Week 9 - Football Game of the Week Preview

Crown Point (3-5) at
Michigan City (6-2)

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith



The crowd will be larger than this Friday night at Ames Field in Michigan City when the Wolves end the regular season against Crown Point. (Photo by Mark Smith)

WHEN: 7:00 p.m. CDT, Friday, October 12, 2018

 Ames Field – 3 miles north of I-94 at US-421 (remember, the field is not at the high school).

 The only Northwest Indiana outlet for this game is the live Internet audio stream at www.USA-365.com.


CROWN POINT - 2,805; Michigan City – 1,681.

WEATHER: Sometimes when you go to Ames Field in Michigan City, the cool breeze off the Lake Michigan makes it a perfect night. This will not be one of those times. Daytime highs will be in the upper 40s and second half temperatures may slip into he 30s. If you have any secret strategy for staying warm at a football game, this is the night to put it into action. The coldest night of the season so far.


PARKING: Ames Field doesn’t have ton of parking next to the field, but there is an empty supermarket lot east of 421.
I don't think a large crowd is heading east from Crown Point, but this is the final regular season game for Michigan City seniors after a very successful two years, so the home stands may be full.


WHAT’s AT STAKE: Michigan City needs a win and a Valparaiso loss to Lake Central to get a half share of the Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC) championship. That’s no big deal under normal circumstances, but Michigan City has never finished in first place in the DAC.

Crown Point needs to win or, at least, play well to set themselves up for the Class 6A Sectional 1 playoffs, which begin on October 26.


The HISTORY: Michigan City, with a population of about 31,000, is 40 miles west of South Bend and 50 miles east of Chicago on the southern tip of Lake Michigan. I never know if they consider themselves in the ‘Michigan (Michigan Indiana border) area or if they are part of Northwest Indiana. They could be both.

This is the second ‘Michigan City high school.

What is now Michigan City high school is the 1995 consolidation of the old Elston and Rogers high schools. What became Elston was the original Michigan City high school, going back to the late 19th Century. Rogers split from Elston in 1971 and lasted 24 years. Isaac Elston is the person who founded Michigan City in 1840 and sits 40 miles west of South Bend and 50 miles east of Chicago.

In truth, Michigan City high school is a basketball school. The 'Wolves' Den' is the 10th largest high school gym in the United States, seating 7,100. Indiana football has always been a long walk down a dusty road. Elston lost 20 games in a row in the early 1990s and... 26 games in a row in the early 1970s. Rogers lost its first eight games as a school in 1971 and 1972 and the Raiders lost their last 12 games in 1993 and 1994 before the consolidation.

This is only MC’s ninth winning season in the school’s second existence since the consolidation. But three of those winning seasons (the last 3) have come under new coach Phil Mason, who coached Andrean to the 2014 state finals. MC won its first sectional and regional title in 2017, losing the semistate game 21-14 at Kokomo.

MC’s three-year run of 7-4 (2016), 9-4 (2017) and 6-2 (2018) is not the surge of the ages, but its the best three year stretch since the 1995 consolidation. And players are transferring in to MC (Lyric McFarrin from Chesterton), Detrick Merriweather from LaPorte) instead of transferring out or simply not coming out for the team.

The big boost to Michigan City fortunes, along with Mason and his coaching staff, was the IHSAA’s move to create a Class 6A four years ago. Michigan City remained 5A, but Class 6A took away many of the larger schools that blocked MC’s path to post-season titles.

Before 6A, Michigan City needed to get past all the larger Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC) schools to get out of the region in the playoffs. Now, only LaPorte consistently blocks their lane to a sectional title in 5A. These are good times for Michigan City football. The Wolves were in the semistate last year and there are no winning teams (teams with a winning record after 8 weeks) between them and another semistate berth in November.


Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC)

1. Valparaiso (6-0) 6-2
2. Michigan City (5-1) 6-2
3. Merrillville (4-2) 5-3
4. Portage (3-3) 4-4
5. LaPorte (2-4) 2-6
6. CROWN POINT (2-4) 2-6
7. Chesterton (2-4) 3-5
8. Lake Central (0-6) 2-6

Michigan City 49, Lake Central 6
Portage 20, Chesterton 14 (OT)
Valparaiso 38, CROWN P0INT 7

LaPorte (2-6) at Portage (4-4)
Merrillville (5-3) at Chesterton (3-5)
Valparaiso (6-2) at Lake Central (2-6)
CROWN POINT (3-5) at Michigan City (6-2)
(end of the regular season)

DAC COMMENTS: The DAC race is over unless Lake Central pulls off the upset of the year and defeats 6A No. 10 Valparaiso. If that does not happen, Valparaiso wins the league title for the second year in a row. All eight DAC teams get a quarterfinal bye in the state tournament next week, but the six Class 6A DAC schools go head to head on October 26. Because of the sectional assignments, only three DAC teams can possibly survive sectional play and only two can survive the regional.

