See Update Below dated 09-24-2020... Week 6 - Football Game of the Week Preview

6A Crown Point (3-2)
5A Valparaiso (3-0)

CP senior Treston Logan is looking for his Bulldogs to pull a major upset Friday night at second-ranked Valparaiso. (Photo by Mark Smith)

A Special Report by Mark Smith


09-24-2020 VALPARAISO ATHLETCS UPDATE: Valparaiso High School football games with Crown Point Friday, Sept. 25 and Merrillville on Oct. 2 have been cancelled due to a student from Valpo testing positive for COVID-19. Contact tracing determined the entire football team was affected, so the football program will hit the "pause button" for two weeks. Practices for the Vikings Varsity and Junior Varsity will resume Oct. 5.


The announcement was posted on the official Valparaiso High School website at, as well as the Valparaiso Athletics Twitter feed at @AthleticsValpo.


The following is our Week-6 Football Game of the Week Preview released on Sept. 22, and prior to this cancellation announcement.



When:  7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 25, 2020

Where:  Valparaiso High School, 2727 Campbell Main Street, Valparaiso, IN 46385.

TV/Radio/Internet: Porter County TV (online) live.

Enrollment: CROWN POINT - 2,861; Valparaiso – 2,050.

In 2006, Valparaiso was listed as having 2,072 students. In 1986, Valpo had 1,680 kids.

WEATHER: A little warm. Upper-70s during the day Friday and around 70 at kickoff. Good for fans, acceptable for players. Long range weather says this is probably the last warm Friday for awhile. It's time.


PARKING/TICKETS: Valpo has undergone a renovation in recent years, and there's 5,000 seating capacity. But it’s a school in a neighborhood and there’s never been enough parking for a major event. You should buy tickets in advance until further notice at CP and Valparaiso. I don't know if a lot of people are coming to Porter County from Crown Point for this game. But I’d get there before 6:30 p.m. so you don’t have to walk far. The Vikings are on a winning streak and they should have a large home crowd.


THE SITUATION: I felt I needed to stay home last Friday, but I didn't have to stay away from high school football. On the WJOB Network, I got to watch Hanover Central’s game at Griffith. On the Regional Radio Sports Network, I got to see Boone Grove’s matchup with Wheeler.

And on Porter County TV (PCTV), I watched Chesterton’s game at Valparaiso. As I suggested earlier, it appears to me that PCTV carries all Valpo high school games. I've been able to watch all three for free so far. It appears to be a student produced broadcast but it's more than good enough to follow the Vikings. These are Internet broadcast mostly with just one camera, but if you like high school sports you won't care.

If you miss the game live, you can replay it anytime you want if you have an ‘App TV’ - mine is called Roku. You can buy them in any department store. They are relatively cheap.

But, as a school athletic department, why would you want your team's football games on TV? You want folks to come to the games and pay $6 to get in. The athletic department needs that money. The theory is: If the game is on TV, those who are interested will stay home.

I’ve found that’s not totally true. Old folks like me actually want to watch the football, but students want to go to the games to be with other students. Parents want to actually be there with other parents.

I’m a freak. Only non-students and non-parents actually care enough about high school football to watch three games on a Friday night.

If you attend Friday’s CP-Valpo game, sometime this weekend, dial up Porter County TV and watch some of the broadcast and see what you think. The future is: Each school, especially large schools, will produce broadcasts of their schools’ sports and sell the (advertising) time. The Covid-19 era may rush that trend, but it's coming.

Duneland Athletic Conference
DAC, Overall record, Points scored - allowed
MERRILLVILLE 2-0, 5-0, 163 - 46
Valparaiso 2-0, 3-0, 84 - 44
CROWN POINT 2-1, 3-2, 78 - 76
Chesterton 2-1, 2-3, 113 - 108
Portage 1-2, 2-3, 122 - 159
LaPorte 1-2, 1-4, 70 - 147
Michigan City 0-1, 2-1, 109 - 42
Lake Central 0-3, 1-4, 61 – 93

September 25

Lake Central at Michigan City
CROWN POINT at Valparaiso
Portage at Chesterton

October 2
Chesterton at Lake Central
Michigan City at Portage
Valparaiso at MERRILLVILLE


DAC (5 weeks): With Michigan City losing two games to the Covid-19 virus, Merrillville and Valparaiso also lost one game each. Valparaiso also lost a nonconference game with Griffith to pandemic concerns.

