Week 10 Picks - 2016 NW Indiana High School Football

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith

October 21, 2016

Everybody's looking for the road to Indianapolis as the six-week Indiana state high school football tournament begins. (Photo by Mark Smith)

'Mr. Picker' WEEK-9, 2016 Football Picks in Review:
Oct. 14-15, 2016

Wrong - 4; Right - 6 = 60.0%

The Pick The Result

Bishop Noll 20, Lake Station 14  

(wrong) Lake Station 33-6

Hammond 26, Clark 14  

Hammond 41-20

Morton 21, Gavit 20  

(wrong) Gavit 30-6


LOWELL 35-21

East Chicago 35, Griffith 28  

East Chicago 35-15

Mich. City 20, CROWN POINT 10  

(wrong) CP 42-21

LaPorte 42, Portage 28  

(wrong) Portage 31-18

Lake Central 31, Valparaiso 21  

Lake Central 21-20

Hobart 35, Highland 14  

Hobart 41-14

HANOVER 28, North Newton 26  

Hanover 21-7


WEEK (9) NINE (6 of 10, 60.0%)

WEEK (8) EIGHT (8 of 10, 80.0%)

WEEK (7) SEVEN (7 of 10, 70.0%)

WEEK (6) SIX (5 of 10, 50.0%)
WEEK (5) FIVE (5 of 10, 50.0%)
WEEK (4) FOUR (7 of 10, 70.0%)
WEEK (3) THREE (7 of 10, 70.0%)
WEEK (2) TWO (7 of 10, 70.0%)
WEEK (1) ONE (7 of 12, 58.3%)
SEASON TO DATE: (59 of 92, 63.1%)


ANALYSIS: Ups and downs. The Bishop Noll pick was a sentimental pick. They hadn't won in so long. I probably should have taken Gavit over Morton based on the second half of the season. I had a feeling LaPorte wouldn't have anything to play for, but I didn't take Portage. I might have guessed that Crown Point would do well against MC, but I didn't have the nerve to pick them. Missed opportunity.

WORST PICK: Bishop Noll over Lake Station. I just had hope they'd break the 3-year losing streak. But Lake Station broke a 4-game losing streak and won going away. It was a long shot pick.

BEST PICK: Obviously, Lowell over Andrean by the exact score. 35-21 is a fairly common score and it did take a Lowell blocked field goal to create that score. Hobart over Highland 35-14 when the final score was 41-14 was almost as good.


'Mr. Picker' (Through the Years)
2015 (final) OVERALL: 131 of 174 = 75.2%
2014 (final) OVERALL: 131 of 176 = 74.4%
2013 (final) OVERALL: 130 of 175 = 74.2%

2012 (final) OVERALL: 137 of 177 = 77.4%

2011 (final) OVERALL: 134 of 184 = 72.7%
2010 (final) OVERALL: 135 of 184 = 73.3%
2009 (final) OVERALL: 154 of 212 = 72.6%
2008 (final) OVERALL: 145 of 193 = 75.1%
2007 (final) OVERALL: 143 of 188 = 76.0%
2006 (final) OVERALL: 166 of 217 = 76.4%
2005 (final) OVERALL: 170 of 233 = 72.9%

Mr. Picker 2016 WEEK (10) TEN:

The state tournament changes this year and it's for the good. As 64 teams compete in Classes 1A though 4A, most Class 5A teams and all 32 Class 6A teams get a first round bye. There is no down side to that. High school football is the only level of the sport which does not have bye weeks. Whatever coaches may say, the boys certainly welcome a week where they can heal after playing every Friday night for more than two months.

Let's remember that's not why the bye was instituted. Obviously, when the number of football-playing schools in Indiana increased beyond the number 320, there was no way to continue a playoff format that included five classes with 64 teams in each class. So the Indiana Highland School Athletic Association added a sixth class, basically splitting up the 64 teams in what previously was Class 5A.

As teams (like Hanover Central) begin football programs and become eligible for the post-season, they are added to their class and Class 5A grows by one school. For this season Class 5A has 36 teams, not 32. So four teams will have six weeks of playoffs in 5A while the rest have five. The two 5A games this week are Mishawaka (7-2) at Elkhart Memorial (2-7) and Columbus East (8-1) at New Palestine (9-0).

Next week, the 32 6A schools and the 32 remaining schools in 5A join the final 32 teams in the other four classes and the playoffs go forward. It's hardly a perfect solution from a fairness standpoint (in Sectional 14, Franklin (1-8) gets a bye Friday, while fourth ranked Columbus East faces second-ranked New Palestine), but it works and it will work for some time. As the number of 5A teams grow, more Class 5A teams will have a six week playoff path instead of a bye and five weeks of potential foes.

What would I like to happen?

All six classes would have 54 teams and the top 10 teams in each class would get a bye, based on the Sagarin computer rankings. As the number of total football-playing schools increases, the additional teams are spread out over the six classes.

