Week 7 - Football Game of the Week Preview

6A Crown Point (3-2)
at 5A LaPorte (1-4)

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith


On the road in a low-scoring game, it may come to Crown Point's kicker Sammy Brewer to make the difference when the Bulldogs ride the bus to LaPorte Friday night. (Photo by Mark Smith)


When:  7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 2, 2020

Where:  Kiwannis Stadium, 901 East Street, LaPorte (2 blocks east of LaPorte high school). The 4,500-seat football stadium is not at the high school but it isn’t very far.

TV/Radio/Internet: WCOE (96.7) carries all LaPorte football games, but it can only be heard in Porter, LaPorte and St. Joseph’s counties.

Enrollment: CROWN POINT - 2,861; LaPorte – 1,756.

The growth of Crown Point is highlighted by the comparison between these two schools. In 1986, according to the IHSAA, Crown Point had 1,774 students and LaPorte had 2,150 teenagers, according to the IHSAA directory. In 2002, LaPorte had 1,884 kids while Crown Point was home to 1,894 boys and girls. CP has gained almost 1,000 students in the last 18 years. LaPorte has stayed the same size.

WEATHER: Cold. Not breezy. Not frisky. Not crisp. Cold. Weather-wise, the fall is here. Daytime temperatures Friday will sit in the mid-50s, which puts the game-time kickoff ‘number’ in the upper 40s. There will be a northwest wind at about 10 miles-an-hour. We’re talking chilly.


PARKING: I don't know how many tickets will be made available for Crown Point people this Friday. But I don't think it's going to be an issue because a lot of CP folks probably won't be making the trip to LaPorte County. LaPorte is in a neighborhood on the west side of the city much like Highland is. You can park at LaPorte high school and walk to the game. It's less than two blocks. You will see the lights. Just follow the crowd.


THE SITUATION: I know you are hearing about Covid-19 cancellations and postponements. It’s okay to be concerned.
Notre Dame is having issues with as many as 39 players in quarantine or isolation, according to the South Bend Tribune. Even the National Football League’s Tennessee Titans are struggling with this pandemic situation.


At Plymouth, head varsity coach John Barron has reportedly tested positive for the virus this week so Plymouth is out of action for a couple of weeks, losing games with Concord and Goshen.

If you go, tonight might be the night to get truly creative with your virus mask and headwear. Staying virus free and staying warm might work hand in hand tonight.

With that said, if you are an older fan or parent. LaPorte is a beautiful place. It's great to watch a game there. But this might be the night to stay home. It will be warmer next week at home when the Bulldogs host Chesterton.




Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC)

Conference, Overall Record, Points scored - allowed
MERRILLVILLE 3-0 5-0 196 - 53
Valparaiso 2-0 3-0 84 - 44
Chesterton 3-1 3-3 133 - 108
CROWN POINT 2-1 3-2 78 - 76
Michigan City 1-1 3-1 157 - 48
Portage 1-3 2-4 122 - 179
LaPorte 1-3 1-5 77 - 180
Lake Central 0-4 1-5 67 – 141

October 2
Chesterton at Lake Central
Michigan City at Portage
MERRILLVILLE at 3A No.1 Bishop Chatard (5-1)
Valparaiso (idle)

October 9
Lake Central at MERRILLVILLE
Chesterton at CROWN POINT
LaPorte at Michigan City
Portage at Valparaiso


DAC (6 weeks): With the Covid-19 cancellation of this week’s regularly scheduled Valpo-Merrillville game, we may not have an undisputed DAC champ this fall. If the Vikings defeat Portage and Lake Central in the final two weeks and finish 4-0 in the DAC, they would effectively tie Merrillville if the Pirates finish 5-0 with wins over Lake Central and Chesterton.

I believe that a 4-0 Valparaiso and a 5-0 Merrillville would be officially a tie. Both teams won all their league games and neither defeated the other. I’ve been told for year that there are no tiebreakers in high school sports standing. Both schools are considered co-champions.

This is a rare occasion. The ‘tie’ scenario has not actually come to be yet. Merrillville still has to defeat Chesterton (3-3, 2-1 DAC), which has an outside shot at first place as well. Even Crown Point and Michigan City could conceivably tie for the title. But it seems certain that two or three DAC teams will share first place this fall.


2020 (5A) LaPorte (1-4)
3-8, (2019), 4-7, (2018) 7-4 (2017), 9-2 (2016)
Coach Jeremy Slowery (2nd year) 4-13 … DAC games in CAPS
8-22 (L) 0-14 (4A) at New Prairie (4-2)
8-28 (L) 14-35 (6A) Penn (2-4)
9-4 (W) 7-37 (5A) VALPARAISO (3-0)
9-11 (L) 21-45 (5A) CHESTERTON (3-3)
9-18 (W) 28-16 at LAKE CENTRAL (1-5)
9-25 (L) 7-33 MERRILLVILLE (5-0)
10-2 (Fri.) (6A) CROWN POINT (3-2)
10-9 (Fri.) at (5A) MICHIGAN CITY (3-1)
10-16 (Fri.) at (6A) PORTAGE (2-4)

5A Sectional 9
11-2 (Fri.) sectional quarterfinal vs. Munster (1-5), Valparaiso (3-0) or Michigan City (2-1).


