Week 13 - Football Game of the Week Preview

6A No. 6 Penn (10-1) at
6A Crown Point (7-4)

The CP cheerleaders will be dressed for success (and warmth) at Crown Point Friday night. The Bulldogs host Penn for the Class 6A regional championship.
(Photo by Mark Smith)

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith


When:  6:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 10, 2017

Where:  Crown Point High School, 1500 South Main (one mile south of the CP downtown square)

TV/Radio/Internet: Live updates of all local scores all night on WLPR (89.1) FM. Live Internet audio stream on www.USA-365.com.

Enrollment: Penn - 3,367; Crown Point - 2,815. (In the 1987 IHSAA directory, Penn was listed as having 1,723 students.)

WEATHER: As cold as the day after Christmas. You will be cold when you get there. You will be cold at halftime and you will run to the car. If it snows (and it might) Friday, it'll stop by game time when the temperature is expected to be about 25 degrees. The winds will be less than 10 miles-an-hour, but the cold will affect the game, passing and throwing and kicking the frozen football. As for fans, this is not a night for the very young or the very old. Nobody is going to give you a medal for surviving this game in the stands. The least cold people (a phrase I just made up) will the boys in the game because they can keep moving. Anyone on the sidelines or the poor souls in the stands will feel the thrill of the chill.


PARKING: If the forecast was for 50 degrees Friday, I'd expect a standing room only crowd for Penn's first visit to CPHS. But you can forget about that. You want to arrive early, but only so you can park near the field and sit in your car until the kickoff. Once you are in, you're in. There's no place to go at halftime (maybe the washroom) and get warm. I don't think you'll have a problem finding parking spaces. A lot of people who might normally come from Penn will be sitting home listening on the radio. CP fans might use the warm car as a place to retreat to if the chill of the night gets to be a little much for them.


WHAT's AT STAKE: It's as big as it can get. Penn is playing for the school's 18th regional championship and their fifth Class 6A Regional crown in a row. Crown Point is playing to win the regional for the first time in 29 years. Penn would host undefeated Snider in the 6A Semistate on November 17. The Kingsmen would play at Carmel if that is the matchup. This is Crown Point's final home game of the 2017 season. The Bulldogs would play at Snider or Carmel in the state semifinals.

Penn (10-1)
12-1 (2016), 12-2 (2015), 12-1 (2014), 12-1 (2013)
Coach Cory Yeoman (15th season, 164-31) Northern Indiana Conference (NIC)

8-18 (L) 7-12 at (6A) Valparaiso (8-2)
8-25 (W) 7-0 (6A) Merrillville (1-9)
9-1 (W) 38-0 at (Birmingham, Michigan) Brother Rice (7-4)
9-8 (W) 38-17 at (Orchard Lake, Michigan) St. Mary's (2-6)
9-15 (W) 35-0 (5A) (South Bend) Adams (3-7)

9-22 (W) 30-14 at (3A) (South Bend) St Joseph's (5-7)
9-29 (W) 58-6 at (4A) (South Bend) Clay (0-10)
10-6 (W) 47-3 (5A) Elkhart Central (4-6)
10-13 (W) 48-7 (5A) Mishawaka (6-5)

6A Sectional 2
10-27 (W) 13-0 at Valparaiso (8-2)
11-3 (W) 40-0 Warsaw (6-5)
11-10 (Fri) at CROWN POINT (7-4)

This isn't the greatest schedule in the world for a school the caliber of Penn. But I'm guessing that a lot of schools won't play the Kingsmen. Imagaine you are New Prairie or Lowell (the local 4A regional teams) or Michigan City or Concord, the 5A regional foes. None of those schools are going to sign up for a home-and-home with Penn because they are public schools one half or three quarters of the size of the giant St. Joseph's County school. I'd like to see Penn travel to Illinois to play teams like Lincoln-Way Central or Homewood Flossmoor. Those would be big events.

PENN UPDATE: Penn has won five state football championships but none since 2000. And this didn't look like a championship season when the Kingsmen lost 12-7 to Valparaiso in week-1 and gained less than 100 yards of total offense. But Penn isn't a strong offensve team. The Kingsmen have allowed just 59 points all season. No ne has scored more than 17 points and no one scored on them in two sectional games. Penn's offensive stars vary.

Last week, halfback Ryan Whiteman (5-10, 205) carried just four times but he gained 158 yards, including scoring runs of 58 and 69 yards. The Kingsmen scored two defensive TDs on an interception by John Paquette and a fumble recovery by Paul Maola (6-0, 200). Maola is an all-state safety who is major threat on punt returns. CP can't get put into a position where they must kick to him.