Class 1A and 2A schools with small rosters, where many boys play on offense and defense, needs a bye week more than 5A and 6A, although it benefits all schools. The unintended consequence of the bye week is that boys who play 6A and 5A football get to be fans for a week. I can almost guarantee you that boys who play for Lake Central will take the short trip to Munster this Friday to watch 4A No. 10 East Chicago play Munster. I'd bet that some of the boys who play for Crown Point, will be curious enough to take the short ride to Cedar Lake to see the undefeated Hanover Central (9-0) team they've heard about.

In the future, 5A and 6A schools can ask the IHSAA if they can schedule a junior varsity game during the bye week to give younger players some playing time and make a little extra money for the home school. Imagine the Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC) playing a JV 'championship round' in week 10 pitting teams against each other (1 vs. 2, 3 vs. 4, 5 vs. 6 and 7 vs. 8) based on where they finished in the regular season JV standings? JV football is a big money maker for high schools.

The bye week is all good for the sport.


Class 1A, Sectional 41

(1A) Tri County (5-4) at Pioneer (9-0):
ROYAL CENTER (10-21-2016)
Pioneer was 12-1 last year and 13-2 the year before. Tri-County has lost three games by eight points or less. Pioneer has a sophomore quarterback Jack Kiser (6-2, 192) who has rushed 121 times for 1,025 yards and 23 touchdowns, while completing 50 of 85 passes for 913 yards and 15 TDs. Did you know that Pioneer has had 21 winning seasons in a row? Tri-County has a major problem here.

Pioneer 35, Tri-County 14

(1A) North White (4-5) at Lake Station (3-6):

LAKE STATION (10-21-2016)
North White senior Jim Quasebarth (5-9, 140) has thrown for 1,199 yards, rushed for 597 yards and made 51 tackles on defense. At 140 pounds. Lake Station has completed less than 30 passes all season. Sometimes, at this level, one playoff game means more than at the high levels. The winner here probably faces Pioneer (9-0) and the season is over. For North White and Lake Station, this is the 'Super Bowl.'

Lake Station 20, North White 14

(1A) South Newton (1-8) at North Judson (3-6):

NORTH JUDSON (10-21-2016)
Judson halfback Drake Lewis (6-0, 185) will be one of the Jays' key runners on a cold, windy night. It's been a long, hard road for South Newton, which played seven games in Illinois and has scored just 113 points all season. South beat Iroquois West (1-7) two weeks ago 38-37. The Rebels are 0-2 against Indiana schools.

North Judson 28, South Newton 6

(1A) South Central (6-3) at West Central (1-8):

FRANCESVILLE (10-21-2016)
West Central has allowed 43 points a game, but they did top Frontier 38-24 two weeks ago. South Central lost 13-12 to North Newton (7-2) and they led Hanover Central (9-0) at the half before losing 41-20. This game isn't going to be close and both sides probably know it.

South Central 35, West Central 8

Class 2A, Sectional 33

(2A) BOONE GROVE (2-7) at Whiting (8-1):

WHITING (10-21-2016)
Tough matchup for the Wolves, who lost to Whiting 49-9 in September. My man Tommy (TD) Davenport has 12 touchdowns on just 82 carries. Whiting's only loss is to Hanover Central (9-0). Whiting won three home playoff games last fall.

Whiting 35, Boone Grove 6

(2A) Bowman Academy (0-9) at North Newton (7-2):

MOROCCO (10-21-2016)
Here's one that shouldn't be played. Justin Harrell (6-0, 195) has 1,248 yards rushing on 215 carries. How far does Bowman have to drive to take one more loss? And why should a 7-2 Spartans squad have to face a winless team?

North Newton 56, Bowman Academy 0

(2A) Knox (7-2) at Gary Roosevelt (1-7):

GARY (10-21-2016)
See the above comments. Knox has lost only to Pioneer (9-0) and LaVille (8-1). Velt's only win is over Gary West Side (1-7). If you don't win at least three games, you should not be eligible for the post-season.

Knox 42, Gary Roosevelt 0

(2A) Bishop Noll (0-9) at River Forest (3-6):

HOBART TOWNSHIP (10-21-2016)
I thought Noll could win last week. This time, I have no illusions. River Forest defeated Bishop Noll 50-13 in September and Noll has lost 23 in a row. It's a cold night to be on the road with a three-year losing streak.

River Forest 35, Bishop Noll 12

Class 3A Sectional 25

(3A) John Glenn (1-8) at Griffith (6-3):

GRIFFITH (10-21-2016)
Griffith is ready to rumble. Last week's loss to 4A East Chicago should be easy to forget about. Glenn has lost eight in a row since an opening day win over Rochester (0-9). The only bad thing about this matchup for Griffith is that they are home this week, which sends them on the road against tougher teams.

