Week 4 Picks - 2016 NW Indiana High School Football

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith

September 9, 2016

Most of the Northwest Crossroads Conference (NCC) teams are seeing Griffith for the last time this fall as the Panther program is moving to the Greater South Shore Conference (GSSC) in 2017. Lowell plays at Griffith this Friday night. (Photo by Mark Smith)

'Mr. Picker' WEEK-3, 2016 Football Picks in Review:
Sept. 2-3, 2016

Wrong - 3; Right - 7 = 70.0%

The Pick The Result

Rensselaer 27, North Judson 14  

Rensselaer 59-6

LOWELL 41, Kankakee Valley 14  


Lake Central 31, Portage 21  

(wrong) Portage 36-33

Chesterton 23, Michigan City 21  

(wrong) Mich. City 20-0

Hobart 28, Griffith 16  

Hobart 22-7

LaPorte 24, Valparaiso 17  

LaPorte 39-38

New Prairie 35, ANDREAN 27  

New Prairie 38-28

Highland 24, Munster 16  

(wrong) Munster 47-6



Whiting 35, BOONE GROVE 14  

Whiting 49-9

WEEK (3) ONE (7 of 10, 70.0%)
WEEK (2) ONE (7 of 10, 70.0%)
WEEK (1) ONE (7 of 12, 58.3%)
SEASON TO DATE: (21 of 32, 65.6%)


ANALYSIS: I think I've picked Portage incorrectly all three weeks so far, but this was another 'average' week.

WORST PICK: This isn't close. Highland over Munster. I talked myself into a Highland revival that was not there. Maybe some teams try gear up for the first league game at the expense of the first two weeks, huh?

BEST PICK: New Prairie over Andrean 35-27 when the final was 38-28. Almost the correct spread, but the point totals were in the 'high' neighborhood. It's time to get more than 7-out-of-10 correct, though, isn't 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 (4) FOUR:

There's still an early-season feel to the games so far and I think it's the weather. We don't know what anybody really is yet because we haven't played any games in real football weather, the conditions you'll play the sectional in. Small roster teams wear themselves down and out in 80-degree, go-to-the-beach weather. Bigger players have their endurance tested (and teams have their depth tested) in a way that it won't be tested when we get to the 50-degree nights. In a lot of ways, we haven't begun the season yet.

This line of thinking is very good for the hard running DAC teams like Portage, Michigan City and LaPorte who, I believe, will excel once the heat and humidity are gone for good. Those three teams are already 8-1 but the best may be yet to come.

But this Friday, still playing in the mid-summer breeze, passing squads like LC and Valpo still have an edge. Maybe.

Lets check out of Hanover Central (3-0) and River Forest (0-3). Also, I'll pass on Gary Roosevelt at Sycamore. And South Central (0-3) at Bishop Noll (0-3). Let's forget about Highland (2-1) at Clark (0-3). It's probably fair to say that Noll and Clark are outmanned in most games. Even if they play well, depth and manpower issues beat them. Especially in the heat wave we've been having. Morton (2-1) is too strong for Hammond (0-3) so there's no point to a score guess.

Points were 'trending' up last week with scores like 36-33, 41-28 and 38-37 in the Duneland Conference, 35-0, 38-28 and 47-6 in the Northwest Crossroads Conference. In good weather, take the 'over' again this week. You may not need 50 points to win like Notre Dame did last week, but this is another week where defense will be a 'relative' term.

Munster (1-2) at ANDREAN (1-2):

MERRILLVILLE (09-09-2016)
The 59ers have allowed almost 30 points a game and they lost 31-7 to Munster last fall. The Mustangs' two losses are to 6A Dunelenad Athletic Conference (DAC) schools. The 59ers have not been 1-3 in 20 years, but I think it can happen. Munster wins a close one here.

Munser 28, ANDREAN 27

LOWELL (1-2) at Griffith (1-2):

GRIFFITH (09-09-2016)
Final meeting of these two schools for the foreseeable future as Griffith is leaving the Northwest Crossroads Conference (NCC) to join the Greater South Shore Conference (GSSC). The Panthers have allowed 600 yards rushing in three games and Lowell scored 5 rushing TDs last week.

