Week 8 - Football Game of the Week Preview

Crown Point (4-3)
at Chesterton (3-4) 

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith
CP senior Zach Ligue (67) hopes to lead teammate Tyler Gomez (42) to wide open spaces Friday night in Chesterton. (Photos by Mark Smith)

When:  Friday, October 6, 2017.

Where:  Chesterton High School - 2125 11th St, Chesterton, Indiana.

TV/Radio/Internet:  Live Internet audio stream on www.USA-365.com.

CROWN POINT - 2,815; CHESTERTON - 2,097.

It will be raining in Chesterton. The high school has artificial turf, but we're probably looking at rain during the evening, which will affect the game. Some forecasts have the rain ending after 8 p.m. Both teams run the ball a lot so while the game will be affected, the outcome probably won't be.


PARKING: Chesterton seems set up for football games. You have to walk a bit to get to the baseball and softball fields, but the football field is right next to the main school lot. With the home team having a losing season and rain expected much of the night, there doesn't figure to be a very large crowd even at the final home game of the year.


WHAT's AT STAKE: Not much. In theory, Crown Point (4-3, 3-2 DAC) can still tie for the Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC) championship by defeating Chesterton this week and Michigan City on Oct. 13. But a lot of other things have to happen. Valparaiso (6-1, 4-1 DAC) and Portage (4-3, 4-1 DAC) both have to lose one of their final two games for CP to have a chance and that would be for a first place tie.

I don't think a 2-way or 3-way tie for the DAC title is an overly high priority for a CP team that won the 6A Sectional 1 title last season.


Chesterton (3-4)
2-8 (2016), 8-3 (2015), 6-5 (2014), 4-7 (2013)
Coach Mark Peterson (5th season, 23-27) DAC games in CAPS

8-18 (W) 35-21 at (4A) Hobart (6-1)
8-25 (W) 33-21 (5A) Munster (2-5)
9-1 (L) 14-35 at (5A) MICHIGAN CITY (5-2)
9-8 (L) 18-20 (6A) LaPORTE (4-3)
9-15 (L) 0-14 (6A) VALPARAISO (6-1)
9-22 (L) 21-31 at (6A) PORTAGE (4-3)
9-29 (W) 42-24 (6A) LAKE CENTRAL (1-6)
10-6 (Fri) 6A CROWN POINT (4-3)
10-13 (Fri) at (6A) MERRILLVILLE (1-6)

6A Sectional 2
10-20 (Fri) at Warsaw (4-3)
10-17 (Fri) vs. Valparaiso (6-1) or at Penn (6-1)

CHESTERTON SCHEDULE: Chesterton won a big game last week, 42-24 over Lake Central. It was big because in 2016, the Trojans won their two nonconference games and then went 0-7 in the Duneland Athletic Conference on the way to finishing 2-8. This season, Chesterton won their two nonconference games, but then lost the first four games in the DAC. While it's a tiny achievement, the 18-point win over LC (1-6) guarantees they take, at least, a small step up from 2016.

I would doubt Chesterton knows a lot about Warsaw (4-3), their 6A Sectional 2 opponent. The Tigers have lost only to East Noble (5-2), Plymouth (5-2) and Northridge (7-0). There is no way to play it down. Chesterton is in a very difficult sectional with Warsaw (4-3), Valparaiso (6-1) and Penn (6-1).

CHESTERTON UPDATE: The Trojans averaged just 14 points a game last year and this year, they average about 23 points a game. There is improvement there. But in the DAC, they were held to 21 or less before the LC game. Quarterback Andrew Zimmerman was 6-of-12 for 170 yards against LC and halfback Lou Razo carried 13 times for 116 yards. Razo (5-10, 185) is a speedy, shifty runner behind an offensive line that has some size in Riley Wologo (6-3, 300), A.J. Waguaman (5-10, 250) and Charlie Bernth (6-5, 250).

The Trojans' best game might have been their first this fall. Razo carried the ball 15 times for 252 yards in the season opening 35-21 win over Hobart (6-1), a game that's proven to be the Brickies' only loss.

The Trojans' best DAC game may have been the 20-18 loss to LaPorte in September. A late TD pass from Zimmerman to Jake Warren cut the lead to two points but Chesterton could not get the ball back with a chance to win.

Defense has been an issue all year. Chesterton gave up 450 yards to Lake Central in the win. LaPorte gained over 375 yards against them. Michigan City and Hobart gained over 350. The Trojans have allowed 20 or more points six times in seven games.
But winning the Homecoming game last week probably lifted spirits for the Trojans and senior players would like to close out the home season (the Trojans are on the road next week and in Warsaw to open the playoffs) with a victory.

(6A) Crown Point (4-3)
6-6 (2016), 1-9 (2015), 8-2 (2014), 6-4 (2013)
coach Kevin Enright (6th year) 33-27...all kickoffs at 7 p.m.
Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC) league games in CAPS
8-18 (L) 13-27 at (4A) Lowell (7-0)
8-25 (W) 35-6 (4A) Highland (2-5)
9-1 (L) 26-34 (6A) MERRILLVILLE (1-6)
9-8 (F) 45-0 (6A) at LAKE CENTRAL (1-6)
9-15 (L) 10-27 at 6A PORTAGE (4-3)
9-22 (W) 21-6 (6A) VALPARAISO (6-1)
9-29 (W) 37-35 (6A) LaPORTE (4-3)

10-6 (F) at CHESTERTON (3-4)
10-13 (F) MICHIGAN CITY (5-2)

Class 6A Sectional
10-20 (F) Merrillville (1-6)
10-27 (F) at Lake Central (1-6) or at Portage (4-3)

CROWN POINT - Crown Point rescued this season with back-to-back home wins over Valparaiso and LaPorte. I don't recall two more dramatic, come-from-behind victories on the home field in consecutive weeks. A win at Chesterton means the Bulldogs will not have a losing season when they had been under or at .500 all year.

