Week 3 Picks - 2016 NW Indiana High School Football

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith

September 2, 2016

Highland hasn't been 3-0 since 2001. But the 'school town' will be the football town Friday night if Highland (2-0) defeats arch rival Munster (0-2). (Photo by Mark Smith)

'Mr. Picker' WEEK-2, 2016 Football Picks in Review:
Aug. 26-27, 2016

Wrong - 3; Right - 7 = 70.0%

The Pick The Result

Whiting 28, Gavit 14  

Whiting 36-26

Penn 27, MERRILLVILLE 20  

Penn 35-2

Hobart 28, LaPorte 26  

(wrong) Hobart 27-10

LOWELL 27, Portage 16  

(wrong) Portage 28-27

Jefferson 34, East Chicago 28  

Jefferson 20-18

Morton 35, KV 27  

Morton 26-24

Griffith 35, Wheeler 33  

Griffith 48-14

Rensselaer 28, North Newton 14  

Rensselaer 21-7

Chesterton 17, Munster 14  

Chesterton 25-22

CROWN POINT 14, Mishawaka 10  

(wrong) Mishawaka 10-6

WEEK (2) ONE (7 of 10, 70.0%)
WEEK (1) ONE (7 of 12, 58.3%)
SEASON TO DATE: (14 of 22, 63.6%)


ANALYSIS: Crown Point and Lowell let me down in 'Picker Town' ....losing games they should have won. I've been high on LaPorte so far this year but I didnt pick them last week and paid the price.

WORST PICK: Hobart over LaPorte. It was me talking up laPorte in the first two polls.
Talking about how good and consistent that offense can be. And then I don't pick 'em? Like pretend presidential candidate Herman Cain used to say: "Blame yourself." I don't know what I was thinking.

BEST PICK: Chesterton over Munster by 3 points. Didn't get the score exact, but the spread was on the money. Rensselaer over North Newton by two TDs. Same story. Not the exact score, but the exact margin of victory. Worthy of 'Mr. Picker.'


'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 (3) THREE:

Here comes league play and I would hope a little more scoring. Maybe I'm just watching Crown Point and Lowell too much, but scoring seems to be a little light early in the 2016 season. Griffith has 76 Points in two games, Gavit has 81, New Prairie is in with 69 points and Highland has 65.

But perennially high scoring Morton is averaging 19.5 per game and so is Chesterton. Munster is at 14.5. Hammond has only scored 18 points all season. West Side has only scored six points in eight quarters.

Lowell has scored just 30 points and the defense has put 12 of those on the board. Crown Point has posted a grand total of 15 points and they've had chances to win both games. I don't know how much coaches prepare for league games at the expense of the August nonconference exercises. I do wonder if teams stay basic offensively until league play begins. Both those factors could keep scoring down. Of course Lafayette Catholic has scored 104 points in two games, so maybe its more players than preparation.

I'm not going to pick Calumet (0-2) and South Central (2-0). You can. I won't. Gary West Side should not be playing Chicago's Mount Carmel. The final score will explain why. Hammond at Homewood-Flossmoor will be even worse. I guarantee Morton will roll over Clark. And Noll (0-2) isn't going to beat Wheeler. I don't know why, but East Chicago and Gavit don't play this week, according to the schedules I'm looking at. They'll meet on September 9.

The only thing I know about Bowman at Indianapolis Howe and Roosevelt at LaPorte LaLumiere is that all the boys will stand for the national anthem. Like they will at every other game.

North Judson (1-1) at Rensselaer (1-1):

RENSSELAER (09-02-2016)
Judson comes off a 17-6 win over Caston while Rensselaer topped North Newton 21-7 last Friday. The Bombers rushed for 204 yards on 27 carries against KV and 237 yards on 53 carries last week against North Newton. Austin Becker (5-9, 190) has 108 yards and 3 TDs on 27 carries. He's the frequent flier in the Bombers double tight end, three-back attack. I'm seeing Rensselaer has lost three fumbles in two games. That's the only way they lose here. They should get another 200-250 on the ground. Judson and Rensselaer have met every year since 1964.

