Week 9 - Football Game of the Week Preview
|Time is running out on CP's 2019 regular season. Senior Ben Uran and the Bulldogs will host Michigan City Friday night. (Photo by Mark Smith)|
WHEN: 7:00 p.m. CDT, Friday, October 18, 2019
WHERE: 1500 S. Main, Crown Point, Indiana - one mile south of the Old Lake County Courthouse/downtown square.
TV/Radio/Internet: Live Internet audio stream at www.USA-365.com.
ENROLLMENT: Michigan City - 1,740; CP - 2,869.
WEATHER: When I got back to my car after last week’s game, it was 39 degrees. It will be much better this Friday. Low 60s is in the forecast for Friday so CP will play MC in temperatures in the mid-50s. The Bulldogs’ next home game cannot be until Nov. 8 and it probably will be a lot closer to 39 degrees that night. If you want to see CP one more time in good weather, Friday seems like the best bet.
PARKING: This isn't going to be an issue.
It's been a disappointing season for Michigan City and it's a long drive from
LaPorte County. Can't blame the MC folks for not showing up. Let's just say that
there will be plenty of room for anyone who needs a parking space Friday night.
WHAT’s AT STAKE: Not a lot. Both teams are 4-4 so a win, while it won't clinch a winning season, assures the victor they won't have a losing season. Both Michigan City and Crown Point have next week off. Neither team plays until Nov. 1. Crown Point’s seniors are playing at home for what could be the last time. But both teams are playing for pride Friday.
The HISTORY: Michigan City high school is the 1995 consolidation of the old Elston and Rogers high schools. Elston (Isaac Elston is the person who founded Michigan City in 1840) is the original Michigan City high school, going back to the late 19th Century. Rogers split from Elston in 1971 and lasted 24 years until the consolidation.
Michigan City is the smallest school in the eight team Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC) and I wonder about their future in the league. Michigan City had 2,072 students according to the 2005 IHSAA directory and with CP (2,869), and Lake Central (3,268) not getting any smaller, I’ve wondered if MC would be better off in the Northern Indiana Conference (NIC) as Elston was prior to joining the DAC in 1993.
The problem with that is that MC’s arch rival is LaPorte (1,807 kids) and LaPorte is unlikely to ever go back to the NIC (LaPorte was in the NIC in the 50s, 60s and 70s) because they have been more competitive in the DAC than MC has.
I’ve also wondered if Michigan City would ever be considered in the Great Lakes Conference which includes East Chicago, Morton Gavit, Gary West Side and a soon to be bigger and better (a new building is under construction) Hammond high.
Travel would be an issue for MC in the Great Lakes Conference but travel is an issue for MC teams now. And the Wolves would certainly compete much better in all sports in the Greater Lakes Conference than they do in the DAC.
There is always the option of remaining in the DAC, but as Michigan City high school gets smaller, there’s going to have to be a judgment made about where the schools’ athletes can have a reasonable chance to compete.
46th Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA)
ANALYSIS: Chesterton is in very good shape trying to win the
school’s first sectional championship final game. The Trojans will host Warsaw
and then they will likely host Penn for the title.
The Jefferson-Merrillville game is crucial to this entire half of the bracket. For Crown Point fans: If Jeff (8-0) wins, CP or LC would travel 75 miles to Jefferson. If Merrillville wins, it's a 5-minute drive to play the Pirates.
Crown Point got exactly the draw they wanted. The Bulldogs play on the road against an LC team they have already defeated. With a win, they could get arch rival Merrillville at home in the sectional championship game.
