Week 5 Picks - 2016 NW Indiana High School Football

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith

September 16, 2016

Class 2A No.1 Whiting looks to finish the first half of the season undefeated if they can top Lake Station Friday night. (Photo by Mark Smith)

'Mr. Picker' WEEK-3, 2016 Football Picks in Review:
Sept. 9-10, 2016

Wrong - 3; Right - 7 = 70.0%

The Pick The Result

Munster 28, ANDREAN 27  

Munster 21-13

LOWELL 35, Griffith 17  

(wrong) Griffith 17-9

Whiting 28, Wheeler 7  

Whiting 31-14

Hobart 34, KV 20  

Hobart 27-7

East Chicago 35, Gavit 28  

East Chicago 35-28

Boone Grove 28, Lake Station 8  

(wrong) Lake Station 28-7

Valparaiso 31, Michigan City 28  

Valparaiso 29-0

LaPorte 20, Chesterton 14  

LaPorte 49-14

Lake Central 35, CROWN POINT 21  

(wrong) CP 17-3

MERRILLVILLE 35, Portage 28  


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%)
SEASON TO DATE: (28 of 42, 66.6%)


ANALYSIS: I thought I'd do better. Lake Station pulled off a major upset, as did Griffith. Considering the off-the-field events of the last week, I don't know if CP over LC was an upset.

WORST PICK: Lake Central over CP. The Indians scored 3 points after I picked them to score 35. The rain had something to do with it, but not 32 points worth.

BEST PICK: Obviously, the East Chicago 35-28 pick which was the final score. That's why you pick a score. It shouldn't be that hard to occasionally pick the exact correct score.


'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 (5) FIVE:

It's rare when a coach steps down at midseason and I don't know exactly why Brett St. Germain left Lake Central's varsity coaching spot this last week. It was reportedly his decision, but I have no idea why he did this. Former LC athletic director Tony Bartolomeo, who was the LC offensive coordinator, is now the head coach. Bartolomeo, a star Merrillville running back of another era, has been coaching the team all season so he'll do fine.

Lake Central has been struggling badly, losing all the close games. But I think they are certainly not a bad team. If LC suddenly rebounds, as I think is inevitable, it will look as if the coaching change gave the team 'new life.' The truth is almost certainly much more complicated than that.

For week five, there are very few games that don't seem equal. We have two battles of winless teams and four more good matchups in the Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC). Let's leave out East Chicago (2-1) and Clark (0-4) and I'll pass on Calumet (1-3) at Bishop Noll (0-4). I have doubts that Noll and Clark, which are very short on players, will win any games during the regular season. Clark, which has lost 16 games in a row, and Noll, which has lost 18 in a row, do not meet. Clark is a 4A school. They have no chance to beat anyone in 4A Sectional 17. Noll, could. Noll has a real chance to win at River Forest in two weeks and they could draw RF again in 2A Sectional 33. No shame in being shorthanded, but unlike baseball, where you could win with just nine and basketball, where you can win with only five boys, football is not a sport you can win when you only have a few players over the on-field requirement of 11. You can't win high school varsity games with just 20 healthy players.

Let's leave out Hanover (4-0) and Boone Grove (1-3) and I'll also pass on River Forest (0-4) and South Central (3-1). Since the Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) allows everyone one playoff game, all Indiana schools are guaranteed 10 games. So the end of play Saturday is the halfway mark of the season.

Wheeler (2-2) at North Newton (3-1):

MOROCCO (09-16-2016)
North Newton's record is deceptive. They have defeated River Forest (0-4), Calumet (1-3) and South Newton (0-4). Now Wheeler has topped just RF (0-4) and Bishop Noll (0-4). But they have lost to Griffith (2-2) and Whiting (4-0). Losing to a good team is better than beating a bad one.

Wheeler 21, North Newton 14

Whiting (4-0) at Lake Station (2-2):

LAKE STATION (09-16-2016)
This could be exciting early as the Eagles will have the home crowd behind them after their 28-7 road win at Boone Grove last week. Does everybody understand that, in their last 52 games, Whiting is 46-6? Whiting averages 293 yards rushing a game. 230-pound fullback Tommy "TD" Davenport has 37 carries and seven touchdowns. Lake Station won't be able to stop them for four quarters, but if they don't get injured or discouraged on this night, the Eagles could go on a roll in their final four games.

