Week 8 - Football Game of the Week Preview

Chesterton (2-5) at
Crown Point (2-5)

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith



I don't know how sunny its going to be, but Crown Point should do well in the final home game of the regular season this Friday. (Photo by Mark Smith)

When: 7:00 p.m. Friday, October 7, 2016

Where: at Crown Point High School, 1500 South Main, Crown Point; one mile south of the CP downtown square.


Radio/Internet: No 'over-the-air' radio. Live updates of all local scores all night on WLPR (89.1) FM. Live Internet audio stream on www.USA-365.com.

Enrollment: CROWN POINT - 2,664; CHESTERTON - 2,030.


WEATHER: The forecast is a little more optimistic as the week goes on. There will be some rain Thursday and Friday but it may clear up by game time on the artificial turf at CPHS. We are going to see a significant Temperature drop sometime Friday so no shorts and T-shirts for this game. With temperatures in the mid 50s, this could be (and I've said that before) a pretty good night for the players, if a bit chilly and windy for fans.

PARKING: Reality check time: Chesterton has lost five games in a row and they lost 38-0 last week, so almost nobody is coming all the way from Chesterton to the south end of Crown Point for this game. I'm hoping for a good Bulldog crowd if the rain clears up. One good thing. You will not be bothered by a huge crowd and you should be able to park fairly close to the field. CP also is favored to win, so it's a good night to come out.


WHAT's AT STAKE: Nothing. Both teams badly need a win. CP has lost two in a row. Crown Point and Chesterton are not in the same sectional anymore, so this isn't a playoff preview. We're playing for pride and a chance for a late season victory this Friday and one team is going home with just pride.

The HISTORY: Chesterton high school has been around since the early part of the 20th century, but they don't have any real connection to Crown Point or CPHS. Except for one.

In 1968, the Chesterton school Corporation merged with the Liberty Township School Corporation to become the Duneland School Corporation. To handle increasing enrollment, they built a new Chesterton high school and things were fine. For a while.

In the 1990s, the 'new' building was becoming overcrowded and the corporation decided to build again and they developed 92 acres on the present site. The new school, which opened in the year 2000, became Chesterton and the old high school was renovated and became Chesterton Middle School.

During this time, Crown Point was looking to leave its four decade old building just west of the downtown square and build a new Crown Point high school at the south end of town. The story is that Chesterton is one of the schools former athletic director Jerry Caravana looked at when he detailed what was needed in the new CPHS.

If you have been inside both schools, especially in the hallways and the gymnasium, you can see the similarities. Chesterton high school also has its own radio station, WSDO (88.3) FM, a 400-watt outlet that has only students on the air. You must take a year-long class to be an on-air contributor. The transmitter remains at the old Chesterton high school, which is now the middle school. But new studios were included at the new school when it opened in 2000. WSDO has been on the air for 40 years. Every school should have its own radio station.

Chesterton does not have a history of success in football, to be kind. The program has never won a sectional title in football and 'never' is a long, long time. I hope I can see the day when the Trojans win, but it's not likely to be this year. Chesterton is in the same sectional with Penn (7-0) and LaPorte (7-0).

One other CPHS-CHS connection: Crown Point athletic director Bill Dorulla was Chesterton's head varsity football coach from 1994-2000.

IHSAA Post-Season Pairings

Class 6A Sectional 1 = Oct. 28 - semifinals

Lake Central (2-5) at CROWN POINT (2-5)
MERRILLVILLE (3-4) at Portage (4-3)

Class 6A Sectional 2 = Oct. 28 - semifinals

LaPorte (7-0) at Chesterton (2-5)
Valparaiso (5-2) at Penn (7-0)

REGIONAL OUTLOOK: Penn is the defending champion and they have allowed only 45 points all season. Last week, the Kingsmen won 51-0, scoring three touchdowns on kickoff returns. In August, they defeated Valparaiso 27-7 and Merrillville 35-2.

LaPorte has 2,198 yards rushing (314 per game) in seven games and QB Nolan Lorenz is 16 of 23 for 345 yards, four TDs and no interceptions.

Lake Central halfback Anthony Giles has 942 yards on 115 carries and four 100-yard games. Coach Brett St. Germain had to leave the team after the 17-3 loss to Crown Point last month, but he's back in charge as of this week. LC QB Zach Bundalo, in his sophomore season, is 66 of 131 for 931 yards, 11 touchdowns and four interceptions. LC lost top receiver Austin Atkins to injury in the second game of the season but he also returned last week, catching one pass for 34 yards.

For sectional championship games, LaPorte vs. Penn would be in LaPorte. Crown Point vs. Merrillville would be at Merrillville. For the regional, Crown Point would probably be at Penn.



- They say that defense wins, but Chesterton has a decent defense. They just can't score. The Trojans have scored 79 points all season and just 40 points (they have been shut out twice) in five Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC) games. They have not been able to settle on a quarterback and what was a good start (2-0 in August) has drifted away. Last week, the Trojans were out-gained 374-79 and earned just three first downs. LC ran 48 times for 286 yards.

