Week 7 Picks - 2016 NW Indiana High School Football

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith

September 30, 2016

The future is bright at Hanover Central, which is looking to go 7-0 tonight in their final home game against Wheeler. (Photo by Mark Smith)

'Mr. Picker' WEEK-6, 2016 Football Picks in Review:
Sept. 23-24, 2016

Wrong - 5; Right - 5 = 50.0%

The Pick The Result

Morton 36, East Chicago 34  

(wrong) EC 40-0

ANDREAN 28, Highland 21  


Munster 35, Griffith 17  

(wrong) 21-24 Munster

Lake Station 27, Calumet 16  

(wrong) Calumet 22-7

LOWELL 31, Hobart 21  

(wrong) Hobart 18-12

Whiting 28, HANOVER CENTRAL 14  

(wrong) HANOVER 21-0

Portage 20, Chesterton 8  

Portage 22-13

Michigan City 35, Lake Central 27  

Michigan City 46-42

Valparaiso 21, CROWN POINT 10  

Valpo 21-7

LaPorte 38, MERRILLVILLE 31  

LaPorte 46-35

WEEK (6) SIX (5 of 10, 50.0%)
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: (38 of 62, 61.2%)


ANALYSIS: It was bad again. I could not have predicted Calumet over Lake Station or Hanover over Whiting, but Griffith over Munster was one I might have guessed. I'd still pick Lake Station to beat Calumet if they played again. To be honest, I didn't think Hobart could run on Lowell the way they did. Morton lost their quarterback and, at that point, they had no chance to defeat East Chicago.

WORST PICK: Morton over East Chicago when the Cardinals won by 40. That game should have been closer than that.

BEST PICK: Valparaiso over Crown Point 21-10 when the final was 21-7.


'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 (7) SEVEN:

In the northern part of the state, the weather changed significantly this week and teams may take the field in chilly, wet weather for the first time. Let's see if that lowers the scores or just ups the turnovers. Big games this week send Class 3A No. 4 (Mishawaka) Marian (5-1) to New Prairie (5-1). 1,000-yard passers match up when 1A No.1 Lafayette Catholic (6-0) takes the short trip to 3A No. 2 West Lafayette (5-1).

Let's leave out Gavit (2-4) at Clark (0-6), Noll (0-6) at Boone Grove or Bowman Academy (0-6) at Pontiac Illinois. I'll assume that Hanover Central is a prohibitive pick at home against Wheeler (2-4). I'd like to tell you about East Chicago (4-1) playing the (Indianapolis) Northwest Space Pioneers (4-2) but I'm just still trying to figure out that nickname. It's been a difficult year for 'pickers'. One week you're Hillary Clinton slapping Donald Trump around. The next week you're the defensive coordinator at Notre Dame.

Lake Station (2-4) at River Forest (1-5):

HOBART TOWNSHIP (09-30-2016)
Arch rivals Lake Station and River Forest see who needs a win more. River Forest was 0-5 until they jumped up 50-13 on Bishop Noll last week. Lake Station lost 22-7 at home to Calumet last week so they need this one. River Forest won 39-0 in this game last year, but these two schools have split the last 12 meetings. Two weeks ago, I'd have taken Lake Station decisively here. Now I'm not so sure.

Lake Station 14, River Forest 12

(Mishawaka) Marian (6-0) at New Prairie (5-1):

NEW CARLISLE (09-30-2016)
Showdown battle in the southern division of the Northern Indiana Conference (NIC) sending the undefeated Knights to the wide open spaces of east LaPorte County to take on a New Prairie team that defeated them last season. Marian is led by Alexander the Great, senior Alexander Horvath (6-3, 225) who has run 116 times for 1,163 yards and 17 touchdowns in six games. No one has stopped him or even held him under 140 yards. On the Prairie, the Cougars average 320 yards rushing a game and have won five in a row. Junior QB Nick Wilson (5-10, 165) has thrown for 514 yards and run for 896 yards and 13 TDs. This will be a hard night of ropin' and ridin'.

