Week 2 Picks - 2016 NW Indiana High School Football

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith

August 26, 2016

Week 2 sees a lot of Northwest Indiana teams taking a long ride, none longer than Crown Point's two-hour journey to play at old-style, old school Steele Field in Mishawaka. (Photo by Mark Smith)

'Mr. Picker' WEEK-1, 2016 Football Picks in Review:
Aug. 19-20, 2016

Wrong - 5; Right - 7 = 58.3%

The Pick The Result

Penn 28, Valpo 0  

Penn 27-7

Michigan City 34, Griffith 21  

Mich. City 49-28

Lake Station 28, South Central 20  

(wrong) So. Central 16-9

Kokomo 28, Chesterton 14  

(wrong) Chesterton 14-7

East Chicago 48, Hammond 24  

East Chicago 37-12

Merrillville 24, Andrean 16  

Merrillville 35-7

LaPorte 35, New Prairie 21  

LaPorte 21-20

Rensselaer 21, KV 20  

(wrong) KV 21-14

Portage 24, Mishawaka 21  

(wrong) Mishawaka 21-7

Lake Central 29, Munster 14  

Lake Central 35-7


(wrong) CP 9-3 (2 OTs)

Whiting 42, Clark 8  

Whiting 39-6


WEEK (1) ONE (7 of 12, 58.3%)


ANALYSIS: Chesterton and Crown Point pulled off defensive-flavored wins over teams that were supposedly better offensively. Didn't see that coming. Portage over Mishawaka was a long shot upset that didn't happen. And I think Rensselaer should have beaten KV. Two fumbles cost them.

WORST PICK: Lake Station over South Central. Not even close. I was surprised.

BEST PICK: There wasn't one. None of the seven winners was anything to write home about.


'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 (2) ONE:

As always, let's leave some games out. I can't pick LC and Lincoln-Way Central without knowing anything about LWC. Illinois teams begin the season this week. Bishop Noll does not have the manpower to stay with Andrean this year and Gary West Side should not be playing Valparaiso in football any year. Calumet won't stay with Hanover Central because they can't right now. Again, the idea is not to pick obvious mismatches (at least not too many) except when there isn't an alternative.

This is a difficult week. Lots of 1-0 teams facing each other and 0-1 teams playing the home opener after a hard loss. There were definitely some bad offensive performances in week one. How can you pick Lowell and Chesterton to win after they were each held under 100 yards of total offense last week? And how do first time starting quarterbacks roll up big yardage in their first game? I'm not overly confident about any of these week two picks.

Some varsity quarterback debuts last week in the Duneland Athletic Conference:

Valpo: Jake Leffew (QB) 19 of 29, 182 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs.
Merrillville: Cam Wright (QB) 15 of 21, 262 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INTs.
LaPorte: Nolan Lorenz (QB) 3 of 6, 62 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs.
Lake Central: Zach Bundalo (QB) 11 of 15, 173 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INT
Note: Chesterton used three QBs in a 14-7 win over Kokomo. Michigan City, Crown Point and Portage all had returning QBs.

Gavit (1-0) at Whiting (1-0):

WHITING (08-26-2016)
I really thought Gavit would stay close to Whiting last year. Didn't happen. Whiting won by 34 points. Last week, Whiting won 39-6 over Clark in a game so one-sided that star QB Stuart Glascow only threw one pass. Gavit walked over Calumet 55-0 last week, but that was then and this is now. It will be closer, but the Oilers are the better team.

Whiting 28, Gavit 14

Penn (1-0) at MERRILLVILLE (1-0):

MERRILLVILLE (08-26-2016)
Last week, Merrillville rookie quarterback Cameron Wright completed 15 of 21 passes for four touchdowns in his debut as a sophomore varsity player. Is he that good? We don't have to wait to find out. Wright faces 4A No. 3 Penn, but the Kingsmen did give up 344 yards in their 27-7 win over Valpo. Are we looking at an upset here? Who is this 'we' we're talking about?


Hobart (1-0) at LaPorte (1-0):

LaPORTE (08-26-2016)
The Slicers escaped New Prairie by one point, while Hobart had a 41-6 'walkover' against Gary West Side. Hobart lost 58-31 at home last year to LaPorte. I was surprised the Slicers weren't better last week and Hobart QB Mike Wolfe (67 of 114, 1,022 yards, 11 TDs in 2015) will make this one go down to the final minute.

Hobart 28, LaPorte 26

Portage (0-1) at LOWELL (0-1):

LOWELL (08-26-2016)
Portage lost by 14 to Mishawaka last week in the home opener, while Lowell could not score a TD through two overtimes in a loss at Crown Point. I picked both sides to win, so what do I know about this one? Both sides have worked on the offense this week so there should be improvement on the scoreboard. This is Portage's first game at Lowell since the 1960s.

LOWELL 27, Portage 16

East Chicago (1-0) at (Lafayette) Jefferson (1-0):

LAFAYETTE (08-26-2016)
Here's a first-time meeting of two teams that scored a lot in week one. Jefferson running backs Latrell Brown and Brittain Chandler combined to run for five TDs last week in a 33-28 win over Twin Lakes. EC didn't face much opposition in a 37-12 home win over Hammond and I don't think they can keep up here.

Jefferson 34, East Chicago 28

Kankakee Valley (1-0) at Morton (0-1):

HAMMOND (08-26-2016)
KV won the Jasper County 'Super Bowl' 21-14 over Rensselaer last week and they travel to face a Morton team that lost 42-13 at Highland after leading 14-13 at halftime. I'm not accepting that Morton can't score. KV has to beware here. A week ago, they would not have been favored to beat the Governors. Here, they're still not.

Morton 35, KV 27

Wheeler (1-0) at Griffith (0-1):

GRIFFITH (08-26-2016)
Wheeler won this one 28-27 last season and they take on a Griffith team that lost 49-28 at Michigan City last week. Nate LaDuc ran 14 times for 150 yards, part of the Bearcats rolling up 375 yards. Griffith gave up 344 yards rushing on 53 carries. But can Wheeler do what Michigan City did? I see a Panther revival here.

Griffith 35, Wheeler 33

North Newton (1-0) at Rensselaer (0-1):

RENSSELAER (08-26-2016)
North Newton topped county rival South Newton 14-2 last week, but they walk through taller weeds this week against Rensselaer, which lost 21-14 to Kankakee Valley. I was surprised at both of those results and I'm simply going to be stubborn here. The Bombers have a 23-game winning streak over NN going back to 1992. I don't think it ends here.

Rensselaer 28, North Newton 14

Chesterton (1-0) at Munster (0-1):

MUNSTER (08-26-2016)
The Mustangs got run over by Lake Central 35-7 last week, while Chesterton gained just 89 total yards in a 14-7 win over Kokomo, so they aren't going to score anything like 35 points this week. The Trojan defense was the best in the DAC last year, and even though they graduated much of it, Chesterton intercepted four passes last week. Another close one.

Chesterton 17, Munster 14

CROWN POINT (1-0) at Mishawaka (1-0):

MISHAWAKA (08-26-2016)
Mishawaka jumped ahead 21-0 last week and held on for a 21-7 win over Portage. CP's defense held Lowell under 100 yards. The defenses are obviously superior to the offenses here. Mishawaka completed a grand total of one pass last week and I don't know how much they can score on CP.

CROWN POINT 14, Mishawaka 10

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Revised: August 26, 2016 .