This has been an unusually balanced year in the DAC and there's no 'get well' week. Once Chesterton got knocked down, they could not, as a team, find a good opportunity to get back up. The Trojans lost the DAC opener 20-0 to Michigan City and then lost 49-14 at LaPorte and 34-14 at Valparaiso. The Trojans get a rematch against Chesterton to start state tournament play on October 28. If they win, they play either Valpo (5-2) or Penn (7-0). That's what I mean about not getting a chance to get back up. No one is saying this at Chesterton certainly, but they may look at this game against Crown Point (2-5) as their last chance to get another win.

RB/WR - Rhett Rhondinelli (6-1, 175) Senior:
Rhett Rhondinelli caught 33 passes for 387 yards and seven TDs last fall and this year has run 36 times for 176 yards. Two weeks ago, a TD run by Rhondinelli gave Chesterton a 13-6 lead with 9:32 left in the fourth quarter against Portage, before the Indians rallied to win 22-13. Rhett has a lot of speed and Chesterton will try to get him the ball any way they can. You might see Rhondinelli in the backfield and he might even get a direct snap.

QB/WR - Lyric McFarrin (5-8, 175) Sophomore:
Lyric McFarrin carried 12 times for 111 yards and three went for two TDs in the Trojans' last win, 25-22 over Munster back in August. But sophomore Corey Boren and junior Andrew Zimmerman appeared to split time at QB in the 38-0 loss at Lake Central last week. Two weeks ago, McFarrin, playing wide receiver, caught a TD pass from Zimmerman. I can't tell you who will and won't play QB Friday for Chesterton, but Lyric McFerrin will be out there somewhere.

HB - Lou Razo (5-10, 170) Junior:
In Chesterton's last win, the 25-22 victory over Munster in August, Lou Razo caught three passes for 124 yards including touchdowns of 43 and 81 yards. Obviously, he has some open field speed and the Trojans will try to get him the ball. I think Chesterton will use some non-quarterback formations in which Razo might take part. Crown Point has to expect anything from the Trojans who are obviously still searching for a consistent offense. Lou Razo figures to be a part of it Friday night.


- The Bulldogs tried a lot of different things last week. Six different players ran the ball. Four different players threw passes. The 34-16 loss at undefeated LaPorte was CP's third in a row, but it was not without highlights; a 93-yard kickoff return by sophomore Brett Schoettle set up one CP touchdown. Junior Ben Fridrich kicked a season best 40-yard field goal.

But last week was the sixth time this season that Crown Point has scored 17 points or less. It's the 15th time in two seasons that CP has scored 19 or less. One problem rose up last week that came from nowhere. Crown Point was called for 14 penalties, losing 120 yards. It was odd. Two weeks ago, CP drew two penalties against Valparaiso. Three weeks ago, they committed just six penalties for 40 yards against Portage.

I think the Bulldogs may get a lift from the IHSAA draw, which gave them a home game against a Lake Central team they defeated earlier. CP will be looking for another 'lift' Friday night against Chesterton.

Kicker - James Priddy (5-9, 155) Junior:
Okay, you don't want your punter to be a highlight. True. But James Priddy did get 38.2 yards a kick on five boots last week at LaPorte. For the season, the junior averages just under 29 yards a kick on 34 punts. But his kicking last week, which included a 50-yard punt, helped CP stay close for awhile.

LB - Caden Watson (5-11, 185) Junior:
Watson was credited with 15 tackles against LaPorte's hard running attack last week including nine solo tackles. For the year, Caden has been in on 84 tackles (including nine tackles for losses) and has posted 59 solo tackles including two quarterback sacks. Watson had 77 tackles including 53 solo tackles in his debut in 2015. CP at 2-5, still has allowed just 119 points (17 per game) in seven games so far.

WR - Shane McCormick (6-6, 185) Senior:
It was late and the game may have been out of reach, but Shane McCormick's 78-yard pass and run TD play with quarterback Grayson Lynk last week speaks positively on what might happen this month. For the season, McCormick has 332 yards on 21 catches including two TDs. Shane also has run back eight kickoffs for an 18.5 yard average. Chesterton had problems in pass defense last week. Could be a good night for Shane McCormick on a night where the Bulldogs badly need a win.

at CPHS Stadium - capacity: 4,800 in CP

Sagarin Computer rankings:  CP by 8

CROWN POINT (10-07-2016) Both teams are 2-5, but CP has been a little closer in most games. The difference in this spread is probably because Crown Point defeated Lake Central 17-3, a team Chesterton lost to 38-0. The Trojans did defeat Munster (3-4) and Kokomo (4-2) in August, but they lost every game in September. An eight point spread is a little high, but CP should be favored.
For the record, LaPorte was a 15-point computer favorite over CP last week and they won 34-16. Two weeks ago Valpo was a 9-point computer favorite over CP and they won 21-7. As I say here many times, the computer rankings get more accurate as the season goes on because there's just more game results to be considered.


CROWN POINT (10-07-2016) Chesterton does not throw much, so this game will be over so quickly everybody can get home to watch the Cubs in the National League playoffs. I like CP to get in the end zone early on a short run by QB Grayson Lynk. The Trojans will hold CP a few times, but Griff Govert will score in the second quarter for a 14-0 edge.

The Bulldogs will be able to force Chesterton to the air and Zach Stewart will grab an interception to set up a third CP TD. Crown Point has struggled all year to score, but the run-oriented Trojans are a good matchup for their defense. CP will lead all the way and win easily.

CROWN POINT 21, Chesterton 0

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Revised: October 07, 2016 .