Week 7 - Football Game of the Week Preview

5A LaPorte (1-5)
6A Crown Point (3-3)

CP defensive coordinator Sean Granger has advice for the boys on how to shut down the other side. CP's defense has allowed 1,364 yards (227 per game) in six games this fall. (Photo by Mark Smith)

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith


When:  7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 4, 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: LaPORTE - 1,807; Crown Point - 2,869.

WEATHER: We step into the fall this Friday when daytime temperatures raise no higher than the upper 50s. It's a few days more than 12 weeks to Christmas and it's going to feel like it by the second half when you may wish Santa had given you a better coat last year.

The boys wont mind being ‘cool,’ but if you plan to be in the stands, you need to bring some warm friends to sit next to you.


PARKING: LaPorte usually brings a good crowd in all sports, but that tradition will be tested as the Slicers have lost 11 of their last 15 games. CP fans probably already know that this is the annual Homecoming game so you may be dodging kids in formal wear on the CPHS campus. If you can take a little chill, this is a good night to come out to see the king and queen.


WHAT's AT STAKE: LaPorte is getting ready for the Class 5A Sectional 9 where they hope to draw Munster (0-6) or Michigan City (2-4) and not Valparaiso (6-0). Crown Point (3-3) needs a win. They have lost three games this year that they had a chance to win in the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs won't win the Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC) this season, but the final third of the season is where they can (and have in past seasons) make a playoff push toward sectional success.


The HISTORY: LaPorte his one of the original Indiana high school football programs. I like to point out that the first recorded LaPorte 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 first recorded Crown Point game was a 6-0 win over Hammond Baptist in 1904. I believe that both teams actually played football in the 1890s but I've never found any scores. The first recorded CP-LaPorte game is one I don't understand. On October 26, 1907, LaPorte won over CP by forfeit.

If I was to speculate, that means that whatever mode of transportation (train possibly?) that CP was using in the early 1900s failed them. I don't think there were a lot of team buses back then. Maybe the horses got tired.

On October 31, 1925, CP made it to LaPorte and lost 46-0. But don't give the Slicers too much credit. In 1925, Crown Point (0-7) lost and was shut out in every game.

Fast forward five decades and LaPorte joins the Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC) in 1976. 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.

In 2013 and 2014, LaPorte was a Class 5A school. The Slicers advanced to the 5A football state championship game in 2014. If LaPorte stays in Class 5A (they are a large 5A school), they can be a power again in the post-season. If they go back to 6A, they won't be. It's almost that simple.

LaPorte and Crown Point high schools aren't really rivals in football because they aren't near each other and have only been DAC neighbors since CP joined the league in 1992. But the Slicers have lost to Crown Point the last two years by scores of 37-35 and 24-21. This is usually a good match up.

The 'Distant Replay'...

Slicers outlast CP 28-21 in OT


Team 1 2 3 4 OT F
CROWN POINT (12-1) 0 6 8 7 0 21
LaPORTE (10-3) 7 7 0 7 7 28

Friday, November 10, 2006,  41 degrees and raining in LaPorte, Class 5A Regional Championship

1st Qtr (LaPORTE 7-0)  Airrence Shark, 20-yard TD run.  44-yard drive, 6 plays.  Keegan Parker kick.  7:39 left.
2nd Qtr:  (LaPORTE 14-0)  Airrence Shark, 10-yard TD run. 61-yard drive, 9 plays.  Keegan Parker kick.  9:48 left.
  Matt Ernest, 6-yard TD pass from Blake Mascarello.  54-yard drive, 11 plays.  Kick hit cross bar.  0:46 left.

3rd Qtr(CROWN POINT 14-14)
  Matt Ernest, 34-yard pass from Mascarello.  83-yard drive, 7 plays.  Zach Cecich two-point pass from Mascarello.  2:11 left.
4th Qtr:  (CROWN POINT 21-14)  Matt Ernest, 86-yard TD pass from Mascarello.  93-yard drive, 4 plays.  Michael Lipton kick.  8:26 left.
(LaPORTE 21-21)  Marcus Phelps, 72-yard TD pass from Adam Creed.  74-yard drive, 2 plays.  Keegan Parker kick.  7:27 left.
OVERTIME:  (LaPORTE 28-21)  Airrence Shark, 3 yard run (4th and goal).  Keegan Parker kick.