Marian 28, New Prairie 21

Highland (3-3) at Griffith (4-2):

GRIFFITH (09-30-2016)
Highland still hasn't recovered from a 40-point loss at home to Munster over the Labor Day weekend, while Griffith has won three Northwest Crossroads Conference (NCC) league games in a row over Lowell, Highland and Munster. At the start of the year, I thought Highland was the better team, but there's no going against the wind. Griffith is excited about a 4-2 record, the best mark at this point for the Panthers since coach Russ Radtke left to go to New Prairie. This should be another Black Panther Party.

Griffith 33, Highland 20

Hobart (4-2) at Munster (3-3):

MUNSTER (09-30-2016)
Munster was on a three-game winning streak until they lost 24-21 to Griffith last week. Hobart has only lost to Andrean (3-3) and LaPorte (6-0). I really liked how the Mustangs were playing until last week. Of course, I really liked how IU was playing until last week, too. Very close here even though Hobart won this one 34-0 last year.

Munster 23, Hobart 20

ANDREAN (3-3) at Kankakee Valley (2-4):

WHEATFIELD (09-30-2016)
Who is this Teely Ryhne boy of Andrean? The 170-pound junior ran 34 times for 309 yards last week at Highland and is up to 102 carries for 718 yards this season. Let's see if the Kougars have a defensive plan to stop him. Maybe the Jasper County mud stops him. Maybe the 59er bus gets lost on the way to KV. Andrean has scored 50 or more three times in six games.


LOWELL (2-4) at Morton (3-3):

HAMMOND (09-30-2016)
I believe that star safety Jordan Jusevitch is still out for Lowell and star QB Tevin Armstrong is out for Morton. But it's not like the National Football League. There are no injury reports. You don't really know until the game starts. Morton has been out-scored 60-7 the last two weeks. All four Lowell losses are by eight points or less. But that's like saying you were ONLY eight minutes late to class. Four times.

LOWELL 21, Morton 7

Chesterton (2-4) at Lake Central (1-5):

ST. JOHN (09-30-2016)
Chesterton has lost four in a row, but LC has dropped five in a row. LC's Anthony Giles has 114 carries for 928 yards and Josh Benson has 33 catches for 630 yards. The Indians have lost three games by four points or less. Chesterton averages 13 points a game. LC's got to start winning again sometime. Of course, that's what I said about Northwestern.

Lake Central 28, Chesterton 6

Michigan City (5-1) at Portage (4-2):

PORTAGE (09-30-2016)
Portage has won four of their last five, while MC has scored 35 or more four times. Portage option QB Anthony Maceo has 754 yards on 138 carries while MC has allowed 106 points the last three weeks. But a cold, rainy night favors Michigan City senior running cousins Arian Cain Veasey and Markice Hurt, who have combined for 1300 yards. MC won this one 27-26 last year so this is just a guess. Then again, I guessed the Bears would have won a game by now, too.

Portage 21, Michigan City 20

CROWN POINT (2-4) at LaPorte (6-0):

LaPORTE (09-30-2016)
This is not as bad a matchup as it appears to be. LaPorte has thrown just 19 passes all year and CP has given up just 11 TDs in six games. LaPorte has allowed 22 points a game, but the Bulldogs have only scored 70 points all season. If there is a major upset on this night, here it is. But then again, there may not be a major upset on this night.

LaPorte 14, CROWN POINT 10

Valparaiso (4-2) at MERRILLVILLE (3-3)

MERRILLVILLE (09-30-2016) Junior Valpo QB Jake Leffew (67 of 110, 819 yards, 6 TDs) matches up with Merrillville sophomore QB Cam Wright (88 of 159 yards, 1,314 yards, 11 TDs). Valpo fullback Zach Jones (71 carries, 596 yards, 8 TDs) matches runs with Merrillville halfback Davion Ervin Poindexter (131 carries, 619 yards, 11 TDs). Not sure if top Merrillville receiver James Kirklen (20 catches, 420 yards) is okay to play. Valpo has lost only to LaPorte (6-0) and Penn (6-0).

Valparaiso 30, MERRILLVILLE 20

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Revised: September 30, 2016 .