LOWELLL 35, Griffith 17

Wheeler (2-1) at Whiting (3-0):

MERRILLVILLE (09-09-2016)
Whiting is averaging 291 yards rushing per game and 7.2 yards per carry. Big Tommy Davenport (6-1, 233) has scored eight of the Oilers 18 touchdowns. The Bearcat wins are over River Forest (0-3) and Bishop Noll (0-3). Wheeler won 28-27 last year, Whiting's only regular season loss.

Whiting 28, Wheeler 7

Hobart (2-1) at Kankakee Valley (1-2):

DeMOTTE (09-09-2016)
I was surprised at how little KV did offensively against Lowell last week and they'll do better at home this Friday night. But all 3 KV foes have rushed for more than 200 yards so far. Hobart with be the fourth. The Brickies won this game 42-7 at home last year.

Hobart 34, KV 20

East Chicago (2-1) at Gavit (2-1):

HAMMOND (09-09-2016)
These two meet after an open date caused by scheduling mistakes. They reportedly thought about playing two weeks in a row, home-and-home to fill that hole, but EC and Gavit are also in the same sectional so that idea was scrapped. EC only plays two home games all season. The Cards home opener isn't until next week.

East Chicago 35, Gavit 28

Lake Station (1-2) at Boone Grove (1-2):

PORTER TOWNSHIP (09-09-2016)
Both teams are having trouble scoring. Boone (12.3 per game) won this match 40-0 last fall and they should do it again, but Lake Station (16.7 per game) will close the margin of victory. After the Whiting game next week, Lake Station just (20-95 the last 11 years) may find some wins in the second half of the schedule. The Eagles have not landed yet, though.

Boone Grove 28, Lake Station 8

Valpo (1-2) at Michigan City (3-0):

MICHIGAN CITY (09-09-2016)
Big 'city' nights have been the story early in the 2016 season as the Wolves are 3-0 for the first time since 2009 with two shutouts in a row. But Valpo QB Jake Leffew is 37 of 56 for 496 yards, 4 TDs and no interceptions. The Vikings have lost only to Penn (3-0) and LaPorte (3-0). MC's Markice Hurt (58 for 385 yards) and Aryuan Cain-Veasey (35 carries, 278 yards) keep the ball on the ground, but that may not be enough here. Nobody's shutting anybody out here.

Valparaiso 31, Michigan City 28

Chesterton (2-1) at LaPorte (3-0):

LaPORTE (09-09-2016)
Chesterton just has trouble scoring. Only 39 points in two games. LaPorte has averaged 29 points and 267 yards rushing per game. LaPorte's Nolan Lorenz is 13 of 19 for 226 yards and no interceptions. You need to stay conservative against Chesterton and force them to convert long sustained drives. They have not been able to do that. This has to be a low-scoring game.

LaPorte 20, Chesterton 14

Lake Central (1-2) at CROWN POINT (1-2):

CROWN POINT (09-09-2016)
LC's Zach Bundalo is 35 of 55 for 438 yards while CP's Zach Stewart has four interceptions in three games. That's a big matchup for this Friday. CP could have been 3-0 so far, losing 10-6 at Mishawaka and losing a 14-0 lead (and a 28-21 4th quarter lead) at Merrillville. But LC SHOULD be 3-0. They had fourth quarter leads on Illinois power Lincoln-Way Central (2-0) and Portage (1-2).

Lake Central 35, CROWN POINT 21

MERRILLVILLE (2-1) at Portage (2-1):

PORTAGE (09-09-2016)
The best game of the week, and in the DAC this year, that's saying something. Pirate soph QB Cam Wright is 43 of 76 for 656 yards, 8 TDs and 6 interceptions. But Portage has come-from-behind to win two weeks in a row with Anthony Maceo, who ran 22 times for 171 yards last week in a 36-33 win over Lake Central. This should be another high-scoring game for Portage, but the Indians don't throw well enough to stay with Merrillville. Cam lost Thursday night, but he'll be on the winning side Friday.

MERRILLVILLE 35, Portage 28

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Revised: September 09, 2016 .