Week 4 - Football Game of the Week Preview

Crown Point (1-2) at Lake Central (1-2)

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith


Get there for the sunset and stay for the game. Next door neighbors Lake Central and Crown Point battle in the setting sun Friday night in St. John.
(Photo by Mark Smith)

When: Friday, September 8, 2017;  Kick-off:  7:00 p.m.

Where: Lake Central High School, 8400 Wicker Avenue | Saint John, IN 46373.  Approx. 1.6-miles south of US Rt. 30 and US Rt. 41.


TV/Radio/Internet: No over-the air radio. Live updates of all local scores all night on WLPR (89.1) FM. Live Internet audio stream on www.USA-365.com.

Enrollment: Crown Point - 2,815; Lake Central: 3,236.

WEATHER: Football weather continues. 60s at sunset ... upper-50s late in the game. Fans need a jacket. Players just need to show up. This is good weather to play in.


PARKING: Lake Central's renovation is over and there's a lot more parking than there used to be. With that said, arrive early. These are two large schools and, with the good weather, a lot of people are coming to this game. CP people probably want to park in front of the school. There's plenty of room behind the school, but it's hard to get out on US 41 after the game if you are behind the building.


WHAT's AT STAKE: Both teams lost their opening game in the Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC), so to have any hope of finishing first this season, both sides need to win this game. Beyond that, Lake Central won decisively over Munster and since then, they have been blown out. The Indians are in a different mental place than CP, which played fairly well in both games they lost. Lake Central needs to, at least, play well Friday or there may be a crisis of confidence going forward.


The HISTORY: St. John had 1,700 residents in 1970. They have 17,000 now. Much like Dyer and Schererville, the other two towns that feed Lake Central high school, St. John just seemed like a nice place to people moving south out of North Lake County or south suburban Chicago.

Next time you hear someone project how a school district will grow or shrink remember Lake Central, which had 2,100 students in 1986 and was considered to have maxed out. LC is a far bigger school than anyone thought it would be in the mid-80s and they have finally caught up physically.

The renovation which gave them new football, baseball, softball and basketball facilities has been completed and LC is the equal of any school in this part of the state.

(6A) Lake Central (1-2)
4-6 (2016), 5-5 (2015), 9-2 (2014), 9-3, (2013)
coach Tony Bartolomeo (2-4) 2nd year; All kickoffs at 7 p.m.
Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC) league games in CAPS
8-18 (W) 35-7 at Munster (1-2)
8-25 (L) 0-41 at 8A (New Lenox, Ill.) Lincoln Way Central (2-0).
9-1 (L) 14-40 6A PORTAGE (1-2)
9-8 (F) 6A CROWN POINT (1-2)
9-15 (F) at 5A LaPORTE (1-2)
9-22 (F) 5A MICHIGAN CITY (1-2)
9-29 (F) at 6A CHESTERTON (2-1)
10-6 (F) MERRILLVILLE (1-2)
10-13 (F) VALPARAISO (3-0)

Class 6A Sectional

...with CP, Portage and Merrillville

LC SCHEDULE - DAC teams don't have much choice in the schedule they play. You have seven league games and most schools play a rival and a challenge. LC takes on next door neighbor Munster and then Lincoln-Way Central, an Illinois power. It probably should be mentioned that, with an enrollment of over 3,200, most schools won't play LC. Teams like East Chicago don't want to get beat up by LC's numbers. As much as I would like to see Andrean play Lake Central (and as many people as it would draw), it's not a good idea for the 59ers. LC should keep playing Lincoln-Way Central.



LC quarterback Zach Bundalo is 28 of 56 for 424 yards, six TDs and three interceptions. Pretty good. Josh Williams (5-10, 215) has carried the ball 51 times for 237 yards. That's good, too. How about receiveing? Little Giovanni Lopez (5-10, 160) has six catches for 232 yards and three TDs. Outstanding.

