Week 7 - Football Game of the Week Preview

6A Crown Point (2-4)
at 5A LaPorte (2-4)

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith


CP and seniors Ethan Potosky (28), Sam Krutz (14) and Adam Hillard (48) will wear the road 'whites' again Friday as the Bulldogs visit LaPorte County. (Photo by Mark Smith)


When:  7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 28, 2018

Where:  LaPorte High School, 602 ‘F’ Street in LaPorte

TV/Radio/Internet: The only Northwest Indiana outlet for this game is the live Internet audio stream on www.USA-365.com. WCOE (96.7) carries all LaPorte football games but it can only be heard in Porter, LaPorte and St. Joseph’s counties.

Enrollment: CROWN POINT - 2,805; LaPorte – 1,876.

WEATHER: The seasons seemed to change this week. Friday’s forecast is for temperatures in the mid-60s during the day and upper 50s during the football game. Perfect for players. Cool for fans. There is a chance of rain Friday afternoon, but if it stops by 7 p.m. the game should not be affected. Kiwanis Field, like all the home sites in the Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC) in LaPorte has artificial turf.


PARKING: LaPorte plays at Kiwannis Field, which is two blocks south of the high school. Most of the parking is at the high school, so you will have to bring your walking shoes here. Kiwannis Field is so deep in the neighborhood on LaPorte’s west side that many of the Slicers fans walk to the game. The school parking lot probably won't be full for this one.


WHAT's AT STAKE: This is a ‘hope’ game. Both teams are two games out of first place in the Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC) with three games to play. This is also not a playoff preview since LaPorte is a 5A school and CP is 6A. The winner Friday just gets a little hope going forward. Just the thought that they are getting a little better. It's just a chance for one team with a losing record to go home happy late Friday night.


The HISTORY: LaPorte has played high school football since the early 1900s and the program is one of the pioneers of Indiana high school football. The first recorded game (according to Northern Indiana football.com) was an 11-0 victory over Rolling Prairie (the school that much later would become New Prairie) on October 12, 1901.

The 1928 LaPorte football schedule (90 years ago) was Rochester, South Bend, Hammond high, Elkhart, Lowell, Garrett, Michigan City, (Gary) Froebel and Plymouth. Those were all schools that played football and there apparently weren't that many opponents to choose from.

The Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC) began in 1970 and LaPorte joined in 1976. They were somewhat overmatched. LaPorte was 0-10 in 1976 (0-6 in the DAC), 1-9 in 1977 (0-6 in the DAC), 2-8 in 1979 (1-5 in the DAC). The Slicers lost 13 DAC games in a row until they finally won for the first time, 34-14 over Portage on September 29, 1978. LaPorte’s only DAC championships were shared titles in 1986 and 2016.

LaPorte and Chesterton have shared a problem since the early 1990s. As the enrollments rose in other DAC schools like Portage, Lake Central and CP, LaPorte’s stayed the same size. Football is obviously a class and enrollment based sport. Your enrollment has to fit your class. When LaPorte was in Class 5A and 5A was the largest class, the Slicers had little to no chance to win playoff championships because they had to play larger schools.

LaPorte is either a large 5A or a small 6A depending on where their numbers fall on the entire roster of Indiana schools. For competitive purposes, they are better off with the enrollment they have now. In 2013 and 2014, LaPorte was a Class 5A school. The Slicers advanced to the 5A football state championship game in 2014.

LaPorte was then reassigned to the then-new Class 6A in 2015 and 2016. Bad news. They had to play Penn (enrollment 3,500) in the sectional and lost both times. Back in Class 5A for the 2017 and 2018 seasons, LaPorte again has a chance in the post-season if they can get by neighbor and arch-rival Michigan City.


Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC)

1. Valparaiso (4-0) 4-2
2. Merrillville (3-1) 4-2
3. Michigan City (3-1) 4-2
4. Portage (3-1) 4-2
5. LaPorte (2-2) 2-4
6. CROWN POINT (1-3) 2-4
7. Lake Central (0-4) 2-4
8. Chesterton (0-4) 1-5

Michigan City 49, Lake Central 6
Portage 20, Chesterton 14 (OT)
Valparaiso 38, CROWN P0INT 7

9-28-18 = WEEK 7
Chesterton (1-5) at Lake Central (2-4)
Michigan City (4-2) at Portage (4-2)
Valparaiso (4-2) at Merrillville (4-2)
CROWN POINT (2-4) at LaPorte (2-4)

10-5-18 = WEEK 8
Lake Central (2-4) at Merrillville (4-2)
LaPorte (2-4) at Michigan City (4-2)
Portage (4-2) at Valparaiso (4-2)
Chesterton (1-5) at CROWN POINT (2-4)


DAC COMMENTS: There are two weeks remaining after this Friday, but the race for first place in the DAC is almost over if Valparaiso wins at Merrillville this Friday. Valparaiso’s final two games are Portage (4-2) and Lake Central (1-5). VHS could lose to Portage, but that would still create a tie for the league championship. Valparaiso was 6-1 and in first place in DAC play in 2017. Crown Point and LaPorte were 6-1 in the DAC in 2016.