Warsaw was held to 140 total yards last week in a 40-0 loss to Penn. Valparaiso was held under 200 yards (just 22 yards rushing) in a 13-0 loss to Penn the week before. Sophomore quarterback Ryan Lynch (6-2, 187) threw just five passes last week, but he was 15 of 20 for 175 yards against Valparaiso.

The Kingsmen will run the ball behind a big offensive line, including tackles Ty McCaskill (6-6, 310) and Tate Johnson (6-4, 275) and guards Ryan Williams (6-1, 295) and Carrington Neal (6-4, 305)  and shorten the game a lot like Crown Point does.

Defensively Maola and Colin Wilson key the secondary behind tackles Peni Vakalhai (6-2, 255) and James Morris (6-0, 230). The Kingsmen use four linemen and four linebackers to force teams to the air.  There is little reason to believe this wont be a low-scoring game like last season.


Team 1 2 3 4 F
CROWN POINT (6-6) 0 0 0 0 0
Penn (12-0) 13 3 7 0 23

Friday, November 11, 2016 -  38 degrees & clear, Class 6A Regional at Osceola, Ind.

1st Qtr: PENN (0-7) Paul Maola, 45-yard interception return. Jared Hancock kick. 5:41 left.
PENN (0-13)
Landon Martz, 9-yard run. 47-yard drive, 3 plays. 1:26 min. time of possession (TOP). Kick blocked by CP's Shane McCormick. 3:43 left.
2nd Qtr: PENN (0-16) Jared Hancock, 27-yard field goal. 54-yard drive, 11 plays. 5:22 min. TOP. 6:23 left.

3rd Qtr: PENN (0-23) Matt Kominkiewicz, 23-yard pass from James Iapalucci. 58-yard drive, 6 plays. 2:20 min. TOP. Jared Hancock kick. 8:12 left.




Crown Point (20 carries, 41 yards): Ryan Bolda (QB) 9 carries, 14 yards; Tyler Gomez (TB) 10 carries, 25 yards; Griffin Govert (HB) 1 carry, 2 yards.

Penn (34 carries, 136 yards, 1 TD): Rashid Maclin (RB) 12 carries, 69 yards; James Iapalucci (QB) 7 carries, 10 yards; Landon Martz (HB) 8 carries, 37 yards; Ryan Whiteman (RB) 4 carries, 20 yards; Ryan Lynch (QB) 2 carries, 0 yards; Brock Zolman (RB) 2 carries, (-1) yards.

Crown Point: Ryan Bolda (QB) 5-23, 35 yards, 3 INTs.
Penn: James Iapalucci (QB) 9-13, 137 yards, 1 TD.

Crown Point: Tyler Jones (WR) 1-26 yards; Leo Radiceski (WR) 1-7 yards; Griffin Govert (HB) 1-2 yards; Jacob Vickery (WR) 1-3 yards.

Penn: Matt Kominkiewicz (SE) 4-53 yards, 1 TD; Zach Usenick (FL) 2-51 yards; Landon Martz (RB) 2-29 yards; Rashid Maclin (RB) 1-4 yards.

Crown Point: 0 fumbles, 3 Interceptions.
Penn: 1 fumble.


OSCEOLA (11-11-2016) Last year's regional championship game probably was not as close as the score indicated because CP fell behind by 14 in the first quarter and never really moved the ball at all. CP's only two meetings with Penn have been regional championship games at Penn. The Kingsmen running the ball kept the CP offense on the sidelines and The Penn defense intercepted then-junior CP quarterback Ryan Bolda three times. The difference was that CP won a very dramatic sectional championship game from arch-rival Merrillville the week before and may not have had a lot more to give on this night. That isn't the case this year. Penn went on to play a Semistate championship game at Carmel, losing 21-10.