Rensselaer 27, North Judson 14

Kankakee Valley (1-1) at LOWELL (0-2):

LOWELL (09-02-2016)
Lowell has lost 9-3 in 2 overtimes and 28-27, so they are not happy with how this season is going. KV looks a lot different on offense with junior QB Nick Schoonveld (12 of 25, 266 yards, 3 TDs, one interception) but Lowell is strong in the secondary. This is a bad matchup for KV and the Kougars may be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

LOWELL 41, Kankakee Valley 14

Lake Central (1-1) at Portage (1-1):

PORTAGE (09-02-2016)
Portage rallied from a 27-18 fourth quarter deficit to win at Lowell and their defense is active. But Lake Central and new QB Zack Bundalo (20 of 33, 288 yards, 3 TDs, one INT) have moved the ball well early. Portage eliminated LC in last year's playoffs, but this game is in Portage.

Lake Central 31, Portage 21

Michigan City (2-0) at Chesterton (2-0):

CHESTERTON (09-02-2016) Michigan City's running attack meets Chesterton's defense in the Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC) opener. The kid with the most unusual name in NW Indiana, Chersteron QB Lyric McFarrin ran 12 times for 111 yards and completed 4 of 6 passes for 132 yards. Michigan City has run hard over Griffith 49-28 and Northridge 37-0. But this is a step up, especially on defense.

Chesterton 23, Michigan City 21

Griffith (1-1) at Hobart (1-1):

HOBART (09-02-2016)
Okay. Okay. I did pick Hobart to win last week against LaPorte and they got stomped. But I'm going there again. I thought Griffith got run down at the line of scrimmage against Michigan City and that could happen here. The Brickies gave up 347 yards rushing to LaPorte, but they'll do better here and against a smaller team from a smaller school.

Hobart 28, Griffith 16

LaPorte (2-0) at Valparaiso (1-1):

VALPO (09-02-2016)
We know nothing for sure about Valparaiso. They lost big to Penn, which they should have. The Vikings then rolled over Gary West Side, which they should have. The Slicers, who gained 347 yards rushing last week, will run fullback Brennan Long (23 carries, 176 yards, 4 TDs). They've thrown only nine passes in two games. New Valpo QB Jake Leffew (22 of 34, 254 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs) is a productive passer. I like the way LaPorte controls the ball.

LaPorte 24, Valparaiso 17

ANDREAN (1-1) at New Prairie (1-1):

NEW CARLISLE (09-02-2016)
Both teams won easily last week after losing in week one. Garrett Ruiz has 27 carries for 217 yards. Junior Nick Wilson has 43 carries for 147 yards. It doesn't look like NP has settled on their quarterback. Andrean is fine with Patrick Reardon, a run-pass double threat the likes of which the Cougars have not seen in two games. New Prairie has never defeated Andrean, but that won't be the case late Friday.

New Prairie 35, ANDREAN 27

Munster (0-2) at Highland (2-0):

HIGHLAND (09-02-2016)
One of the top games this week as Munster has lost to unbeaten Chesterton (2-0) and powerful Lake Central (1-1). Highland has topped Morton (1-1) and Hammond (0-2). Highland hasn't beaten Munster since 2005 and and Highland hasn't been 3-0 since the dawn of mankind (actually 2001). Highland has allowed just 19 points in two games. They are big and physical. The big news Saturday morning will be Highland over Munster.

Highland 24, Munster 16


MERRILLVILLE (09-02-2016)
The Pirates were held to two points last week. CP managed just six points. The Bulldogs have 28 first downs in two games and just two touchdowns. Rookie Pirate QB Cam Wright has thrown 43 passes in two games so they clearly have confidence in him. CP has kicking issues that will make it tough to win if this game is close. And Merrillville vs. Crown Point is usually close.


Whiting (2-0) at BOONE GROVE (1-1):

VALPO (09-03-2016)
A Saturday special. Boone lost 33-6 to Wabash, but Wabash is 2-0. I think they have a chance here if they can run the ball and shorten this game. And Whiting, which has topped Boone two years in a row, has scored five TDs in both games so far. I don't think Boone can run on Whiting. Here comes five more TDs.

Whiting 35, BOONE GROVE 14

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Revised: September 02, 2016 .