Week 6 - Football Game of the Week Preview

6A Valparaiso (5-0)
6A Crown Point (3-2)

Valparaiso has a lot on the line with 300-pound linemen Ben Scott (79) and John Hofer (54) on the offensive line. Undefeated Valparaiso invades Crown Point Friday night at 7 p.m. (Photo by Mark Smith)

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith


When:  7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 27, 2019

Where:  Crown Point High School, 1500 South Main (one mile south of the CP downtown square)

TV/Radio/Internet: Live Internet audio stream on www.USA-365.com.

Enrollment: VALPO - 1,993; Crown Point - 2,869.

WEATHER: Here comes the rain again. Every forecast I’ve seen says there’s rain predicted almost all weekend for all of Northwest Indiana beginning Friday morning. There is a risk of a lightning delay Friday if Mother Nature’s inclement weather friend ‘Mr. Sparky’ decides to toss some bolts around Lake County. Any way it happens, the boys will be slipping and sliding on the artificial turf Friday night. And you folks better bring your umbrellas or plastic bags. Temperatures will be in the mid-60s, but you can bet you will be wet.


PARKING: I would predict a capacity crowd at CP if it wasn’t for the forecast. You know how you folks are. If it starts to rain about noon, some fans are going to stay home. That means there will be plenty of room for those of us who will walk through the raindrops to see this matchup.


WHAT's AT STAKE: This important DAC game means more to Crown Point than it does to Valparaiso. The Vikings (5-0, 3-0 DAC) surely want an undefeated season and league championship. But the Vikings could lose this game and still win the DAC. Crown Point (3-2, 2-1 DAC) can upset the entire DAC race with an upset win here. And since Valparaiso has dropped to Class 5A, this is a ‘one night only’ event. Valpo eliminated Crown Point at the Class 6A regional last year. That’s not possible this season.

The HISTORY: The reason Valparaiso is called Valparaiso is one of my favorite region retro stories.

Our Valparaiso, Indiana, which began as a purchase of land by the U.S. government from the Potawatomi Indians in October of 1832, is, in truth, not the 'real' Valparaiso.

The 'real' Valparaiso, or Valle Parriso, which means "Paradise Valley" in Spanish, is Valparaiso, Chile, a coastal city of a quarter million which dates back to the 1500s, long before anybody even thought about what is now the United States.

Our Valparaiso was named because a visitor thought it reminded him of the ‘real’ Valparaiso.

Our Valpo is a Porter County town of 31,000. There were 4,000 people living in Valparaiso in 1880 when most of the rest of the county was farms and trees. There were graduating classes from Valparaiso high school in the mid-1870s (the school is said to have opened in 1871) and our Valparaiso University dates back to the 1850s.

Valpo has always been an athletic center because of Valparaiso University and Valpo high school is a charter member of the Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC).

In 1986, Valpo had 1,680 students, Merrillville had 1,482, Crown Point had 1,774 and Lake Central had 2,160. LC is over 3,000 now. Crown Point is at 2869 and Valpo is not much bigger than they were in the 80s.

Friday's game is for the 'County Seat Trophy'. CP is the center of Lake County and Valpo is considered the center (or the County Seat) of Porter County. I don't think Valparaiso and CP consider each other arch rivals.

Not even close. Valpo has Chesterton and Portage. CP has Merrillville and Lowell.

Now if CP keeps beating Valpo when the Vikings are in first place, maybe my opinion will change.

The 'Distant Replay'...


Bulldogs upset No. 3 Valparaiso


Team 1 2 3 4 F
Valparaiso (5-1, 3-1 DAC) 6 0 0 0 6
CROWN POINT (3-3, 2-2 DAC) 0 0 7 14 21

Friday, September 22, 2017 -  81 degrees (at kick-off), Duneland Athletic Conference at CROWN POINT, Ind.

1st Qtr: VALPARAISO (6-0) (6-0) Peyton Krutz, 4-yard run. 70-yard drive, 17 plays. Kick wide. 0:00 left.
2nd Qtr
No scoring.
3rd QtrCROWN POINT (7-6) Tyler Gomez 1-yard run. 67-yard drive, 7 plays. Ben Fridrich kick. 1:20 left.
4th Qtr: CROWN POINT (14-6)
Tyler Gomez, 71-yard run. 71-yard drive, 1 plays. Ben Fridrich kick. 11:16 left.
Sam Krutz, 46-yard interception return. Ben Fridrich kick. 10:20 left.


