7 (2018) 7-5 (2017) 6-6 (2016)
Coach Kevin Enright (9th year) 48-44 ... all DAC games in CAPS

8-21 (L) 0-6 (4A) Lowell (3-0)
8-28 (W) 31-0 at (4A) Highland (0-1)
9-4 (L) 7-42 at (6A) MERRILLVILLE (3-0)

9-11 (6A) LAKE CENTRAL (1-2)
9-18 (6A) PORTAGE (2-1)
9-25 at (5A) VALPARAISO (2-0)
10-2 at (5A) LaPORTE (0-3)
10-9 (6A) CHESTERTON (1-2)
10-16 at (5A) MICHIGAN CITY (2-1)

6A Sectional 1
vs. 6A No. 6 (Lafayette) Jefferson (3-0), 6A No. 4 Merrillville (3-0) or Lake Central (1-2).

CROWN POINT Update: Okay, so Merrillville (3-0) is really good. In last week’s blowout, converted CP running back Davian Lira (5-7, 150) was in on 10 tackles from his defensive back position. Senior co-captain Reilly Granger also made 10 tackles. Sophomore JJ Johnson went in at quarterback in the fourth quarter and finished with a season-high 46 yards on eight carries. On the highlight reel, that’s about it. CP simply could not block Merrillville and they were held to a season-low 76 yards.

There are not many good details to draw from last week’s game, but here’s one that I forgot. Crown Point is now 1-2 after three games for the fifth season in a row. And in 2016, 2017 and 2018, CP came back to win Class 6A Sectional 1. The past doesn’t predict the future, but nobody’s season is decided over the Labor Day weekend.

This Friday’s game isn’t about individual players.

Crown Point now finds out how strong-minded the 2020 Bulldogs are. The seniors in this class have always lost to Merrillville in the third week of the season and have always bounced back. It didn't defeat them. But last week was a clear cut stomping and sometimes boys take losses much harder than they do victories. CP rolled over Highland by 31 and then lost to Merrillville by 35. Each game just counts as one.

6A LAKE CENTRAL (1-2, 0-1 DAC) at 6A CROWN POINT (1-2, 0-1 DAC)
at CP Stadium - capacity: 4,800


Sagarin computer ratings:  CP by 14.


CROWN POINT - Both teams have the same record here, but Crown Point has lost to 4A No. 8 Lowell (3-0) and 6A No. 4 Merrillville (3-0), two undefeated teams. Lake Central has lost to 2A No. 1 Andrean (2-1) and Portage (2-1). You can also make an argument that the 6-0 loss to Lowell was a game CP should have won. Lake Central’s losses were not close games. Looking in the rear-view mirror, Merrillville was a 34-point favorite over Crown Point last Friday and the Pirates won 42-7. The Sagarin ratings become more accurate the longer the season lasts.


CROWN POINT (09-11-2020) The defenses are better than the offenses here, but LC will come out throwing the football.

This game will come down to Lake Central avoiding turnovers. LC has good players on offense, but they just give the ball away (14 times in three games) far too much. I like the Bulldogs to get the ball to Matthew Walters outside the tackles and he’ll get into the end zone for an early CP lead. An interception will set up Sammy Brewer for a 10-0 field goal.

Lake Central won't get shut out for a third week in a row. Luke Neidy will find Diego Garcia for a TD to cut the lead to 10-7. Niedy will throw the ball 25-30 times.

LC will put a lot of pressure on CP quarterback Will Pettit, but the standout of the game could be receiver Treston Logan. The Bulldogs throw a lot to JJ Johnson (12 catches in 3 games) and LC has seen that on tape. But Pettit was able to go deep on the Indians last year and I see Logan getting into the end zone a couple of times.

Give Max Creasbaum a second half LC rushing TD and and another Sammy Brewer field goal.

Crown Point has defeated Lake Central in the fourth week of the season for the last four years. Make it five. This score may be a little high for two teams that average just under 13 points a game, but Crown Point again bounces back from a loss to Merrillville.

CROWN POINT 27, Lake Central 14

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Revised: September 10, 2020.