Crown Point has to be encouraged by the draw of Merrillville in the 6A Sectional 1 semifinals. The Pirates' 34-26 win at CP is Merrillville's only win of the year and CP certainly would like a chance to reverse that outcome. CP lost 27-10 at Portage when QB Ryan Bolda was hurt in the second quarter. I'm sure they'd like another chance there, too.

While there seems to be no chance that CP could host the sectional championship game, the Bulldogs have been given a realistic shot to defend their sectional championship.


Last week's game was rare. The Bulldogs only stopped LaPorte by grabbing turnovers, the final one a 'blocked field goal' in a 37-35 victory. LaPorte gained 511 yards rushing on 70 carries, totals that are the largest against CP since the turn of the century. The oddity is: CP had been good against the run all season, allowing just 3.2 yards per carry. It had been key passing plays that sparked losses to Lowell, Merrillville and Portage.

Coaches don't look at it this way, but I'm writing off some of last week's woes to the fact that LaPorte runs an offense that nobody else runs in this area. Chesterton and Michigan City (CP's final two opponents) do good things on offense, but they don't do what LaPorte does. I expect a bounce back from the CP defense this week.

CP's Tyler Gomez gained 264 yards on 25 carries and became The Bulldogs' first running back to top 1,000 yards rushing since Tristan Peterson in 2012. CP's offensive line play has been its best in many years. Crown Point averages 6.3 yards per carry, running the ball 234 times (33.4 per game) in seven games.

Last week was good for QB Ryan Bolda, who was 11 of 21 for 120 yards with one TD and one interception. Bolda hit six different receivers and there were no fumbles or mishandled snaps in a close game.

One key to CP's success this fall has been lack of turnovers, Bolda has five interceptions in seven games and CP has lost just two fumbles. The CP defense has five interceptions and 10 fumble recoveries.

Leading tackler Caden Watson (6-1, 205) may have set a CP record last week with 23 recorded tackles including 18 solo tackles. Anthony Haage had 14 tackles, including nine solo stops. Sam Krutz had 14 tackles and eight solo stops. Linebacker Adam Hilliard was credited with 13 tackles. LaPorte just kept coming.

Wide receiver Brett Schoettle (18 catches, 278 yards), also a special teams player, was hurt in the first half last week and it appeared he would miss some time. Senior wide receiver Mark Knox caught his first two passes of the season last week after returning from injury.

Crown Point shut out Chesterton 28-0 last year, but seniors recall a 14-0 loss at Chesterton in 2015. This is the part of the season right before the playoffs when fatigue can slip in. CP can't slip up here after two very difficult games.

1,000-yard Crown Point football running backs 1980 to present

1. Russell Chick (2007) 294 carries, 1,810 yards
2. Brian Parker (1997) 258 carries, 1,702 yards
3. Cody Bacon (2010) 252 carries, 1,497 yards
4. Jon Sertich (2006) 235 carries, 1,492 yards
5. John Young (1987) 215 carries, 1,480 yards
6. Artie Equihua (2014) 215 carries, 1,374 yards
7. Geremy Milner (1995) 226 carries, 1,059 yards
8. Donny Keiser (2005) 205 carries, 1,046 yards
9. Tristan Peterson (2012) 220 carries, 1,066 yards
10. Tyler Gomez (2017) 154 carries, 1,020 yards
11. Mark Minch (1989) 178 carries, 1,013 yards


Chesterton's Ray Banary Field: capacity 4,800


SAGARIN RATINGS: Crown Point by 4.

This spread is about right. CP has defeated two teams (Valparaiso and LaPorte) that defeated Chesteton but the Trojans are at home. Crown Point's loss to Lowell (7-0) lifts their computer stature a lot more than the Bullodgs win over Highland (2-5). But the computer cant forget Chesterton's 35-21 win over 4A No.12 Hobart (6-1) in August. The more Hobart wins, the better that game looks.



CHESTERTON (10-06-2017)
An early Chesterton fumble sets up the Bulldogs, who score near the goal line on a run by Scott Mills. I think the CP run defense, which was strong the first six weeks, returns on this night and CP takes a 10-0 lead on a field goal by Ben Fridrich after a short drive.
The Trojans score on a screen pass from Andrew Zimmerman to Lou Razo, but CP moves the ball consistently and Tyler Gomez scores to make it 17-7 at the half.

The Bulldogs will run for 200 yards on this night and Gomez' second TD ups the lead to 24-7 in the third quarter. A second TD pass by Zimmerman closes the gap to 24-14, but a second Fridrich field goal ends the scoring.

Crown Point should be a good 'bad weather' team. They have a lot of power up front and most passes are short and quick. Razo will get 100 yards, but without a lot of turnovers, CP should get a third consecutive victory.


Copyright 2017 USA-365.com and Meyer Multimedia Services, a division of Meyer Broadcasting Corp.  All rights reserved.
Revised: October 05, 2017 .