VALPO (30 carries, 76 yards, 1 TD, one fumble): CJ Opperman (QB) 1 carries, minus-12 yards (one sack minus-12); Eddie Curry (HB) 9-19 yards, Jesse Harper (HB) 14 carries 58 yards; Peyton Krutz (FB) 3-9 yards, TD; Damon Haduch (HB) 3-10 yards.


CROWN POINT (29 carries, 149 yards, 2 TDs, 0 fumbles): Tyler Gomez (HB) 22 carries, 145 yards, 2 TDs; Scott Mills (HB) 2-4 yards, Ryan Bolda (QB) 5-0 yards.


VALPO: CJ Opperman (QB) 12 of 24, 128 yards, 0 TDs, 2 INTs; CROWN POINT: Ryan Bolda (QB) 7 of 15, 87 yards, 0 TDs, 1 interception.


VALPO: Trent Potis (TE) 4 catches, 53 yards; Eddie Curry (HB) 2-15 yards; Jesse Harper (HB) 4-41 yards; Peyton Krutz (FB) 2-19 yards.
CROWN POINT: Ben Fridrich (TE) 3-30 yards; Brett Schoettle (WR) 4-57 yards.


VALPO (1) Tyler Bukur; CROWN POINT (1) Sam Krutz


CROWN POINT (1) Anthony Haage (CB)


VALPO: 204 yards, 10 first downs, 2 turnovers; CROWN POINT: 234 yards, 8 first downs, 1 turnover.

CROWN POINT (9-22-2017) Two years ago this week, the Bulldogs posted one of Crown Point’s greatest victories. As they are again this Friday, Valpo was undefeated (with wins over both Penn and Mishawaka) after five games in 2017 and the Bulldogs were a dog without a bone, with a 2-3 record and coming off a 27-10 loss at Portage.

But CP’s defense stood tall. After a 17-play first quarter scoring drive, CP didn't not allow another score.

And with the score 7-6 in the fourth quarter, CP stars Tyler Gomez and Sam Krutz broke big scoring plays to shock the Class 6A No. 3 Vikings. Valparaiso would finish 8-2 with a state playoff loss to Penn. Crown Point was lifted by this game, winning five of their next six to take the 6A Sectional 1 title.

One note: On that 80-degree night two years ago, Valparaiso was a 23-point favorite on the Sagarin computer. This Friday, Valparaiso is a 26-point favorite. Just for the record.

2019 (5A) Valparaiso (5-0)
10-3 (2018) 8-2 (2017) 5-5 (2016), 7-3 (2015)
Coach Bill Marshall (2nd year) 15-4

8-23 (W) 34-14 (6A) Penn (2-3)
8-30 (W) 63-0 (4A) Griffith (0-5)
9-6 (W) 35-0 at (6A) LaPORTE (1-4)
9-13 (W) 42-21 (5A) MICHIGAN CITY (2-3)
9-20 (W) 40-6 at (6A) CHESTERTON (3-2)

9-27 (Fri.) at (6A) CROWN POINT (3-2)
10-4 (Fri.) (6A) MERRILLVILLE (5-0)
10-11 (Fri.) at (6A) PORTAGE (1-4)
10-18 (Fri.) (6A) LAKE CENTRAL (2-3)

5A Sectional 9
11-2 (Fri.) sectional quarterfinal vs. Munster, LaPorte or Michigan City.



Here’s the big green team that nobody has stopped.

Everybody has a plan to beat Valparaiso until they see the offensive and defensive lines.

The Viking defensive line is led by senior end Cooper Jones (6-5, 247), rated one of the top-10 players in Indiana. The other end is junior Dylan Dingman (6-2, 245) whose biggest fault is that he isn't Jones. The offensive line is led by junior right guard John Hofer (6-6, 300) and senior right tackle Ben Scott (6-5, 310).

