Week 2 - Football Game of the Week Preview

6A Crown Point (1-0)
at 5A Mishawaka (1-0)

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith


Crown Point played the scrimmage at Penn on August 12 and the Bulldog bus heads
east again this Friday to visit Mishawaka's Steele Field. (Photo by Mark Smith)

When: Friday, August 26, 2016;  Kick-off: 7:30 p.m. EDT (6:30 p.m. CDT)

Where: Mishawaka High School - 1202 LincolnWay West - Mishawaka, Ind.


TV/Radio/Internet: No over-the-air radio. Live Internet audio stream on www.USA-365.com.

Enrollment: Crown Point - 2,664; Mishawaka - 1,468.

WEATHER: Much better than last week. Upper 70s during the day. Upper 60s by the second half. Very little chance of rain, a good thing because I believe Mishawaka still has natural grass. Hopefully, the humidity will be down a little. Can't tell you how sick of 80-degree humid weather. I've heard coaches say that hot, humid days early make the players stronger in October and November. I used to doubt that but now, all 6A teams get a bye week in week 10. Maybe there is a future benefit to this heat.


PARKING: Steele Field seats 8,600 so you will have plenty of room once you get in. It's a stadium, not a field with bleachers. Everybody gets a good view of the game and it's not crowded at all. But Mishawaka high is in a residential area and there isn't that much parking away from the school lot. I don't know how many CP people will make it to Mishawaka. That's about 90 miles and the game starts at 6:30 Lake County time. I believe there's construction on the Indiana Tollway as well. There's more than one reason to leave early. Despite the wonderfully romantic Indian name, Mishawaka is not in the country. It's the 95th largest TV market (there are 4 TV stations) in the USA.


WHAT's AT STAKE: In standings. Nothing. In polls. Little. But both teams have storm clouds on the horizon. Next week, Mishawaka is home against Class 6A No. 2 Cathedral (1-0), a 12-time state champion. Crown Point's next two foes are rivals Merrillville (1-0) and Lake Central (1-0). In fact, Crown Point's first four opponents could be state ranked if the Pirates and Indians keep winning this week. Since Mishawaka defeated Crown Point last season, the seniors certainly would like another shot. Both sides will quickly set aside the outcome this Friday because the stakes are raised in week three.


The HISTORY: Mishakawa is one of the oldest towns in Indiana and it has a colorful history. The town is named for Princess Mishawaka, the daughter of Shawnee Indian Chief Elkhart, for who that Indiana town is named. The word Mishawaka means 'swift water' by most translations. The princess, after being rescued in a battle between warring tribes, married the man who rescued her and lived her life working for peace between the white man and the Indian near the St. Joseph's River in the early 1800s. It's some what of a big deal. There is a statue of her at 600 East 3rd Street in Mishawaka. Mishawaka's nickname is the 'Princess City'. There is a 'Princess Mishawaka Society'.
Mishawaka high school is also a big deal. The first graduating class hit the street in 1878, 138 years ago. If the Mishawaka high school building looks 'old school' (excuse the pun) when you get there Friday, it's because it was first constructed in 1924.

Mishawaka is one of the great old 'franchises’ in Indiana high school football going back to at least 1902 when they played schools like the South Bend Business College. The oldest prep football series in the state is Mishawaka vs. Elkhart (now Elkhart Central), which began in 1902.

Mishawaka played through the ‘dark years’, the period from about 1910-1924 when football was almost banned nationally due to the deaths of players, as many as 19 nationally in 1905. Many Indiana high schools stopped playing football during the second decade of the 20th Century.

Under head coach Frank Steele (1923-32), Mishawaka was undefeated and won the ‘mythical’ (newspaper voted) Indiana state championships both years. Steele, who was also Mishawaka’s athletic director from 1934 to 1952, is a Mishawaka legend. Steele Field, which is listed as seating 8,600, is an old US government works project, and is considered one of Indiana’s most tradition-rich high school football stadiums and has been the home to Mishawaka football since 1938.

Why ‘Cavemen?' The name is almost 100 years old so the truth is lost in the fog of time. The original name of Mishawaka football players is the Maroons, a horrible choice. Old timers in Mishawaka will tell you that the name comes from a sportswriter who, the legend says, overheard a cheerleader comment at the 1919 Mishawaka-South Bend Central game about how the Mishawaka boys would fight like Cavemen against the heavily favored South Bend team. Mishawaka won and the name stuck.

Like the 'princess' legend, I hope it's close to being true.

Coach Bart Curtis has held the tradition of Mishawaka football high in the Friday night lights, winning 75 games and losing just 27 in his nine seasons so far. Mishawaka has lost 12 homes games in nine years, five of them to arch rival Penn. Note that Mishawaka is in the Class 5A Top-10 but is also in the Class 6A playoffs. They chose to do that. Any IHSAA team can choose to play above their enrollment class.

Crown Point boys should feel honored to play on such a legendary high school field as Steele Field. I don't know how much longer CP will play Mishawaka, so a second consecutive victory here (CP won 35-34 in 2014) would be a program highlight that might shine longer than the two-hour bus ride home.