(5A) LaPorte (2-4)
7-4 (2017), 9-2 (2016), 6-4 (2015), 8-6 (2014)
Coach Dave Sharpe (24-14) 4th year, DAC games in CAPS

8-17 (L) 14-42 at (4A) New Prairie (4-2)
8-24 (L) 20-21 (4A) Hobart (5-1)
9-1 (L) 8-38 at (6A) VALPARAISO (4-2)
9-7 (W) 29-14 (6A) CHESTERTON (1-5)
9-14 (W) 28-13 at (6A) LAKE CENTRAL (2-4)
9-21 (L) 7-35 (6A) MERRILLVILLE (4-2)
9-28 (Fri) CROWN POINT (2-4)
10-5 (Fri) at (5A) MICHIGAN CITY (4-2)
10-12 (Fri) at (6A) PORTAGE (4-2)

Class 5A Sectional 9
10-29 (Fri) vs. Adams (2-4), Munster (1-5) and Michigan City (4-2)


LaPORTE Update:

LaPorte had an unmatched running attack in 2017, averaging 392 yards per game over 11 games. But graduation took the QB and some of their offensive starters and the same one receiver, two tight end offensive formation is gaining 252 yards a game this fall. Rushing for 250 a game is outstanding. It's just not the near 400-yard haul they were getting last year.

I don't know what to call LaPorte’s offense. It's similar to the old wishbone formation, with three running backs and two tight ends on most plays. LaPorte has thrown just 18 passes all year and they don’t seem to care that you know what’s coming. The foundation of the offensive line is senior tackle Brandon Seibert (6-3, 327) but the Slicers' offense gets the linemen in motion as lead blockers.

Halfback Isaac Alexander (5-9 172) has run 100 times for 417 yards and two TDs. QB Caleb Kuzdas (5-5 140) has 80 runs for 397 yards and one TD. Junior Dylan Gray (5-7, 165) has 33 carries for 181 yards and four TDs. The quarterback is the key, executing a lot of fake handoffs. The first back isn’t often the one who gets the ball.

Defensively, LaPorte has had problems, allowing 204 yards rushing per game and 314 yards overall. Linebacker Noah Perez (5-10, 202) is the Slicers' leading tackler with 52 stops. I don’t know if 2017 starting linebacker Landon Cerillos (6-4, 225) is healthy because he’s listed with only seven tackles. Halfback Isaac Alexander plays on both sides of the ball and he has 35 tackles.

LaPorte is a team that has major problems coming from behind. Their offense takes a lot of time off the clock and they can't score quickly. But if they don’t fumble or draw a lot of penalties, they’ll be close in every game.

(6A) Crown Point (2-4)
7-5 (2017) 6-6 (2016), 1-9 (2015), 8-2 (2014)
Coach Kevin Enright (7th year) 38-32, DAC games in CAPS

8-17 (L) 7-17 (4A) Lowell (5-1)
8-24 (W) 14-10 at (4A) Highland (3-3)
8-31 (L) 21-26 at (6A) MERRILLVILLE (4-2)

9-7 (W) 21-3 (6A) LAKE CENTRAL (2-4)
9-14 (L) 12-14 (6A) PORTAGE (4-2)
9-21 (L) 7-38 at (6A) VALPARAISO (4-2)

9-28 (Fri) at (5A) LaPORTE (2-4)
10-6 (Fri) (6A) CHESTERTON (1-5)
10-13 (Fri) at (5A) MICHIGAN CITY (4-2)

6A State Tournament
10-27 (Fri) vs. Portage, Lake Central or MERRILLVILLE



Okay, last week was bad. No getting around that. The Bulldogs (2-4) probably think they’re better than that and they may be. Two years ago, CP was 2-4 after six games, but they rallied to win Class 6A Sectional 1. Last year, CP was 2-3 after five games and the Bulldogs rallied to win Class 6A Sectional 1. Not a prediction here. Just a statement of what has occurred recently.

Last week was the first time the CP defense seemed overwhelmed, but the rout was aided by three turnovers. Crown Point did run the ball a little bit at Valpo with Scott Mills running 29 times for 86 yards. If the Bulldogs can get a little something on earlier downs it will make things easier for sophomore QB Will Pettit (73 of 151, 694 yards). The CP passing game is still a work in progress, but the receivers are there in Tysen Cazy (25 catches, 275 yards, 3 TDs), David O’Toole (14 catches, 167 yards) and Anthony Gonzalez (12 catches, 114 yards).

CP has faced good defenses in Portage, which has allowed 18.8 points per game, Valparaiso, which has allowed 12.2 points a game and Lowell, which has allowed 4.0 per game.

Defensively, CP has allowed just 1,082 yards (180.33 per game) and just 42 of 104 (40.4%) passing. The Bulldogs allow 18 points a game.

Linebacker Ethan Potosky leads CP with 3 solo tackles and 16 tackles for lost yardage.

Crown Point has to ‘keep the faith.’ They’ve lost to two state rated teams and it was understood at the start of the year that their offense needed time to develop. There's still time for the Bulldogs to have a successful season.

6A CROWN POINT (2-4) at 5A LaPORTE (2-4)

at Kiwanis Field - Capacity: 4,500



The ratings don’t tell us much we didn’t know here. LaPorte and CP have the same won-loss record. They both lost to Valparaiso by virtually the same score and both have lost to a Top-10 Class 4A team. This game is particularly unpredictable because both teas are coming off lop-sided losses. Who knows how they’ll start off this Friday? For the record, the computer said: Valpo by 27 over CP last week. Valpo won by 31.


LaPORTE (09-28-2018) Here’s a game where both sides may see the other as a favorable matchup. CP gave up a season high 255 yards rushing last week. LaPorte’s got to look at that and smile. The Slicers have ‘only’ given up 659 yard’s passing, but they’ve allowed seven pass TDs.


This will be a high-scoring game. LaPorte gets their 200-250 yards rushing and Isaac Alexander will score two TDs. But CP will be able to move the ball through the air with QB Will Pettit throwing for 200 yards and three TDs. A TD toss to David O’Toole will be the difference as the Bulldogs pick up a win far from home.


CROWN POINT 27, LaPorte 21

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Revised: September 27, 2018 .