CP - 257,  LaPORTE - 207


CP - 14,  LaPORTE - 11


CP - 2,  LaPORTE - 2

CP - 4-32 yards;  LaPorte - 2-15 yards

LaPorte - Adam Creed (QB) 1-8, 72 yards, one TD, 2 INTs;   
- Blake Mascarello (QB) 7-20, 168 yards, 3 TDs, one INT.

LaPorte -
Marcus Phelps (WR) 1-72 yards, TD;  
CP -
Matt Ernest (WR) 4-144 yards, 3 TDs; Ryan Forney (WR) 1-26, Tommy Parks (FB) 1 (-1) Jon Sertich (HB) 1 (-1).

LaPorte (38-153, 3 TDs):
  Airrence Shark (HB) 25-123 yards, 3 TDs; Darren Kincaid (FB) 4-16 yards, Carlton Austin (HB) 3-8 yards; Bryce Holland (WR) 1-4 yards; Adam Creed (QB) 3 (-6); Marcus Phelps (WR) 2 (-8).
CROWN POINT (38-141, 0 TDS, one fumble):  Jon Sertich (HB) 18-52; Blake Mascarello (QB) 10 (-1); Russell Chick (HB) 5-13 yards; Ryan Forney (WR) 4-19 yards; Tommy Parks (FB) 1-6.


LaPORTE (11-10-2006) Let's go back 13 years to one of CP (and LaPorte’s) greatest games. The ‘brawl for it all’ between 10-2 LaPorte and 12-0 Crown Point in the 2006 regional championship game. What I remember most about this night was a weather delay that turned a championship game into a classic. When rains moved in in the second quarter, LaPorte led 14-0. After a delay estimated at 90 minutes, Crown Point gained control and led 21-14 in the fourth quarter.

About 10 p.m., The Slicers tied the game and they won in overtime as all-state halfback Airrence Shark scored on a 3-yard fourth down run in overtime.

CP quarterback Blake Mascarello was sacked by Portage’s top lineman Darren Kincaid on the final play of the game.

The oddity was: Had this game been played closer to Crown Point, the Bulldogs probably would have agreed to go home and return to finish the game Saturday. But both teams wanted to wait out the delay and, although the temperatures dropped about 30 degrees, the ran and wind stopped. Less than 1,000 of the original 5,000 fans saw the end of the game.

These teams played a 42-41 Crown Point victory in LaPorte six weeks before the regional and this rematch was just as good.

I thought CP could have reached the state title finals in 2006. The Bulldogs were 11-1 in 2005.

But, in hindsight, CP probably wasn’t title bound. LaPorte lost 34-0 to Carmel in the Class 5A Northern Semistate championship seven days later and Carmel got rolled 35-14 by superpower Warren Central (15-0) in the state final game.

But I wish I had a video tape of this game. I’d still be watching it 13 years later.

2019 (5A) LaPorte (1-5)
4-7 (2018), 7-4 (2017), 9-2 (2016), 6-4 (2015)
Coach Jeremy Lowery (1st year) 1-5

8-23 (L) 14-48 (4A) New Prairie (6-0)
8-30 (L) 6-33 at (6A) Penn (3-3)
9-6 (L) 0-35 at (5A) VALPARAISO (6-0)
9-13 (L) 7-29 (6A) CHESTERTON (4-2)
9-20 (W) 31-14 (6A) LAKE CENTRAL (3-3)
9-28 (L) 0-21 at (6A) MERRILLVILLE (6-0)

10-4 (Fri.) at (6A) CROWN POINT (3-3)
10-11 (Fri.) (5A) MICHIGAN CITY (2-4)
10-18 (Fri.) (6A) PORTAGE (1-5)

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


LaPORTE Update:

LaPorte might be better than their record. The Slicers have faced no one with a losing record and LaPorte has lost three times to Top-10 teams that presently have a record of 6-0. The Slicers have two quarterbacks but the sophomore Colin Bergquist (6–0, 180) has made some plays. Bergquist has carried the ball 70 times for 363 yards and he also averages 29.9 yards on eight kickoff returns.