Valparaiso has allowed just 41 points all season and they average seven yards a carry on offense. Halfback Tyler Burbee has gained 649 yards and nine TDs on just 72 carries, but all of the Vikings' offense numbers are limited because they’ve won every game by 20 points or more.

The Vikings starters rarely play in the fourth quarter.

Valpo pounds you with the run and then hits you over the top by CJ Opperman (6-3, 185) who has completed 28 of 52 passes for 416 yards. End Anthony Osario has caught 26 passes for 182 yards and five touchdowns.

I’m not sure of the quality of Valparaiso’s passing attack because the Vikings simply aren't behind on the scoreboard much. Valpo throws when they want or need to and in most games they don't need to.

The Vikings are without Peyton Krutz (6-2, 220), a starting linebacker, but it sure didn't seem to bother them in the 40-6 win over Chesterton last week.

Valparaiso is a very confident team. They are rated No. 2 in Class 5A behind defending state champ New Palestine (5-0) and Valpo is a 5A team in name only. These boys have played in a Class 6A league all their high school careers.

2019 (6A) Crown Point (3-2)
5-7 (2018) 7-5 (2017) 6-6 (2016), 1-9 (2015)
Coach Kevin Enright (7th year) 44-39

8-23 (L.) 19-21 at (4A) Lowell (3-2)
8-30 (W) 24-0 (4A) Highland (3-2)
9-6 (L) 24-27 (OT) (6A) MERRILLVILLE (5-0)

9-13 (W) 10-0 at (6A) LAKE CENTRAL (2-3)
9-20 (W) 22-16 at (6A) PORTAGE (1-5)
9-27 (Fri.) vs. (5A) VALPARAISO (5-0)

10-4 (Fri.) vs. (5A) LaPORTE (0-2)
10-11 (Fri.) at (6A) CHESTERTON (2-0)
10-18 (Fri.) vs. (5A) MICHIGAN CITY (1-1)

6A Sectional 1
11-2 (Fri.) sectional quarterfinal vs. Merrillville, Jefferson or Lake Central.



Crown Point has won their last two and the running attack has been good. Speedy Matthew Walters (5-10, 155) has gained 408 yards on 70 carries and and backup Davian Lira (5-8, 145) has picked up 213 yards on 57 carries.

Junior quarterback Will Pettit (6-2, 175) is 73 of 140 for 816 yards and four TDs. Senior David O'Toole (24 catches, 242 yards) is the top receiver. I do not believe that fellow receiver Tysen Cazy (14 catches, 213 yards) has played the last two weeks.

Subbing in has been Trestan Logan (6-2, 175) who caught four passes last week for 42 yards. The Bulldogs often go with two tight ends: Senior Ben Uran (6-5, 215) and junior Felix Meeks (6-3, 240) who create multiple formation problems for the defense.

But this game won't come down to numbers.

This night is separate from the rest of the schedule. To be on the varsity facing the undisputed, undefeated No. 1 team in this area, has to be a moment for the Bulldog boys. You work for years to get to the varsity at a school as large as CP and this night is why.

Can the Bulldogs hang with the big, green team? No one else has. Everybody wants their chance to take down the top team.

CP gets their chance Friday night.

5A No. 2 Valparaiso (5-0, 3-0 DAC) at 6A CROWN POINT (3-2, 2-1 DAC)

at Crown Point Stadium - Capacity: 4,800


SAGARIN RATINGS: Valparaiso by 26.

This rating is fair. CP lost to Lowell and Merrillville. Valpo hasn't lost to anybody. Chesterton (3-2) lost to Valpo 40-6 and Chesterton had competed well against everyone in the first four weeks. CP hasn't scored more than 24 points against anybody.



CROWN POINT (09-27-2019)I can shorthand this. CP is going to give up 150-200 yards rushing to the big green offensive line. What has to happen for a Bulldog upset is two or three Viking turnovers and that is possible on a wet night against a confident defense. I think Valpo bottles up the CP run game (less than 100 yards) and its up to QB Will Pettit and the Bulldog receivers to combine on some big plays. From a CP standpoint, I wish this was a dry windless night, but it won't be. Valpo is the best team in the DAC and they haven't forgotten the game in CP two years ago.


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Revised: September 26, 2019 .