Week 9 - Football Game of the Week Preview

Michigan City (5-3)
at Crown Point (5-3)

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith



Coach Kevin Enright and his staff hope to close the regular season with four consecutive wins as CP hosts 5A No. 10 Michigan City this Friday night. (Photo by Mark Smith)

WHEN: 7:00 p.m. CDT, Friday, October 13, 2017

 1500 S. Main, Crown Point, Indiana - one mile south of the Old Lake County Courthouse/downtown square.

 Live updates of all local scores all night on WLPR (89.1) FM. Live Internet audio stream at www.USA-365.com.


Michigan City - 1,788; CP - 2,815.

WEATHER: This looks like a good night. Friday's daylight high temperature is predicted to hit the low-70s, but that's the daytime. With sunset coming well before 7 p.m. now, the temperatures will fall into near perfect "football weather."
A little cool for fans but just right for the boys in the helmets.


PARKING: There's not a lot of people coming from Michigan City for this game. The Wolves are doing well, but I don't remember Michigan City ever bringing a big football crowd to CPHS. When we're talking a 30-mile drive, it's too easy to sit at home and listen on the radio. So Crown Point fans won't find an overly crowded parking lot.

WHAT’s AT STAKE: Both Crown Point (5-3, 4-2 DAC) and Michigan City (5-3, 4-2 DAC) are one game behind Valparaiso (7-1, 5-1 DAC) in the Duneland Athletic Conference. In theory, the winner of Friday night's game in Crown Point could tie for first if Valparaiso loses to Lake Central (2-6, 1-5 DAC).
I've said many times, I don't know how much a half-share of a league championship means to players and coaches. And it wouldn't be a half share. The winner of Friday's Portage (4-4, 4-2 DAC) game against LaPorte (5-3, 4-2 DAC) would also tie for first place if Valparaiso loses Friday.

But my understanding of high school conferences is that if teams tie for first place, all are champions. There are no tie-breakers. So there is a chance that Michigan City and Crown Point are playing for the DAC title this Friday.



Michigan City (5-3)
7-4 (2016), 2-7 (2015), 4-6(2014), 2-8 (2013)
Coach Phil Mason (2nd season, 12-7) DAC games in CAPS

8-18 (W) 25-20 Griffith (7-1)
8-25 (L) 21-63 at (8A) Homewood (Ill.) Flossmoor (6-1)
9-1 (W) 35-14 (6A) CHESTERTON (3-5)
9-8 (L) 14-17 at (6A) VALPARAISO (7-1)
9-15 (W) 56-28 (6A) MERRILLVILLE (1-7)
9-22 (W) 56-14 at (6A) LAKE CENTRAL (2-6)
9-29 (W) 31-14 (6A) PORTAGE (4-4)
10-6 (L) 56-58 at (6A) LaPORTE (5-3)
10-13 (Fri) at (6A) CROWN POINT (5-3)

5A Sectional 9
10-20 (Fri) bye
10-27 (Fri) at Munster (3-5)

MICHIGAN CITY SCHEDULE: Michigan City has a near perfect schedule. They play in a 6A conference and it can't help but ready them for a 5A sectional. The only hole in this theory is that MC's arch-rival LaPorte does the same thing. I don't know how many times MC wants to play Illinois superpower Homewood-Flossmoor. They will tell you they love the competition, but this was one of MCs better teams and they got beat by six TDs.



MICHIGAN CITY - This is a good offensive team led by two-year starting quarterback Mike McCullough (6-2, 165) and senior halfback Daelon Wren (5-7, 175). McCullough is 92 of 172 for 1,609 yards, 14 touchdowns and just five interceptions. Wren has gained 948 yards on 165 carries. McCullough has also run the ball 86 times for 323 yards and seven TDs. If you look at 'touches,' Michigan City has run 467 offensive plays that weren't punts. Of the 467, Mike McCullough has run or passed on 258 of them.

MC's top receivers are Kameron Muhammad (5-6, 155), who has 20 catches for 276 yards; Keyshawn McGill (6-0, 160) who has 29 catches for 647 yards and Zennon Wilhelm (5-10, 145), who has 20 catches for 463 yards.

Mc runs a lot of the same things offensively that Merrillville does. One back and four wide receivers. The wingback comes in motion a lot and takes or fakes a handoff. The Wolves use their speed and their games are track meets. Michigan City averages scoring just under 37 points a game and they allowed 28.5 points a game.

Defensively, Michigan City's numbers are a little misleading because they gave up 63 points to Homewood-Flossmoor and 58 to LaPorte. Against normal offenses, MC has been OK on defense.

