Week 14 Picks - 2016 NW Indiana High School Football

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith

November 18, 2016

Everybody has to be ready for the semistate game in the Indiana state tournament. Whiting and Lowell will host semistate football games Friday night with the winners advancing to the state championships over the Thanksgiving weekend. (Photo by Mark Smith)

'Mr. Picker' WEEK-13, 2016 Football Picks in Review:
Nov. 11-12, 2016

Wrong - 4; Right - 8 = 66.7%

The Pick The Result

Adams Central 35, Southwood 20  

Adams Central 23-7

Lafayette Catholic 35, Pioneer 14  

(wrong) Pioneer 28-27

Eastbrook 28, South Adams 14  

Eastbrook 28-21

Whiting 21, Winamac 7  

Whiting 55-14

Concordia 35, West Lafayette 34  

Concordia 62-27

Marian 35, Garret 14  

(wrong) Garrett 31-28

New Haven 28, Northwood 21  

(wrong) Northwood 52-28

LOWELL 31, Hobart 14  

LOWELL 44-23

Westfield 34, Kokomo 12  

Westfield 45-7

Snider 34, Mishawaka 31  

Snider 31-7

Homestead 28, Carmel 20  

(wrong) Carmel 42-7

Penn 14, CROWN POINT 9  

Penn 23-0


WEEK (13) THIRTEEN (8 of 12, 66.7%)
WEEK (12) TWELVE (9 of 12, 75.0%)
WEEK (11) ELEVEN (13 of 16, 81.4%)
WEEK (10) TEN (19 of 20, 95.0%)
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%)
PLAYOFFS: (49 of 60, 81.8%)
SEASON TO DATE: (108 of 152, 71.4%)

ANALYSIS: How did Garrett beat Marian? If that game was played again, I'd still pick Marian. And Pioneer topped Lafayette Catholic. No way to predict that. But it's not smart to pick against Carmel no matter how the game seems to match up.

WORST PICK: Homestead over Carmel by eight when Carmel won 42-7. Come on. That pick made no sense. The Northwood-New Haven game broke down in a way I didn't foresee at all and then New Haven lost their top running back.

BEST PICK: None. None of the picks were close enough to brag about. And 8 of 12 isn't a passing grade either, is it?


'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 (14) FOURTEEN:

The semsitate level of the Indiana state tournament is always deceptive. There's a tendency to pick all home teams because it's so difficult to travel a great distance and win on the road on a Friday night. This year, the weather is a major issue. In many parts of the state (but not all) there is supposed to be a cold wave moving in late in the day Friday with a significant temperature drop and high winds. Teams that got here throwing the ball might not be able to make that work when they need it most.

By mid-November, I suspect everyone still involved in football is a little tired. Worn down and beat up. But I'd guess that when the day comes, it feels like a holiday. Semistate football is the day you've pointed to all year. And even after 13 weeks, you feel like you can do anything one more time. I'd like teams that project to play in the Saturday state finals over the Thanksgiving weekend to play their semistate games on Saturday, but Indiana high school coaches do not like to play on Saturday (just ask them) and everybody is playing this Friday night.

Home teams usually win at the semistate level, especially where lots of travel is involved. But anything can happen. The Indiana state tournament has the longest postseason of any level of football that I have ever heard of.


(1A) Indianapolis Lutheran (10-3) at No. 2 Linton-Stockton (13-0):

LINTON (11-18-2016)
Linton's Tyler Meuer (5-6, 175) has run for 25 touchdowns for the second year in a row, but Lutheran is unbeaten against 1A schools and has scored 202 points in four playoff wins. Linton is 64-6 the last five years. These two schools have never met, but I think Linton has played the tougher schedule.

Linton Stockton 35, Lutheran 20

(1A) No. 3 Pioneer (13-0) at No. 6 Adams Central (12-1):

MONROE (11-18-2016)
Jack Kiser has run for 31 TDs for Pioneer and he scored four in the 28-27 upset of Lafayette Catholic last week. Adams Central is 23-3 the last two years with two losses to No. 1 Woodlan. These two haven't met in 19 years. I don't know if Pioneer can win a big one again after knocking out favored Lafayette Catholic.

Adams Central 34, Pioneer 20

(2A) Monrovia (9-4) at (Indianapolis) Cardinal Ritter (9-4):
INDIANAPOLIS (11-18-2016)
Monrovia is the defendng state champ, but they've lost to 1A semistate finalist Linton (13-0), Lutheran (10-3), Scecina (8-3) and Beech Grove (7-3). Ritter was 1-4 and is now 9-4. They lost to three other Indy private schools and Monrovia 18-17 in the season opener. If weather is an issue, Monrovia has thrown only 56 passes all year. Monrovia's Dalton Smith (6-0, 185) ran for 1,646 yards last year and he's at 1,332 after 13 games. Ritter's Avey Hall (5-11, 215) has run for 1,800 yards. But they have 20 turnovers.

