Week 6 Picks - 2016 NW Indiana High School Football

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith

September 23, 2016

The road to first place in the Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC) goes through LaPorte this season. Merrillville travels to LaPorte (5-0) Friday night. (Photo by Mark Smith)

'Mr. Picker' WEEK-3, 2016 Football Picks in Review:
Sept. 16-17, 2016

Wrong - 5; Right - 5 = 50.0%

The Pick The Result

Wheeler 21, N. Newton 14  

(wrong) North Newton 20-0

Whiting 35, Lake Station 14  

Whiting 24-0

Munster 34, Morton 27  

Munster 20-7

Hobart 35, ANDREAN 34  

(wrong) ANDREAN 55-28

LOWELL 14, Highland 10  

LOWELL 41-14

West Lafayette 42, Rensselaer 28  

W. Lafayette 48-16

Valparaiso 31, Chesterton 13  

Valpo 34-13

MERRILLVILLE 34, Mich. City 21  

(wrong) Mich. City 42-35

CROWN POINT 20, Portage 14  

(wrong) Portage 7-3

LAKE CENTRAL 27, LaPorte 21  

(wrong) LaPorte 35-17

WEEK (5) FIVE (5 of 10, 50.0%)
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: (33 of 52, 63.4%)


ANALYSIS: It was bad. Andrean and North Newton were big surprises that I could not have predicted. Crown Point should have beaten Portage. Lake Central winning was obviously an upset pick based on emotion and it didn't happen. I'm still surprised that MC outscored Merrillville but others are not.

WORST PICK: Hobart over Andrean by one. The 59ers scored at will on them and I still am not sure why.

BEST PICK: Clearly Valparaiso over Chesterton 31-13 with the final being 34-13. Almost an exact 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 (6) SIX:

One of the big games Friday outside Northwest Indiana features one of the more interesting stories in Indiana high school football. Friday night in Royal Center 1A No. 3 Pioneer (5-0) hosts 1A No. 8 LaVille (5-0) and halfback Ethan Kertai. Kertai, who is said to be 5-foot-8 and 160 pounds, has run for 3,315 yards and 46 touchdowns in four years. He has 628 yards on 56 carries this fall with 10 TDs.

LaVille has never won much of anything. They won a 1A sectional in 2003. It's been 34 years since they went to the regional. LaVille is basically where you stop for gas on the way from Plymouth to South Bend. Kertai's last football game this fall will be his last football game. He's reportedly planning to attend Bethel College to run track (he's a sprinter) and if the goes there, he won't be able to walk on and continue his grid career. Bethel doesn't have a football team.

Pioneer has allowed just 19 points all season and they won at LaVille 57-7 last September. It'll be interesting to see what score could out of Royal Center Friday. It looks like some paths to the state finals are blocked. In 1A Lafayette Catholic is 5-0 and would be a 20-point favorite over anyone from around here.

In 3A, (Mishawaka) Marian is 5-0 and has only allowed two touchdowns total in five games. Marian is in Sectional 25 with Rensselaer, Hanover and Griffith.

In 5A, Northwood averages 46 points a game, but Jimtown and Wawasee have put up 3 against them.

And look close at the latest 6A Poll. Unless I failed my 'Hoosier Geography' class, the only two teams in the northern part of the state in Class 6A are No. 1 Penn and No. 9 LaPorte.

Locally, the big game in week six sends undefeated Hanover Central (5-0) to unbeaten Class 2A No.1 Whiting (5-0). This is when you really miss having a local TV game-of-the-week, as they do in most parts of this (and every) state. Only those in the stands will see this one.

No one except Gary Roosevelt plays on Saturday again this week, so again, you can only see one game no matter how much you may wish to see more than one.

The popularity of high school football is limited by the fact that 99% of the teams play on the same day (Friday) at the same (7 p.m. local) time. It may be why basketball is still more popular than football in Indiana. You can go to a lot more games and see a lot more teams.

With a lot of 5A and 6A teams now getting first round byes in the state tournament, the door is open for the big school teams to play on Saturday afternoon in week nine. Games like Crown Point and Michigan City (teams 30 miles apart) could consider a Saturday finale.

I'll leave Clark (0-5) at Rensselaer (3-2) alone. Clark's got to be eyeing that Oct. 7 game with Gary West Side (0-4). Riley (0-5) and New Prairie (4-1) is an unfortunate matchup as well. But there are some strong matchups in week six as the second half of the season begins.