LaPorte’s sectional hopes are in the draw, which will occur next Thursday. The Slicers need to draw Munster while Michigan City plays Valparaiso. I don’t give LaPorte much chance of beating BOTH Michigan City and Valparaiso. But if the Slicers draw Munster, they could reach the Sectional 5 title game against EITHER Michigan City or Valparaiso. I think that alone would be a small victory for the LaPorte boys.

LaPORTE Update:

LaPorte obviously isn’t saying this, but they’re building for next season. On offense, where the Slicers have had little success, is a quarterback in sophomore RJ Anglin (6-1, 155) and the tailback is junior Collin Berquist (6-1, 200), who has run for 600 yards. The ends or wide receivers are also two physically imposing underclassman, Garret Ott-Large (6-4, 230) and Evan Cizewski (6-5, 215).

The LaPorte offensive line is anchored by center Esteban Marcano (5-10, 262) and the right side is senior guard Connor Donnelly (6-1, 192) and senior right tackle (6-4, 230) and the Slicers have run the ball 80% of the time. Anglin (20 of 44, 365 yards, 4 TDs, 6 interceptions) has potential but he only throws seven or eight times a game.

The Slicers have a lot of promise defensively as well. LaPorte appears to use the 3-5-3 formation that Crown Point plays defensively. In the game against Valparaiso, LaPorte was young but physically imposing with noseguard Adam Ackerman (6-2, 295), and tackles Jordan Steinhiser (6-1, 315) and Gabe Quinn (6-4, 275). Three of the five Slicer linebackers are also underclassmen including sophomore inside linebacker Brennan Balka (6-3, 210). The Slicer cornerbacks are unusally tall with seniors Marcus Gray (6-1, 157) and Robbie Kiner (6-3, 160).

I say LaPorte is building for next year because that’s when all those dominant, experienced players at Valparaiso graduate and Class 5A Sectional 9 returns to ‘normal’. But this is not a bad Slicer team. LaPorte has lost to New Prairie (4-2), Valparaiso (3-0), Chesterton (3-3), Merrillville (5-0) and Penn (2-4), all quality teams. The Slicers weren’t quite ready for the schedule they’ve played. But this is the home finale for LaPorte. If the Slicers can get a lead Friday, you might see a different team.

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 (5-0)
8-28 (W) 31-0 at (4A) Highland (3-2)
9-4 (L) 7-42 at (6A) MERRILLVILLE (5-0)
9-11 (W) 16-7 (6A) LAKE CENTRAL (1-5)
9-18 (W) 24-21 (6A) PORTAGE (2-4)
10-2 at (5A) LaPORTE (1-5)
10-9 (6A) CHESTERTON (3-3)
10-16 at (5A) MICH. CITY (3-1)

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


Just like LaPorte, CP’s sectional hopes hinge on next week’s draw. If Merrillville draws Jefferson just like they did last season, CP would match up with Lake Central, a team they’ve beaten seven times in a row. Nobody’s come within two touchdowns of Merrillville and Jeff averages 48 points a game. The Bulldogs are unlikely to defeat Jefferson and Merrillville in back-to-back games. But if they only have to play one of them, it could be a November to remember.



CROWN POINT - The Bulldogs got a week off after two wins and I think it helps them going into the final three games. I’ve said several times that I believe that that a week off at mid-season (even though they didn’t want it) helps the offensive and defensive linemen who can rest their bodies and take time to go over their play.

Plus, no matter how optimistic and upbeat I may have sounded in last week’s preview of the (now cancelled) CP battle with second-ranked Valparaiso, there was an outside chance that the Bulldogs would have been smacked down by an uncomfortable margin. Now, CP, with confidence still intact, heads into the final three games with a real-world chance to build a winning streak. A road win this Friday and the Bulldogs will ride the happy bus back to Lake County.

6A CROWN POINT (3-2) at 5A LaPORTE (1-4)

at Kiwanis Field - Capacity: 4,500



I think this spread is a little low. Crown Point only averages 15 points a game and LaPorte averages just 13 a game. That suggests that the scoreboard won't get a workout on this night. But looking at recent games. CP has won 16-7 and 24-21. The Bulldogs’ offense may be slowly improving. CP losses were to Merrillville (5-0) and Lowell (5-0). LaPorte scored 21 points total in the first three games but they ticked up to 56 points the last three weeks. Neither team is going to roll up points like the Kansas City Chiefs, but I think the winner Friday wins by a TD or more.


LaPORTE (10-02-2020) LaPorte is powerful up front, but CP’s alternating the short passing of Will Pettit and the option runs for JJ Johnson will cause difficulty for the Slicers. LaPorte uses a lot of double-wing mis-direction running plays and it will take CP a few series to adjust to it. The Slicers will get a TD from Collin Berquist early for a 7-0 home team lead.

CP will gain field position consistently and the Bulldogs will open it up. A TD pass from Pettit to Walters will even the score and a Sammy Brewer field goal puts the Bulldogs ahead 10-7 at the half. Crown Point’s strength has been yards per carry (5.8 over 154 carries) and ball security. They have just four turnovers (only one fumble) all season. LaPorte has 13 turnovers in six games. Walters will score a second TD to expand the lead and turnovers will set up two more field goals in the fourth quarter.

LaPorte will get a late TD pass from RJ Anglin and they won’t get blown out. But this is a good matchup for the CP defense and they will get out with a relatively low-scoring victory.


CROWN POINT 23, LaPorte 14

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Revised: October 01, 2020 .