The 'Distant' Replay:


CP tops Mishawaka in two-day game, 30-7


Team 1 2 3 4 F
Mishawaka (0-2) 7 0 0 0 7
CROWN POINT (2-0) 7 16 7 0 30

Friday, Aug. 30 (93-degrees) and Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013,  73 degrees at CROWN POINT, Ind.

1st Qtr: MISHAWAKA (7-0) Kylan McCullough, 5-yard run. 60 yards, 13 plays. Time of possession (TOP) 5:14 min. Ben Kozlowski kick. 4:58 left.
(Play delayed Friday to Saturday with 4:58 left.)
Jake Jatis, 2-yard run. 51 yards, 10 plays. 3:11 min TOP. Evan Markowitz kick. 1:42 left.
2nd Qtr:
CROWN POINT (14-7) Jake Kocher, 54-yard pass from Jake Jatis. 68 yards, 5 plays. 1:59 min. TOP. Evan Markowitz kick. 8:43 left.
CROWN POINT (20-7) Morgan Kral, 12-yard pass from Jake Jatuis. 68 yards, 9 plays. 2:32 min. TOP. Kick blocked by Keegan Hood. 5:11 left.

CROWN POINT (23-7) Evan Markowitz, 33-yard field goal. (-2) yards, 4-plays (after LB Brendyn McKinnon's interception return to the Mishawaka 14-yd line.) 0:49 sec. TOP. 0:00 left.
3rd Qtr:
CROWN POINT (30-7) Tristan Peterson, 15-yard run. 15 yards, 1-play. 0:06 sec.TOP. Markowitz kick. 1:03 left.
4th Qtr: No scoring.



MISHAWAKA (43 carries, 124 yards, TD, one fumble) Kylan McCullough (FB) 32 carries, 112 yards; Evan Fras (QB) 6-19 yards;
Angelo Multari (WR) 3 (-17 yards; Adam Heatherly (WR) 1-2; Darian Phillips (QB) 1-8;

CROWN POINT (22 carries, 61 yards, 2 TDs, fumble)
Tristan Peterson (HB) 18-53 yards, fumble, TD; Jake Jatis (QB) 3-6, TD;
Jesse Martin (HB) 3-8 yards; Wes Honaker (WR) 1-0, fumble.


MISHAWAKA: Evan Kras (QB) 0-for-3, 2 interceptions;
CROWN POINT: Jake Jatis (QB) 14 of 28, 248 yards, 2 TDs, no interceptions.



CROWN POINT: Jake Kocher (WR) 5-98 yards, TD; Morgan Kral (TE) 3-68 yards, TD;
Stephen Potosky (TE) 3-43, Tristan Peterson (HB) 2-33, TD; Tyler Downing (WB) 1-16.



MISHAWAKA (3) 2 interceptions; fumble; CROWN POINT (2) 2 fumbles.

CROWN POINT: There has been a recent history of stormy weather in the second game of the season, suspending or postponing football games. That's what the 2013 CP-Mishawaka football game was all about. With Mishawaka leading 7-0 in the second quarter after a 60-yard, 13 play drive, storms moved in and Crown Point cleared the stands and decided to wait it out. Almost two hours later, CP decided to postpone the game until Saturday night.

When the game resumed, everything changed. Crown Point scored on three consecutive possessions for a 20-7 lead. It was 30-7 after three quarters. The turnaround was vivid. Now in theory, CP might have adjusted to Mishawaka's option running attack and turned the game around on the fly. But with a day to think about it, we'll never know that for sure. Mishawaka had to drive two hours home late Friday, turnaround and come back Saturday night. It had to affect them.

CP's quarterback that night, Jake Jatis is now a junior QB at Cornell in the Ivy League. CP wingback Tyler Downing changed sports and batted .291 in 34 games last spring for Wabash College. Wess Honaker ran sprints last spring for Illinois State University. He ran a personal best 7.05 indoors in the 60-meter dash in March and he redshirted in the outdoor season to begin his outdoor track career next spring. Ben Kozlowski, Mishawaka's freshman place kicker that night, is now the senior place kicker for Mishawaka.

By the way, there's no chance of rain in the forecast for Friday.


MISHAWAKA - Mishawaka jumped ahead 21-0 early and held on to top Portage 21-7 last week. They held the Indiana to 67 yards rushing and just 8-of-24 passing for 173 yards.
The Cavemen have eight defensive starters back off an 8-4 team and they clearly ran over Portage in the first half on the way to a 21-0 lead. As the game went on, Portage got the better of things but they couldn't make enough plays to get close. Portage also fumbled at the Mishawaka 5-yard-line in a scoreless second half. Some coaches favor speed over size and I think that Bart Curtis has been that kind of coach going back to his days at New Prairie. Ben Kozlowski is the kicker for the fourth consecutive season and he's one to watch. He has attempted kicks beyond 50 yards, has a very strong leg and was 26 of 29 on extra points last year.