Bottom Line: So far, the league race has not been affected. None of the games between the top four schools have been lost so far. To be fair, Michigan City lost the potential chance to defeat both Valpo and Merrillville and win the DAC. But MC can still share the DAC title by winning the last four weeks while Valparaiso and Merrillville each lose a game. There are no tiebreakers in high school sports. If you tie for the league title, you finished first.

In theory, Crown Point can tie for the DAC championship by winning their last four games even though they lost to Merrillville. Much more likely, Valpo or Merrillville will win the DAC when they meet next week in Merrillville.

2020 (5A) Valparaiso (3-0)
13-1, (2019), 10-3 (2018) 8-2 (2017)
Coach Bill Marshall (3rd year) 26-5 … DAC games in CAPS
8-22 (W) 17-16 (6A) Penn (2-3)
9-4 (W) 37-7 (5A) LaPORTE (1-4)
9-18 (W) 30-21 (6A) CHESTERTON (2-3)
9-25 (Fri.) vs. (6A) CROWN POINT (3-2)
10-2 (Fri.) at (6A) MERRILLVILLE (5-0)
10-9 (Fri.) (6A) PORTAGE (2-3)
10-16 (Fri.) at (6A) LAKE CENTRAL (1-4)

5A Sectional 9
11-2 (Fri.) sectional quarterfinal vs. Munster (1-4), LaPorte (1-4) or Michigan City (2-1).


Valpo lost games with Griffith and Michigan City to Covid-19 issues at those two schools. The Vikings, who lost Jefferson-transfer QB Max Grimes to injury in their opening game, have probably been aided by the off days. Most National Football League or Division I colleges don’t play football nine weeks in a row because it's hard on the players physically. Offensive and defensive line units, which is Valpo’s strength, benefit greatly from a week off.


Here’s the offensive line for Valparaiso. Tackles Michael Boone (6-3, 305) and John Hofer (6-6, 300), guards Blaine Langley, Troy Witten and center Zach Barresas. The Valpo defensive line is led by defensive ends Dylan Dingman (6-2, 240) and Cooper Jones (6-3, 235), both Division-I prospects.

That’s what you are up against when you take on the Vikings. You have to stop halfback Tommy Burbee running behind Boone, Hofer and friends (including Dingman at tight end). Burbee (5-10, 175) gained 305 yards on 38 carries last week in the Vikings' come-from-behind 30-21 win over Chesterton. He carried 239 times for 1,761 yards and 23 touchdowns in 2019 in 14 games. Everybody has a plan. But if you can't stop Burbee running behind his big, green friends, your plan won't ever be implemented.

Valpo’s other strength is the kicking game, specifically place-kicker Liam Shepherd. Shepherd booted field goals of 22, 33 and 35 yards in last week’s win over Chesterton. He kicked field goals of 27, 34 and 37 yards in Valpo’s win over LaPorte. And Shepherd kicked a 37-yard field goal with three seconds to play to give Valpo a 17-16 win over Penn in the first week of the season. He is 9-of-9 on extra points.

The Vikings do not have a big time passing game, largely because quarterback Max Grimes (68 total TD passes in 2018 and 2019), who transferred in from Jefferson in the off-season, was injured against Penn and hasn’t played since. Logan Lockhart has been competent, but he is not a strong passer. You want Valparaiso to throw the ball because when the Vikings run it, its get frustrating. Valpo outgained Chesterton 428-235. The Vikings outgained LaPorte 335-227. Even in the 17-16 victory at Penn, Valparaiso rolled up 21 first downs and 322 total yards to just 109 for Penn.

Valparaiso has won 19 conference games in a row and they have also won 19 regular season games in a row. A win Friday makes it 20-20 in 2020.