So why are they getting crushed? The defense has been run over. Despite big linebacker Jackson Long (6-0, 223), who has 18 solo tackles in six games, LC has given up 700 yards rushing. Last week Portage rolled up 276 yards on 29 carries. Lincoln-Way Central harvested 324 yards rushing on LC.

That's the story of this Friday's game. Crown Point is averaging over 200 yards rushing a game. Can LC stop CP running the football? They can't win if they don't.

(6A) Crown Point (1-2)
6-6 (2016), 1-9 (2015), 8-2 (2014), 6-4 (2013)
coach Kevin Enright (6th year) 30-26...all kickoffs at 7 p.m....
Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC) league games in CAPS

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

Class 6A Sectional

...with Merrillville, Portage and CP

CROWN POINT - Crown Point's schedule seems back-loaded now with the final four games bringing some real heat. This is the stay-at-home schedule for the Bulldogs. Road games at nearby LC and Lowell and the two LaPorte county teams have to travel to CP. After next week's game at Portage, Crown Point will have three of the final four at home. It's all you can ask for.



- You guys probably know that I get weekly statistics from Crown Point and coach Kevin Enright. Win or lose. I can count on them. And I go over the official stats to see if the game I saw matches the numbers on the pages.

From a numbers standpoint, I have no idea how Crown Point lost last Friday. And I can't tell you why they're 1-2. The Bulldogs out-gained Merrillville 445-276 last week. CP had more rushing yards 251-189. More first downs: 15-8. More offensive plays: 66-43.

For the season, Crown Point has averaged 352 yards a game and allowed 201. You can't keep losing with numbers like that.

But the Bulldogs are 1-2 and a lot of it is 21 penalties, many of which have turned 3rd-and-short situations into 3rd and long.

Tyler Gomez has run 63 times for 295 yards and four TDs. QB Ryan Bolda is 32 of 72 for 454 yards, three TDs and three interceptions. Senior receiver Eric Mahaffey, who never caught a pass his first three years, has 11 catches for 166 yards. Junior Brett Schoettle has 10 catches for 124 yards.

Defensively, CP has allowed just 604 yards in three games. They've given up 10 TDs, but the defense has allowed just seven of them.

I'll say it again. If the numbers don't support your winning games, you won't be winning much longer. If the numbers say you should be winning, however, you soon will be.

CROWN POINT (1-2, 0-1 DAC) at LAKE CENTRAL (1-2, 0-1 DAC)
at Lake Central Stadium - capacity: 5,000

Sagarin computer ratings: 
Lake Central by 3.

ST. JOHN - These teams are close, but I don't know how LC is a favorite after they got rolled over last week. Crown Point lost at home by eight and the fact that they outgained Merrillville significantly isn't considered in computer ratings. Both teams are 1-2 and I'm guessing the fact that LC dominated a better school (Munster) than Crown Point dominated (Highland) is why the Indians are a slim favorite Friday.


ST. JOHN (09-08-2017) I see a high-scoring game. Crown Point will score on a long drive early, with Tyler Gomez scoring again. An LC fumble will set up a short run by Scott Mills for a 14-0 Crown Point lead.

Zach Bundalo hits Giovanni Lopez for a long gainer and 14-7 deficit at the half. Crown Point's Ryan Bolda hits Brett Schoette for a long score and it's 20-7 early in the third period. LC breaks through with a long run by the QB Bundalo, cutting the lead to 20-14. CP's defense gets an interception from Sam Krutz and a short TD by Gomez rebuilds the lead to 27-14.

LC's Bundalo will throw 30 times and his second TD cuts the lead to 27-20, but it's time for a kickoff return TD and Tyler Jones runs for the border and the Bulldogs lead 34-20. LC pushes the ball down the field for Bundalo's third TD pass, but time runs out before the home team gets the ball with a chance to tie.

Lake Central isn't as bad as they have looked the last two weeks, but CP runs the ball well and LC doesn't stop the run.

The Bulldogs get back on the winning track.


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Revised: September 08, 2017.