Michigan City (6-2)
9-4 (2017), 7-4 (2016), 2-7 (2015), 4-6 (2014)
Coach Phil Mason (22-10) 3rd year, DAC games in CAPS
8-17 (W) 53-0 at (4A) Griffith (6-2)
8-24 (L) 30-33 (OT)
Homewood-Flossmoor (6-1)
9-1 (W) 28-10 at (6A) CHESTERTON (3-5)
9-7 (L) 7-14 (6A) VALPARAISO (6-2)
9-14 (W) 42-21 at (6A) MERRILLVILLE (5-3)
9-21 (W) 49-6 (6A) LAKE CENTRAL (2-6)
9-28 (W) 49-14 at (6A) PORTAGE (4-4)
10-5 (W) 52-8 (5A) LaPORTE (2-6)
10-12 (Fri) (6A) CROWN POINT (3-5)

Class 5A Sectional 9
10-29 (Fri) vs. Munster (1-7)
11-2 (Fri) vs. LaPorte (2-6) or Adams (3-5)



Michigan City’s numbers are very impressive. The Wolves have gained 1,837 yards rushing and 1,306 yards passing. That’s 392 yards per game. The key is senior rookie quarterback Bryce Hayman (5-8, 175) who is 87 of 161 passing for 1,274 yards 16 touchdowns and just five interceptions.

Hayman was the junior varsity QB in 2017, but he has had a strong season passing and running (49 carries, 254 yards) for a team that expected to win. Halfback Lyric McFarrin (5-9, 180) was a safety for three games until he was switched to offense. McFarrin, the Chesterton transfer and a former quarterback, has carried 59 times for 727 yards and 13 touchdowns. Fullback Michael Bradford (6-0, 190) has 59 carries for 379 yards.

Michigan City has four of the five offensive linemen who played on the regional championship team in 2017, including left tackle Jared Brinkman (6-2, 250).

Hayman’s receivers have all excelled, including tight end Justin Wozniak (6-3, 245) who has 125 yards and four TDs on just 12 catches. Demetrius Garrett (6-1, 170) and Zennon Wilhelm (5-10, 175) who have combined for 49 catches and 895 yards. Garrett (19 catches for 417 yards) has six TDs.

Defensively, MC has allowed just 1,596 yards and only 13 TDs in eight games. Senior Chase Triplett (6-3, 225) is a Division I player while McFarrin and Marquan Hurt 5-10, 175) are top perimeter defenders. Michigan City has allowed 73 points (12.1) total in the first six DAC league games and the Wolves have won six times this year by 18 points or more.

(6A) Crown Point (3-5)
7-5 (2017) 6-6 (2016), 1-9 (2015), 8-2 (2014)
Coach Kevin Enright (7th year) 39-33
8-17 (L) 7-17 (4A) Lowell (6-2)
8-24 (W) 14-10 at (4A) Highland (4-4)
8-31 (L) 21-26 at (6A) MERRILLVILLE (5-3)

9-7 (W) 21-3 (6A) LAKE CENTRAL (2-6)
9-14 (L) 12-14 (6A) PORTAGE (4-4)
9-21 (L) 7-38 at (6A) VALPARAISO (6-2)

9-28 (W) 24-21 at (5A) LaPORTE (2-6)
10-6 (L) 14-17 (6A) CHESTERTON (3-5)
10-13 (Fri) at (5A) MICHIGAN CITY (6-2)

6A State Tournament

10-27 (Fri) vs. Portage (4-4)
11-2 (Fri) at LC (2-6) or MERRILLVILLE (5-3)


Crown Point has three very difficult losses to Merrillville 26-21, Portage 14-12 and Chesterton 17-14, games they could easily have won. Their task, a difficult one, is to think of themselves as a team that is good enough to be 6-2 as opposed to 3-5.

The Bulldogs have run the ball much better the last two weeks. Senior halfback Scott Mills ran 28 times for 195 yards two weeks ago against Portage and he was 27 for 147 yards last week against Chesterton. Assuming that Mills (176 carries, 668 yards, 9 TDs) didn’t just learn how to run two weeks ago, the difference is probably the Bulldog offensive line.

Sophomore QB Will Pettit (90 of 189, 839 yards 6 TDs) threw three interceptions last week, although one was simply a ‘prayer pass’ in the final seconds. Pettit and junior wide receivers Tysen Cazy (27 catches, 310 yards, 3 TDs) and David O’Toole (19 catches, 211 yards) will get a big test in Michigan City against the Wolves experienced defense.

Defensively senior Adam Hillard (6-0, 190) was in on 14 tackles last week. Ethan Potosky (6-0, 190) leads the Bulldogs with 51 solo tackles and 17 tackles for losses. CP has allowed only 225 yards and 18 points per game, but the Bulldogs have only scored 120 points (15 per game) all season, a number that has to rise when sectional play begins on October 26.

In facing Michigan City, CP will take on a defense that is similar to Portage and Merrillville, their likely two sectional opponents.

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

Ames Field: capacity 5,000



CROWN POINT: There are many reasons here. CP has lost to Portage, Merrillville and Chesterton, three teams Michigan City defeated easily. I’m worried about this number. As I’ve said many times, the computer gets much better at picking point spread the longer the season goes. Last week, the computer said Chesterton by 1. The Trojans won 17-14. Three weeks ago, the computer said: Valpo by 27. The Vikings won 38-7.



MICHIGAN CITY (10-12-2018) This is not a good matchup for Crown Point. The Bulldogs must pave the way for another 100-yard night by Scott Mills to stay close and the Michigan City defensive front hasn't allowed much of that.

I won't drag this out. On ‘Senior Night,’ the Wolves will get 150 yards rushing and another 150 passing. Unless they turn the ball over three times, the Wolves will pull away in the second half.

The two games on the CP schedule that looked the toughest were the road games at Valparaiso and at Michigan City. CP just needs to get back home without anybody getting hurt and get ready for the playoffs.

Michigan City 28, CROWN POINT 7

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Revised: October 12, 2018 .