2020 (6A) Crown Point (3-2)
6-5 (2019), 5-7 (2018) 7-5 (2017) 6-6 (2016)
Coach Kevin Enright (9th year) 50-44 ... all DAC games in CAPS
8-21 (L) 0-6 (4A) Lowell (4-0)
8-28 (W) 31-0 at (4A) Highland (2-2)
9-4 (L) 7-42 at (6A) MERRILLVILLE (4-0)
9-11 (W) 16-7 (6A) LAKE CENTRAL (1-4)
9-18 (W) 24-21 (6A) PORTAGE (2-3)
9-25 at (5A) VALPARAISO (3-0)
10-2 at (5A) LaPORTE (1-4)
10-9 (6A) CHESTERTON (2-3)
10-16 at (5A) MICH. CITY (2-1)

6A Sectional 1
vs. (Lafayette) Jefferson (5-0), Merrillville (4-0) or Lake Central (1-4)



CROWN POINT - Crown Point won a dramatic 24-21 Homecoming game over Portage last week when junior kicker Sammy Brewer booted a 26-yard field goal in the final minute. Obviously, halfback Matthew Walters (5-10, 160) was major league with 132 rushing yards on 17 carries and the Bulldog offensive line had to play a major role in that yardage. CP has to open some room for Walters against the big, mean green team or this isn’t going to be a fun night for the Bulldogs.

I expect option backup QB JJ Johnson (25 carries, 134 yards) to get some chances to do his thing at Viking stadium, but the Vikings expect that as well. CP needs a solid game from senior QB Will Pettit (39 of 79, 318 yards) in his third start against Valparaiso. The Vikings’ first string defense has allowed one rushing TD (at Penn) in three games.

The Bulldogs have to ride the defense led by senior linebacker Riley Granger (6-0, 210) who was in on a season-best 14 tackles against Portage. Linebacker Shane Schmidt (5-9, 180) recorded 12 tackles and an interception while defensive end Adrian Barrera (6-1, 230) had nine stops and a fumble recovery.

CP hopes Friday’s game is a battle of field goal kickers as junior Sammy Brewer is 3-for-3 on field goals and 9-for-9 on extra points this fall.

If I could only play one varsity game (I never played) in any sport, I’ve often wondered what game I would choose. A sectional championship? A home game against an arch-rival? Or a matchup against a team on a long winning streak.

Valpo carries a 19-game Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC) winning streak AND a 19-game regular season winning streak onto the field Friday. To me, this is a game that separates itself from the rest of the 2020 schedule.

CP has a one time, one night only opportunity to pull off the undisputed ‘upset of the year’. The Bulldogs lost 31-14 to Valparaiso last season, but it was 14-14 early in the fourth quarter. It was not the mismatch it appeared to me going in.

That says nothing about Friday. Valpo is a dominant, confident team full of seniors who have rarely lost. But this is a game I would like to play in.

6A CROWN POINT (3-2, 2-1 DAC) at 5A Valparaiso (3-0, 2-0 DAC)

at Vikings Stadium - Capacity: 5,000


SAGARIN RATINGS: Valparaiso by 21.

No surprise here. Valpo is a big favorite. They won at Penn. They haven’t lost. Crown Point has that 35-point loss at Merrillville. Okay, I get it. Some of us believe that CP should have beaten Lowell in week one (a 6-0 loss), but the computer does not give you credit for teams you ‘should have beaten’. It’s a cold, hard numbers machine. For the record, Portage and Crown Point were rated even last week on the computer and CP won on a late field goal, 24-21.



VALPARAISO (09-25-2020) Valparaiso charges down the field after the opening kickoff and Tommy Burbee scores on a short run for a 7-0 Viking lead. But the CP defense stops Valpo the next two times they have the ball and it's 7-0 at the quarter. The BulldogS mount a drive in the middle of the second quarter, but they settle for a Sammy Brewer field goal. Valpo and Liam Shepherd match that boot before halftime and it's 10-3.

Another long Viking drive falls short in the third quarter and Shepherd’s second field goal makes it 13-3. A Viking turnover keeps CP in the game and Will Pettit’s TD pass to Matt Walters cuts the Viking lead to 13-10.

But CP does not get the ball back. Burbee’s second TD of the game ends the scoring. Crown Point will keep it close at Valparaiso, but they just won't be able to score more than twice.



Copyright © 2020 and Meyer Multimedia Services, a division of Meyer Broadcasting Corp.  All rights reserved.
Revised: September 24, 2020 .