Linebacker Christian Vasquez (5-11, 205) has 55 tackles including 11 tackles for losses. Junior linebacker Chase Triplett (6-3, 210) has been in on a team leading 92 tackles. Lineman Braden Fiske (6-4, 245) reportedly was hurt and missed the loss to LaPorte last week.
I don't believe Michigan City has kicked a field goal all season. They have 41 touchdowns in eight games and the Wolves have a balanced attack with 1,605 yards passing and 1,624 yards rushing.
To Michigan City, even a third of the DAC title might be considered a major achievement. Michigan City, a consolidation of Elston and Rogers high schools in 1995, has never finished at the top of the DAC in varsity football.

(6A) Crown Point (5-3)

6-6 (2016), 1-9 (2015), 8-2 (2014), 6-4 (2013)
coach Kevin Enright (6th year) 34-27, all kickoffs at 7 p.m.
Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC) league games in CAPS

8-18 (L) 13-27 at (4A) Lowell (8-0)
8-25 (W) 35-6 (4A) Highland (3-5)
9-1 (L) 26-34 (6A) MERRILLVILLE (1-7)
9-8 (F) 45-0 (6A) at LAKE CENTRAL (2-6)
9-15 (L) 10-27 at 6A PORTAGE (4-4)
9-22 (W) 21-6 (6A) VALPARAISO (7-1)
9-29 (W) 37-35 (6A) LaPORTE (5-3)
10-6 (W) 21-7 at (6A) CHESTERTON (3-5)

10-13 Fri. (5A) MICHIGAN CITY (5-3)

Class 6A Sectional
10-20 (F) bye
10-27 (F) Merrillville (1-7)

CROWN POINT SCHEDULE: The Bulldogs' loss to Lowell (8-0) is erased by their win over Valparaiso (7-1). Even in a year when Lake Central and Merrillville have losing teams, CP's schedule was still tough enough. The three-game win streak the last three weeks were all games that might have been in doubt at the start of the season. I think the Bulldogs will welcome the bye week to get ready for 6A Sectional 1.


Last week it was the Crown Point offensive line and running backs that controlled the game. CP ran the ball 40 times for 236 yards. Senior Tyler Gomez carried 25 times for 144 yards and junior Scott Mills added 12 carries for 89 yards. After allowing 500 yards rushing against LaPorte, the CP run defense held Chesterton to 152 yards on 41 carries. The Trojans did not complete a pass in CP's 21-7 victory.

For the season, Crown Point has lost seven turnovers, five interceptions and two fumbles. That's obviously a major reason for the Bulldogs' winning record. Leading tackler Caden Watson (6-1, 205) was in on 13 stops and he is listed with 106 tackles for the season, including 11 tackles for losses.

Gomez has gained at least 100 yards seven games in a row and, if CP can get to the sectional championship game, he could get to the 1,500-yard mark and finish, at least, third all-time among single season CP running backs.

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. Tyler Gomez (2017) 179 carries, 1,164 yards
8. Geremy Milner (1995) 226 carries, 1,059 yards
9. Donny Keiser (2005) 205 carries, 1,046 yards
10. Tristan Peterson (2012) 220 carries, 1,066 yards
11. Mark Minch (1989) 178 carries, 1,013 yards

Michigan City Wolves (5-3) at Crown Point Bulldogs (5-3)

CP Stadium: capacity 4,500



CROWN POINT: This spread could be right. The Wolves' losses are all teams with winning records. CP's loss to Merrillville (1-7) works against them on the computer. Michigan City is rated 10th in the state in Class 5A, CP is unranked in Class 6A.



CROWN POINT (10-13-2017)

In the Bulldogs' 3-game win streak, Valparaiso was on their third string quarterback. LaPorte doesn't throw. Chesterton can't throw. Michigan City will get to the lead early on a pass from Michael McCullough to Keyshawn McGill.

CP rallies on a long drive and a TD run by Tyler Gomez. But the Wolves come back and score on a QB run by McCullough.

Starting the third quarter, a drive falls short and Ben Fridrich's field goal makes it 14-10 for Michigan City. MC breaks loose for a long TD, McCullough to Wilhelm and the Wolves lead by 11.

A TD pass from Ryan Bolda to Ben Fridrich cuts the lead to four, but CP turns the ball over on downs in the final two minutes.

Sometimes I come here and say that the upcoming game is a good matchup for Crown Point. This isn't one of those times. On a clear night, MC's footspeed is a big concern and I think they score just enough for a win at CP.

Michigan City 21, CROWN POINT 17

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Revised: October 12, 2017 .