(6A) Crown Point (7-4)
6-6 (2016), 1-9 (2015), 8-2 (2014), 6-4 (2013)
coach Kevin Enright (6th year) 36-28...all kickoffs at 7 p.m.
Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC) league games in CAPS

8-18 (L) 13-27 at (4A) Lowell (12-0)
8-25 (W) 35-6 (4A) Highland (3-6)
9-1 (L) 26-34 (6A) MERRILLVILLE (1-9)
9-8 (W) 45-0 (6A) at LAKE CENTRAL (2-7)
9-15 (L) 10-27 at (6A) PORTAGE (5-6)
9-22 (W) 21-6 (6A) VALPARAISO (8-2)
9-29 (W) 37-35 (6A) LaPORTE (7-4)
10-6 (W) 21-7 at (6A) CHESTERTON (3-7)
10-13 (L) 15-17 (5A) MICHIGAN CITY (8-3)

Class 6A Sectional
10-27 (W) 23-14 Merrillville (1-9)
11-3 (W) 14-7 at Portage (5-6)
11-10 (Fri) Penn (10-1)

CROWN POINT SCHEDULE:  Crown Point has played a schedule that has proven stronger as the season has gotten longer. Two teams the Bulldogs' lost to, Michigan City and Lowell, are sectional champions. CP can't see anyone in sectional play that they haven't already played during the regular season so the DAC prepared them for the sectional. The problem is: If CP wins Class 6A Sectional 1, they most likely will play Penn for the foreseeable future. Penn has won 6A Sectional 2 five years in a row now. I don't know what CP can do with their nonconference schedule in August that could prepare them to play Penn two months later.


- I just don't know. Crown Point lost tight end/place kicker Ben Fridrich and halfback Tyler Gomez to injuries last week in the 14-7 win at Portage and I do not know if they can play against Penn. Again, high schools do not have 'injury reports' and there is no advantage to CP to let it be known exactly who can play. Those around the school certainly know, but the rest of us will find out at game time.

I'm not going to tell you CP is favored to win without their tight end, their place kicker and their best halfback.

Taking over the place-kicking duties would be senior punter James Priddy who was 0-for-1 on extra points last week but is capable. The backup halfback is junior Scott Mills who has 57 rushes for 315 yards, a 5.5 yard average.

One bright spot is senior quarterback Ryan Bolda (97 of 207, 1,157 yards, 10 TDs, six interceptions) who had his best game of the season last week completing 17 of 27 for 152 yards, two TDs and no interceptions.

Wide receiver Tyler Jones caught four for 63 yards. In the last three weeks, Jones has caught 11 passes for 182 yards.

Linebacker Caden Watson had 12 tackles, a fumble recovery and two QB sacks last week. For the year, he has 22 tackles for losses. CP's defense would be fairly effective against Penn. The question is: Will they score?

1,000-yard Crown Point football running backs 1980 to present
1. Russell Chick (2007) 294 carries, 1,810 yards
2. Brian Parker (1997) 258 carries, 1,702 yards
3. Tyler Gomez (2017) 267 carries, 1,594 yards
4. Cody Bacon (2010) 252 carries, 1,497 yards
5. Jon Sertich (2006) 235 carries, 1,492 yards
6. John Young (1987) 215 carries, 1,480 yards
7. Artie Equihua (2014) 215 carries, 1,374 yards
8. Geremy Milner (1995) 226 carries, 1,059 yards
9. Donny Keiser (2005) 205 carries, 1,046 yards
10. Tristan Peterson (2012) 220 carries, 1,066 yards
11. Mark Minch (1989) 178 carries, 1,013 yards

1,000-yard Crown Point football running backs, 1980 to present - TOUCHDOWNS
1. Brian Parker (1997) 258 carries, 1,702 yards, 24 TDs
2. Russell Chick (2007) 294 carries, 1,810 yards, 21 TDs
3. John Young (1987) 215 carries, 1,480 yards, 19 TDs
4. Tyler Gomez (2017) 267 carries, 1,594 yards, 19 TDs

6A PENN (10-1) at 6A CROWN POINT (7-4)

at Crown Point Stadium - Capacity: 4,500



Crown Point defeated Valparaiso and Penn split with Valpo. But the Kingsmen have won every other game while CP has the four losses. This spread is questionable because of the two out-of-state teams Penn has played. I don't think the computer can rate them. For the record, CP was a 2-point favorite on the the computer last week and they won by seven.



CROWN POINT (11-10-2017) After a scoreless first quarter, Penn gets on the scoreboard on a short run by Ryan Whiteman. A short punt sets up Penn for a second score, a pass from Ryan Lynch to tight end Jordan Earl and a 14-0 halftime lead. Crown Point rallies with a sustained third quarter drive ending in a TD pass from Ryan Bolda to Tim Angel.

But a pass interception by Paul Maola sets up the Kingsmen for a third score, a run from Junter Whitlow.

CP isn't 100% healthy and even if they were, Penn just doesn't allow a lot of offense in the best of conditions. Crown Point has to run for 150-200 yards to win and nobody's done that on the Kingsmen.

Penn 21, CROWN POINT 7

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Revised: November 10, 2017 .