Griffith 34, Glenn 14

(3A) Renssealer (6-3) at Calumet (3-6):

GARY (10-21-2016)
The Bombers visit the new Calumet stadium where the Warriors will try to stop somebody. They've allowed almost 30 points a game. Rensselaer's running attack should be well suited for a cold, windy night and a win here puts them at home later in the sectional.

Rensselaer 28, Calumet 7

(3A) Hammond (3-6) at HANOVER CENTRAL (9-0):

CEDAR LAKE (10-21-2016)
Hanover Central's first ever state tournament home game. When HC previously had football in the late 60s and early 70s, there was no state tournament. Hammond isn't bad. They've won three of their last five. But, like Rensselaer, HC's run-dominated attack should make this a happy home game.

HANOVER 28, Hammond 8

(3A) Wheeler (4-5) at (Mishawaka) Marian (8-1):

MISHAWAKA (10-21-2016)
Wheeler clearly drew the worst assignment here. The Bearcats have a long ride to Mishawaka and a state-ranked team waiting for them. Marian's only loss is to arch-rival Mishawaka (7-2) and they have 6-foot-3, 225-pound Alexander Horvath (167 carries, 1,336 yards, 20 TDs) getting ready. Senior Rashad Briggs has five interceptions and outside linebacker Zach Whitfield has 13 tackles for losses. It will be a long ride home.

Marian 42, Wheeler 14

Class 4A Sectional 17

(4A) Gary West Side (1-7) at LOWELL (5-4):

LOWELL (10-21-2016)
Here's another really tough assignment for the visitors. The Cougars have only beaten Clark and they are a spread offense team playing a power running team on a cold night. Lowell has won three in a row and only Andrean has scored more than two TDs on the Devils defense. West Side upset Lowell three years ago, but it won't happen again.

LOWELL 42, Gary West Side 7

(4A) Gavit (5-3) at Morton (3-6):

HAMMOND (10-21-2016)
These two met last week and Gavit won 30-7. I don't think there's a three touchdown difference between these two teams and the game (at Gavit last week) is at Morton this Friday. When teams meet two weeks in a row, I don't ever remember seeing them split. I remember in 2007 and 2010 when Merrillville met Chesterton two weeks in a row. For what it's worth, Merrillville swept them both times.

Gavit 27, Morton 20

(4A) East Chicago (7-1) at Munster (4-5):

MUNSTER (10-21-2016)
Maybe the most pivotal game of any in Northwest Indiana Friday. EC has two offensive stars in Tyree Rimmer (18 TDs) and QB Devontae Jones, who has rushed and passed for 1,000 yards. Munster rolled over KV last week and they have played a tougher schedule. I just have a feeling about this one.

Munster 27, East Chicago 24

(4A) Clark (0-9) at Highland (4-5):

HIGHLAND (10-21-2016)
This is a favor for Highland. Clark has lost 21 in a row and they've allowed 362 points. They are outmanned. There's nothing Clark can do here. The Trojans can play everyone in this game to get set for the sectional semifinals. This is the next best thing to a bye.

Highland 56, Clark 0

Class 4A Sectional 18

(4A) South Bend Clay (0-9) at Kankakee Valley (2-7):

WHEATFIELD (10-21-2016)
Clay is 0-9 and 1-18 the last two years. They have allowed 40 or more points in each of the last six weeks. KV has lost their last three, but they only lost to Highland by five points and they only lost to Morton by two. At home, the Kougars take this 'gift' and move on.

KV 28, Clay 14

(4A) South Bend Washington (3-6) at Hobart (7-2):

HOBART (10-21-2016)
Washington has three wins, but they are over Riley (3-6), Glenn (2-7) and Clay (0-9). The Panthers average only 15 points a game. With Big Nick Ray (158 carries, 1,154 yards) ready to play, it'll be tough for Washington to get the Hobart offense off the field. Could be a long, cold night for the Panthers.

Hobart 42, Washington 14

(4A) ANDREAN (4-5) at South Bend St. Joseph's (2-7):

SOUTH BEND (10-21-2016)
I don't know what happened at St. Joseph's this year. I am a little wary here. Two weeks ago, St. Joe beat Culver Academy (6-3) by 16 points. But the Indians have allowed 32 points a game. Andrean QB Patrick Reardon and 1,000 yard rusher Teely Rhyne won't be contained all night. This will end a streak of 11 consecutive winning seasons for St. Joseph's.
ANDREAN 31, St. Jospeh's 14

(4A) New Prairie (7-2) at South Bend Riley (2-7):

SOUTH BEND (10-21-2016)
I 'd like to build up the drama, but Riley is overmatched here as well. New Prairie has 2,600 yards and 35 touchdowns rushing. They don't need to throw, which will be good on a cold night like this. And that score is right. When Riley played New Prairie in September, New Prairie won 70-14. Enough said.

New Prairie 56, Riley 0

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Revised: October 21, 2016 .