LB - Kevin Banks (5-11, 170) Senior:
The leader of the Caveman defense, which returns eight starters from 2015. Banks was in on 84 tackles last season. He epitomizes the Mishawaka defense, which is not that large, but usually fairly quick. he had 10 1/2 tackles for loss including three quarterback sacks. He'll be difficult to block.

CB - Devin Wakes (6-3, 180) Senior:
Wakes had five interceptions and nine pass breakups last fall. A varsity basketball player, Wakes' size and speed makes it difficult to throw the ball. If he picks one off, he's gone. Wakes is a 200-meter man on the Mishawaka track team and he runs on the 4-by-100 meter relay.

QB - Ryan Wroblewski (6-1, 170) Senior:
Wroblewski, who switched from wide receiver to quarterback this fall, scored on a 3-yard run and threw a 34-yard TD to Isaiah Evans last week in the 21-7 win over Portage. Last year, he ran 17 times for 104 yards but he also averaged 35.8 yards per kickoff return. The new QB, who hit .300 and stole 23 bases for the Mishawaka baseball team last spring, gained 57 yards in 14 rushes last week. The new Mishawaka quarterback, under coach Curtis, is a frequent runner. CP will see a lot of Wroblewski.


I don't remember a more emotional response to a win than I saw Crown Point have last week after topping rival Lowell in two overtimes. If ever a win could erase the 1-9 season of 2105, this one did. Lowell will get over the loss quickly because they were 12-1 last year. CP needed this win badly. I think that no matter what happens at Mishawaka this week, the victory over 4A No.1 Lowell had to lift this program.


The Bulldogs never let Lowell get inside the CP 40-yardline and they stopped a team that rushed for 2,500 yards last season. This was one of CP's greatest defensive games. I thought the heat was a factor last week. Crown Point has no players who play on offense and defense. Lowell did and Mishawaka does. The Bulldogs, who committed 25 turnovers in 10 games in 2015, lost only one interception last week, although they did have two field goals blocked. CP did not lose a fumble against Lowell after fumbling 11 times in 2015. CP lost 21-0 at home to Mishawaka last August (CP was 0-5 at home last year) but they won 35-34 at Mishawaka in 2014. CP's last double-overtime game was a 41-34 home victory over Valparaiso on September 26, 2003.

DT - Emas King (6-0, 215) Senior:
Defense was 'king' in last week's 9-3 double-overtime CP win and Emas King stood tall with 10 tackles including two quarterback sacks. Emas played part time last season, in on 31 stops, but CP held Lowell's vaunted rushing game to just 79 yards in 31 carries. King, Ethan Wood (6-2, 230) and Nick Winter (6-0, 250) excelled in the front of the Bulldogs' 3-5-3 defense.

LB - Donald Schuch (6-1, 215) Senior:
Schuch, who led CP with 106 tackles in 2015, was in on nine stops including seven solo tackles last week against Lowell. The Devils have a good line and good size runners. But Schuch and other CP linebackers like Caden Watson (10 tackles) were up to the challenge. The Bulldogs stopped Lowell on 4th-and-goal from the 2-yard line to save the game in the second overtime.

KR/DB Zach Stewart (5-10, 160) Senior:
Zach Stewart made seven tackles including six solo tackles in the win over No. 1 Lowell. The senior co-captain also ran two punts back for 15 yards. I've singled out Stewart and Schuch here because of the solo tackles. In a double-overtime game, obviously any one missed tackle could have allowed a game-winning TD.

at Steele Field - capacity: 8,600
Sagarin computer ratings:  Mishawaka by 14


MISHAWAKA (08-26-2016) I thought this spread is a little high. It's got to be rated on last year's teams because Crown Point beat a Lowell team that is still ranked eighth in Class 4A while Mishawaka is coming off a 21-7 win over a Portage team that's 2-20 in its last 22 games. I believe, and have said this many times here, the Sagarin ratings are a lot more accurate late in the season when there is more information about this year's teams. Right now, nobody is certain of what they have and teams tend to improve a lot from week one to week two.


MISHAWAKA - Here comes another low-scoring game. Mishawaka has a veteran defense with a good secondary. The Cavemen have an inexperienced QB (they threw just 5 passes last week) facing a CP defense that is good against the run.

The Cavemen take an early lead on a 30-yard field goal by Ben Kozlowski, but CP leads at the half on a run by the quarterback Grayson Lynk. This game should be close all the way. Fullback Austin Falkner carried 22 times (65 yards) last week and he'll get into the end zone in the second half, but a Lynk pass to Shane McCormack puts the Bulldogs ahead 14-10.  Caveman QB Ryan Wroblewski (14 runs for 57 yards last week) leads his side down the field in the fourth quarter, but they will fail on fourth down twice in the final quarter.

Mishawaka's formations will try to spread CP out, but the Bulldog defense basically dared Lowell to throw and Mishawaka's Ryan Wroblewski is more runner than thrower. Until CP runs into teams that can throw the ball well, they have an advantage. The Bulldogs are bigger physically and they have an experienced QB. If they don't fumble the ball more than once, CP holds on here for a second narrow win over a ranked team.


CROWN POINT 14, Mishawaka 10

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