Monrovia 28, Ritter 20

(2A) No. 3 Eastbrook (12-1) at No. 2 WHITING (12-1):

WHITING (11-18-2016)
Whiting won last week without throwing a pass and that may be the way to go when the high winds move in Friday. Whiting has only lost to 3A Hanover (10-1). Eastbrook has lost only to 4A Mississinewa (10-1). Eastbrook lives on the ground with a reported 4,852 yards and 71 TDs rushing. Those numbers are a little hard to believe, but here's another tough call. Two schools that have never met.

Whiting 20, Eastbrook 14

(3A) No. 9 Brownstown Central (13-0) at Lawrenceburg (12-1):

LAWRENCEBURG (11-18-2016)
Okay, where is Lawrenceburg? And who is Austin Bowling (6-0, 220)? Unless I'm reading this wrong, Bowling has scored 49 touchdowns with 326 carries for 2,814 yards. Seriously? Only nine players in state history have rushed for 3,000 yards in the same season. Junior Lawrenceburg linebacker Mason Parris (6-0, 220) has made 132 tackles including 21 quarterback sacks. Both on the same team? What does Brownstown do about them? I'm not sure.

Lawrenceburg 28, Brownstown 21

(3A) No. 7 (Fort Wayne) Concordia (11-2) at Garrett (12-1):

GARRETT (11-18-2016)
Concordia averages 41 points a game and they have rolled over perennial powers Bishop Luers and West Lafayette 45-22 and 62-27. But Garrett has upset perennial powers Jimtown 29-26 and Mishawaka Marian 31-28. Concordia's Peter Morrion has thrown for 3,300 yards and 41 TDs, but can he do it in the wind? I've picked unranked Garrett to lose two weeks in a row and I haven't learned my lesson. I don't know how they're still here.

Concordia 31, Garrett 14

No. 1 (Indianapolis) Roncalli (13-0) at No. 7 East Central (11-2):

(4A) MONROE (11-18-2016)
East Central lost the state championship game last year to Bishop Dwenger, so they are motivated to get back. But they lost 31-10 to Roncalli last season and Roncalli has faced three 5A schools and two 6A schools. Roncalli is a charter member of the Indianapolis area Catholic school football mafia. They have won eight state titles. And it rarely works to pick against them late in the tournament.

Roncalli 27, East Central 12

No. 2 Northwood (13-0) at LOWELL (9-4):

(4A) LOWELL (11-18-2016)
Here is the game the weather may affect the most. Northwood's Trey Billinski has thrown for 38 TDs and the Panthers have scored 50 points or more eight times. But 20-to-30 mile-an-hour winds are expected in Lowell where the Devils have won seven in a row after a 2-4 start. Lowell has run for 3,000 yards and 45 touchdowns. On a cold, windy night, this one breaks for Lowell.

LOWELL 42, Northwood 28

No. 4 Columbus East (13-0) at No. 3 Bloomington South (11-1):

(5A) BLOOMINGTON (11-18-2016)
Quarterback Gavin Yeskie has thrown for 28 TDs for Bloomington, but Columbus East has 74 rushing touchdowns, 36 by junior Damon Hogan (5-8, 160), who has carried 216 times for 1,994 yards. 74 touchdowns? Really? If it's as wet and windy in Bloomington as it will be up north (and it is predicted to be), you better bet on the running team.

Bloomington South 28, Columbus East 20.

No. 1 (Fort Wayne) Snider (13-0) at No. 5 Westfield (11-1):
(5A) WESTFIELD (11-18-2016)
Westfield is deceptive. They've lost two games by one point each time. But Snider isn't deceptive. They are the defending state champions and they've won 19 games in a row. You might remember that Snider won the state title game 64-61 last year and they average 44 points a game this fall. Don't bet against the 'Money Mann' Snider' halfback Money Woods, who has 1,100 yards rushing and 18 TDs and Snider's Austin Hippenhammer is a Division 1 wide receiver. But that may not factor in on this wind swept night. Westfield's schedule may have been tougher.

Westfield 27, Snider 20

No. 3 Center Grove (13-0) at No. 4 Ben Davis (12-1):

(6A) INDIANAPOLIS (11-18-2016)
There's no north and south here. There are very few 6A schools south of Indianapolis. The late round playoff games tend to be rematches. Ben Davis has averaged 52 points a game in the post-season, but Center Grove has Division I running back Russ Yeast who averages six yards a carry and 20 yards a catch. He carried 24 times for 193 yards in an earlier 20-7 win over Ben Davis. There's no suspense here. These teams meet every year. CG is the defending 6A champ, but Ben Davis is averaging 52 points a game in the post-season. I don't have a solid reason why Center Grove won't repeat their earlier win.

Center Grove 28, Ben Davis 21

No. 2 Penn (12-0) at No. 7 Carmel (8-4):

(6A) CARMEL (11-18-2016)
A tough task for defense-oriented Penn, which has allowed 8.7 points per game. Carmel was 4-4 and has won four in a row against an elite schedule. Jalen Walker has 61 catches for 760 yards and 14 TDs, but when the wind is high, how much can he contribute? Penn beat Carmel 16-10 last year and I don't see this one much differently. Penn's defense and special teams has dominated everyone, and on a bad weather night, they could be even better.

Penn 20, Carmel 13

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Revised: November 18, 2016 .