Week 5 - Football Game of the Week Preview

Portage (2-2)
at Crown Point (2-2)

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith
Portage runs a lot of option plays with quarterback Tylee Swopes (3) and halfback Jakar Gordon (1). The high-powered Indians' offense invades Crown Point Friday night. (Photo by Mark Smith)

When:  Friday, September 18, 2020 - 7 p.m. kick-off.

Where:  Crown Point High School, One mile south of the CP downtown square at 1500 South Main Street, Crown Point, IN 46307.

TV/Radio/Internet:  No radio or TV.


CROWN POINT - 2,861; Portage – 2,401.

Portage has been getting smaller in recent years. In 1987, Portage had 2,865 students and in 2006, Portage had 2,657 kids.

Major change. Temperatures in the upper 50s with a light wind out of the north. A little chilly for fans, but players will like this. Football weather.


PARKING/TICKETS: This is the homecoming game for Crown Point so there will be a lot of activity in the parking lot. Kids in formal wear. I don’t know about the ticket limit here. I’m thinking that most everyone will be allowed in, but check with the school. The first two home games have felt like normal football nights, with slightly smaller crowds.

Parking hasn’t been an issue with the smaller crowds and that shouldn’t change this week. Portage does not normally bring a lot of fans to CP and with significantly cooler weather, even fewer may travel.

THE SITUATION: Most of you have heard about the vote by the Hammond schoool board to allow contact sports beginning next Month. That means that Morton, Gavit, Hammond high and Clark will be able to play in the upcoming state tournament.
The big winners are Gavit and Clark, who will be consolidated into Morton and Hammond next fall. This is the final year for Gavit and Clark and now they will have final games and a final state tournament run. I hope it's the correct decision. Whiting is still idle and Michigan City has lost two games due to a Covid-19 virus infection.

I don’t understand the anger that players and parents have against schools and administration officials in the Covid-19 situation. Schools didn’t create this pandemic situation and they are directly in the middle of it. Balancing an unknown health threat against the wants and needs of kids. They’re not supposed to take a vote on it. Leaders make decisions. The idea that school administrations wanted to take football away from the boys, their parents and community is not even worth commenting on.

Let me be clear. Kids don’t have a right to play sports. It’s an honor. It’s a privilege. To represent your school and your town is a once-in-a lifetime thing. But these are schools, not sports franchises.

It appears (my fingers are crossed) as if Crown Point and Portage are going to be able to complete their football schedules, but if we lose a game or two because of virus protocols, live with it. The people making the decisions believe they are looking out for you.

The Match-Up:
 CP’s Matthew Walters scored two touchdowns last year as Crown Point won at Portage 22-16, but Portage leads the 60-game series 33-28. This is the sixth meeting of CP and Portage in the last four seasons. In 2017 and 2018, Portage won the matchup in week five and CP won the sectional playoff rematch, but Portage was then moved to 6A Sectional 2 where they could only see CP in a regional game. In none of the last five meetings has either side scored more than 27 points.

2020 (6A) Portage (2-2)
1-9 (2019), 4-6 (2018) 5-6 (2017) 6-4 (2016)
Coach Terry Chestovich (1st year) 2-2 ... DAC games in CAPS.
8-21 (W) 42-40 (3A) Hanover Central (3-1)
8-28 (L) 19-37 at (4A) Lowell (4-0)
9-4 (W) 21-0 (6A) LAKE CENTRAL (1-3)
9-11 (L) 19-58 (6A) MERRILLVILLE (4-0)

9-18 at (6A) CROWN POINT (2-2)
9-25 at (6A) CHESTERTON (2-2)
10-2 (5A) MICHIGAN CITY (2-1)
10-9 at (5A) VALPARAISO (2-0)
10-16 (5A) LaPORTE (0-4)

6A Sectional 2
vs. Elkhart (3-0), Chesterton (2-2) or Penn (2-2)


SECTIONAL CHANGES: Sectional 2 is among the toughest in the state with the addition of the consolidated Elkhart high school. The Elkhart Lions have scored 144 points in three games heading into a first-ever meeting with Penn Friday. The best draw Portage could get would be Chesterton, a team they are familiar with from DAC play.