Whiting 35, Lake Station 14

Morton (3-1) at Munster (2-2):

MUNSTER (09-16-2016)
The Mustangs step out of the Northwest Crossroads Conference (NCC) for a night to take on Morton, which has won three in a row. Munster gave up 337 yards rushing on 37 carries at Andrean last week, but Morton survived three turnovers and eight penalties in a 20-6 rainy day win over Hammond. It may rain again. But if not, warm up the scoreboard.

Munster 34, Morton 27

ANDREAN (1-3) at Hobart (3-1):

HOBART (09-16-2016)
The Brickies got 181 yards on 24 carries from big Nick Ray last week in a 27-7 victory over Kankakee Valley. But who is Teely Rhine (6-0, 150) and how did he run for 216 yards on 32 carries last week against Munster? So it's Rhine (69 carries, 413 yards) vs. Ray (70 carries, 500 yards) in what should be an offensive showcase including Hobart QB Mickey Wolfe (27 of 48, 566 yards) and 59er QB Patrick Reardon (31 of 70, 327 yards).

Hobart 35, ANDREAN 34

LOWELL (1-3) at Highland (3-1):

HIGHLAND (09-16-2016)
I don't know why Lowell can't score; just 74 points all year. Some of it's the defense they're playing. Some of it's them. But Highland has only defeated Clark (0-4), and Hammond (0-4) and Morton (3-1). This game will be about running, running and more running. The Lowell defense has allowed only five touchdowns and no passing TDs. Ten points have beaten the Devils in two different games this year. Can it happen again? I don't think so.

LOWELL 14, Highland 10

West Lafayette (3-1) at Rensselaer (3-1):

RENSSELAER (09-16-2016)
The Bombers need a way to slow down West Lafayette all-state QB Mikey Kidwell (67 of 127, 1,003 yards, 13 TDs, 4 INTs), but West Lafayette has to figure out just who Braden Wright (26 carries, 204 yards, 7.8 yards per carry) and Jordan Owens (31 carries, 283 yards, 9.1 yards per carry) and Anthony Ybarra (11 carries, 116 yards, 10,.4 per carry) are. And where they are on every play. The Bombers average 272 yards rushing per game. These two will score more in the first quarter than Lowell and Highland will all night.

West Lafayette 42, Rensselaer 28

Chesterton (2-2) at Valparaiso (2-2):
VALPO (09-16-2016)
The Vikings rolled over Michigan City 29-0 last week while Chesterton lost 49-14 at LaPorte. Valparaiso has that loss to Penn (4-0) and a one-point loss to LaPorte (4-0).
The Vikings may just be getting started. The Trojans have scored just 53 points all season and I don't think there's any way they can hold Valpo to less than 20. Here's a game the weather could flip. An upset is possible if it rains, but on dry land the Vikings win decisively.

Valparaiso 31, Chesterton 13

Michigan City (3-1) at MERRILLVILLE (3-1):

MERRILLVILLE (09-16-2016)
The Pirates have lost only to Penn (4-0), but Michigan City lost 29-0 last week to Valparaiso. The Wolves can run it, but to the tune of 200 yards a game. But Merrillville has the double threat of halfback Davion Ervin-Poindexter (83 carries, 404 yards) and quarterback Cam Wright (48 of 90, 685 yards, 8 TDs) throwing to James Kirklen (14 catches, 300 yards and Kejuan Thomas (19 catches, 235 yards).

MERRILLVILLE 34, Michigan City 21

Portage (2-2) at CROWN POINT (2-2):

CROWN POINT (09-16-2016)
Both teams will stay close to the ground in this DAC battle to stay in the race for first place. Portage option QB Anthony Maceo has carried the ball 89 times (for 449 yards) in four games. CP only threw 11 passes last week in the 17-3 win over Lake Central. The Bulldog defense has allowed 57 points all season and 41 of them came against Merrillville. Here's another run vs. run battle that won't take very long.

CROWN POINT 20, Portage 14

LaPorte (4-0) at LAKE CENTRAL (1-3):

ST JOHN (09-16-2016)
LaPorte has run hard all night with 1,209 yards on 193 attempts in four games. QB Nolan Lorenz has 215 yards on 33 carries and he is 15 of 21 passing for 266 more yards. LaPorte has just four turnovers all season. With the coaching change, there's no way to predict how LC will play. But I will anyway. At the start of the season, I would have picked LC at home to beat LaPorte. If the rain holds off, Lake Central can throw and run with halfback Anthony Giles (57 carries, 508 yards). LaPorte has allowed 769 yards rushing in four games. I still think LC is the better team.

LAKE CENTRAL 27, LaPorte 21

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Revised: September 16, 2016 .