East Chicago (3-1) at Morton (3-2):

HAMMOND (09-23-2016) This one is fun. Go see it if you can. If it doesn't rain, let's start both sides with four TDs and go from there. DeVonate Jones leads EC's 34.8 points per game offense, but I think Morton's played a tougher schedule and should be able to prevail here.

Morton 36, East Chicago 34

Highland (3-2) at ANDREAN (2-3):

MERRILLVILLE (09-23-2016)
Highland started fast, but then got turned down by Munster 47-6 and Lowell 41-14. Andrean has struggled all year until last week when they beat what looked like a superior Hobart team 55-28. It feels like the Niners are on the rise, but any rain might help the Trojans against a smaller Andrean squad.

ANDREAN 28, Highland 21

Griffith (3-2) at Munster (3-2):

MUNSTER (09-23-2016)
Griffith is on the rise, but I don't know about this one. Munster hasn't lost to anyone who isn't Class 6A and they appear to have more size and depth. By the time this night is over, everyone may understand why Griffith is leaving the Northwest Crossroads Conference.

Munster 35, Griffith 17

Calumet (2-3) at Lake Station (2-3):

LAKE STATION (09-23-2016)
Calumet's renovated field is still under construction and the Warrors play on the road for the sixth week in a row here. They have one home game reportedly left for week eight. I'm guessing that Lake Station took a lot of positives out of last week, losing to 2A No.1 Whiting only 24-0. Calumet did win 36-13 last Friday at Bishop Noll (0-5), but Lake Station gets back to .500 here.

Lake Station 27, Calumet 16

Hobart (3-2) at LOWELL (2-3):

LOWELL (09-23-2016)
I can't explain how Hobart lost by 27 to Andrean last week, but I also can't explain Lowell at 2-3. Without Jordan Jusevitch in the Lowell secondary, Hobart may throw more, but the game comes down to how long Lowell can possess the ball. The Devils, at home, may be getting right after last week's 27-point win at Highland. I cannot get over Hobart giving up 55 points.

LOWELL 31, Hobart 21

HANOVER CENTRAL (5-0) at Whiting (5-0):

WHITING (09-23-2016)
When Hanover restarted their football after a 40-year 'bye week' in 2012, they probably fantasized about the night when they'd carry an undefeated record in against the state's No. 1 team. Two years ago, Whiting beat HC 53-7. Last year, Whiting beat HC 34-7. This time. Hanover wins, right??? Not yet.

Whiting 28, HANOVER CENTRAL 14

Portage (3-2) at Chesterton (2-3):

CHESTERTON (09-23-2016)
The Trojans have only scored 56 points all season, but Portage won 7-3 last week. In fact, Portage's last four games have been decided by six points or less. Anthony Maceo has been very good at running the option. Chesterton is still looking to settle on a QB. Portage needs this one to have a winning season.

Portage 20, Chesterton 8

Lake Central (1-4) at Michigan City (4-1):

MICHIGAN CITY (09-23-2016)
Eventually, LC will bounce back and smack somebody. The trick is: When? At the start of the season, I'd have picked LC in this one, but I've said that before this year. MC is coming off a track meet 42-35 win at Merrillville and, on what may be a rainy night, they can match LC run for run. Another high-scoring game.

Michigan City 35, Lake Central 27

CROWN POINT (2-3) at Valparaiso (3-2):

VALPO (09-23-2016)
Valpo has lost only to Penn (5-0) and LaPorte (5-0). The Viking running backs Greg Lichtenberg and Zach Jones have combined for 13 touchdowns so far this year. CP, like Chesterton, has scoring issues with just 63 points all year. The Bulldog defense held Lowell and Lake Central to 3 points, Portage to seven points and Mishawaka to 10 points. Valpo is better offensively than all four of those teams.

Valparaiso 21, CROWN POINT 10

MERRILLVILLE (3-2) at LaPorte (5-0):

LaPORTE (09-23-2016)
A big one for the Slicers if they are to win the DAC. Merrillville scores on almost everybody, but they gave up 42 to Michigan City last week and LaPorte runs the ball as well as MC does. Conditions matter here. If it rains, this is a big win for LaPorte. In dry weather, here is another one where you start each side with 28 points.


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Revised: September 23, 2016 .