LaPorte does not really want to throw the ball. Consider that Bergquist and junior Robbie Kiner (6-2, 180) are a combined 8-of-29 passing all season and factor in that the Slicers have trailed on the scoreboard most of the time in most of their games.

LaPorte tries to shorten the game with a rushing attack that includes Bergquist, junior Jeremiah Ruiz (5-10, 160), who has carried 75 times for 365 yards and senior Isaac Alexander (5-0, 185), who is also the starting safety and probably LaPorte’s most experienced player.

Defensively, a person of interest is Jayden Browder (5-7, 195), who has been in on 38 tackles including two QB sacks. Sophomore linebacker Gavin Zolvinski (6-0, 190) has participated in 50 tackles.
The line is anchored by big junior nose guard Jorden Steinhiser (6-0, 300), junior Javant Hodges (6-1, 260) and senior Matt Neff (5-8, 175).

The Slicers secondary, led by Alexander (28 tackles), is a strength with seven interceptions. This seems like a fairly strong defense. LaPorte has to win low-scoring, turnover-free games right now because they can't score a whole lot of points.

LaPorte has been shut out by Merrillville and Valparaiso and held to less than 10 points by Chesterton and Penn. But, again, does that mean the Slicers aren't any good or that those four foes were good?

2019 (6A) Crown Point (3-3)
5-7 (2018), 7-5 (2017), 6-6 (2016), 1-9 (2015)
Coach Kevin Enright (7th year) 44-40

8-23 (L.) 19-21 at (4A) Lowell (4-2)
8-30 (W) 24-0 (4A) Highland (3-3)
9-6 (L) 24-27 (OT) (6A) MERRILLVILLE (6-0)
9-13 (W) 10-0 at (6A) LAKE CENTRAL (3-3)
9-20 (W) 22-16 at (6A) PORTAGE (1-5)
9-27 (L) 14-31 (5A) VALPARAISO (6-0)

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

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



The Bulldogs battled Valparaiso even through three quarters last week, but were outscored 17-0 in the fourth quarter. The 31 points allowed by CP is misleading from a defensive standpoint because Valparaiso didn't have far to go to score a couple of those TDs.

CP’s defense has been good. Linebacker Jacob Woods (5-10, 225) has been in on 62 tackles in six weeks. Defensive end Collin Flavin (6-2, 240) has been in on 53 tackles and eight tackles for losses. Cornerback Treston Logan (6-2, 175) has three of CP’s seven interceptions.

Offensively, quarterback Will Pettit (83 of 170, 943 yards) can't be happy with eight interceptions in six games. Halfback Matthew Walters (83 carries, 462 yards) averages 5.6 per carry while senior Tysen Cazy (17 catches, 261 yards) has caught four TD passes.

I’d like to see CP flip some short passes to Walters (5-11, 155) out of the backfield, but other than that, there are plays there to be made that CP hasn't been able to make against the really good teams.

I don't know the condition of tackle Cael Begley, who was hurt against Valparaiso.

CP has to remember that their finest hour in each of the last three sectional championship seasons (2016-2018) came in October.

5A LaPORTE (1-5) at 6A CROWN POINT (3-3)

at Crown Point Stadium - Capacity: 4,500


SAGARIN RATINGS: Crown Point by 11.

Not hard to understand this spread. CP has three wins and LaPorte has only topped LC. The Bulldogs also came much closer to Valparaiso and Merrillville than LaPorte did. For the record, CP was a 26-point underdog last week against Valparaiso and they lost 31-14.


CROWN POINT (10-04-2019) LaPorte is playing better than they were the first four weeks and an interception will lead to a TD run by the sophomore Colin Bergquist. But Crown Point will gain control of the game and Will Pettit should have a good night. The CP QB will fire three touchdown passes, two to tight end Ben Uran, and the Bulldogs control the second half.

LaPorte wont get blown out but CP will adjust to the Slicers option offense and pull out a Homecoming victory.



CROWN POINT 21, LaPorte 7

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Revised: October 03, 2019 .