PORTAGE - I like Portage on offense. Halfback Jakar Gordon (5-8, 155) carried eight times last week for 66 yards against Hanover. Jermain Mead (5-9, 195) carried 11 times for 77 yards against the Cats. Against Lowell in week two, wide receiver Devan Howard caught nine passes for 136 yards and two TDs. Option quarterback Tylee Swopes is probably a better runner than passer, although he was 13 of 18 for 165 yards against Lowell and 11 of 16 for 111 against Lake Central.

Kicker Bryce Hufford is 11 of 11 on extra points, but Portage has tried many two-point conversions.

Defensively, I’ll be brief. Take away a 21-0 win over Lake Central and Portage has not really stopped anybody, allowing over 1,100 total yards against Hanover Central (401), Lowell (287) and Merrillville (575).

But when you won only one game last season, a 2-2 record probably feels good. Portage got stomped by Merrillville last week, but they should be fairly confident coming to CP.

2020 (6A) Crown Point (2-2)
6-5 (2019), 5-7 (2018) 7-5 (2017) 6-6 (2016)
Coach Kevin Enright (9th year) 49-44 ... all DAC games in CAPS

8-21 (L) 0-6 (4A) Lowell (4-0)
8-28 (W) 31-0 at (4A) Highland (2-1)
9-4 (L) 7-42 at (6A) MERRILLVILLE (4-0)
9-11 (W) 16-7 (6A) LAKE CENTRAL (1-3)

9-18 (6A) PORTAGE (2-2)
9-25 at (5A) VALPARAISO (2-0)
10-2 at (5A) LaPORTE (0-4)
10-9 (6A) CHESTERTON (2-2)
10-16 at (5A) MICHIGAN CITY (2-1)

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



CROWN POINT - The Bulldogs’ run defense won last week’s game against Lake Central, allowing a minus-5 rushing yards on 20 carries. Linebackers Riley Granger (28 tackles) and Jacob Lopez (20 solo tackles) lead a front eight that has allowed just 350 yards rushing in four games.

Take away the Merrillville game (I know you can't do that) and the Bulldogs have held their other three opponents (LC, Lowell and Highland) under 100 yards rushing. Crown Point has to score more points obviously. CP averages 13.9 points, 10 first downs and just under 245 total yards per game. The Bulldog offensive line has been shorthanded and a little overmatched a couple of times. They’ll be looking to break out against a Portage team that seems a bit undersized defensively.

CP junior kicker Sammy Brewer is 2-for-2 on field goals (17 and 33 yards) and 6-for-6 on extra points.

PORTAGE (2-2) at CROWN POINT (2-2)

Crown Point Bulldogs Stadium: capacity 4,800


This is rare. Less than 1/10 of a point separates Portage and CP on the computer after four games. A lot of that closeness is because Portage and CP have played largely the same schedule. Both lost to Merrillville and Lowell and both defeated Lake Central. For the record, CP was a 14-point favorite over Lake Central last week and they won 16-7.


CROWN POINT (09-18-2020)
I think Portage gets to the lead early here on a TD pass from Tylee Swopes to Devan Howard and Swopes scores in the first half for a 14-3 Indian lead.

CP runs the ball better as the game goes on and Matthew Walters scores to give CP a 17-14 lead in the third period.

Fullback Jermain Mead gives Portage the lead with a short run, but Crown Point controls time of possession late in the game, falling short on TD drives but getting field goals from Brewer. CP has not intercepted an opponents’ pass all season, but Davian Lira’s interception will clinch the victory. This is a fairly even game, but the stronger defense wins.

CROWN POINT 26, Portage 21

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Revised: September 17, 2020 .