2019 (5A) Michigan City (4-4)
10-3 (2018), 9-4 (2017), 7-4 (2016), 2-7 (2015)
Coach Phil Mason (4th year) 29-15
8-23 (W) 60-7 (4A) Griffith (1-7)
8-30 (L) 19-20 (5A) Warsaw (7-1)
9-6 (W) 21-7 (6A) CHESTERTON (6-2)
9-13 (L) 7-29 (5A) at VALPARAISO (8-0)
9-20 (L) 7-46 (6A) MERRILLVILLE (7-1)
9-28 (L) 7-13 at (6A) LAKE CENTRAL (3-5)
10-4 (W) 28-0 (6A) PORTAGE (1-7)
10-11 (W) 7-3 at (5A) LaPORTE (1-7)
10-18 (Fri.) at (6A) CROWN POINT (4-4)
5A Sectional 9
11-1 (Fri.) vs. LaPorte (1-7)
11-8 (Fri) at Valparaiso (8-0).
MICHIGAN CITY Update:
MICHIGAN CITY – I don't know what version of Michigan City will show up at Crown Point Friday night. At the start of the season, MC was a Top-10 team with eight returning starters on defense. But something changed at mid-season. They had some internal issues and it's been a hard ride ever since. The defense is still there as the last two weeks (28-0 over Portage and 7-3 over LaPorte) have shown.
Last week quarterback Michael Bradford’s 32-yard second quarter run produced the game’s only TD. But the Wolves held LaPorte to 112 yards and just five first downs on 37 carries.
Bradford is an option QB, a decent thrower, but a runner at heart. He is an excellent open field runner.
At the start of the season, the defense was led by star cornerback Marquan Hurt who had 76 tackles and six forced fumbles last year. But to be absolutely honest, I don't know who is still playing for MC. High school teams understandably don't publicize departures from the team or injuries. The numbers show that MC is a ball control team that relies on the defense to win.
2019 (6A) Crown Point (4-4)
5-7 (2018), 7-5 (2017), 6-6 (2016), 1-9 (2015)
Coach Kevin Enright (7th year) 45-41
8-23 (L.) 19-21 at (4A) Lowell (5-3)
8-30 (W) 24-0 (4A) Highland (3-5)
9-6 (L) 24-27 (OT) (6A) MERRILLVILLE (7-1)
9-13 (W) 10-0 at (6A) LAKE CENTRAL (3-5)
9-20 (W) 22-16 at (6A) PORTAGE (1-7)
9-27 (L) 14-31 (5A) VALPARAISO (8-0)
10-4 (W) 21-10 (5A) LaPORTE (1-7)
10-11 (L) 14-27 at (6A) CHESTERTON (6-2)
10-18 (Fri.) vs. (5A) MICHIGAN CITY (4-4)
6A Sectional 1
11-1 (Fri.) at Lake Central (3-5)
11-8 (Fri) vs. Merrillville (7-1)
or at (Lafayette) Jefferson (8-0).
CROWN POINT Update:
CROWN POINT – Crown Point again played one half last week. They seemed more than a little helpless at Chesterton, falling behind 27-7. But in the second half, they forced three turnovers and held the Trojans scoreless.
The Bulldogs are so inconsistent, averaging just 18 points a game on offense. Junior QB Will Pettit threw three TD passes in week seven against LaPorte but he was intercepted three times a week later at Chesterton.
The Bulldogs don't have a consistent running game, but they are capable of big plays from both junior backs Matthew Walters and Davian Lira.
Michigan City isn't going to give much in deep pass gains and they are solid against the run, so CP will have to master a short passing attack to maintain ball control.
Defensively, the Bulldogs were overwhelmed by the passing attack of Chesterton in the first half, but they rallied at halftime. The biggest task for CP is to maintain confidence. The last three seasons, the Bulldogs have stepped forward from mediocre regular seasons to win Class 6A Sectional 1. The main result from this Friday is to accomplish enough to believe they can do it again.
Michigan City Wolves (4-4) at Crown Point
CP Stadium: capacity 4,800
SAGARIN RATINGS: MC by 4.
Crown Point hasn't beaten a team with a winning record, while Michigan City does have that 21-7 victory over Chesterton. In truth, anything less than three points is basically an even game. MC is very hard to predict at this point, even in cyberspace. For the record, CP was a 3-point underdog last week at Chesterton and they lost 27-14.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN:
CROWN POINT (10-18-2019) Michigan City isn't a passing threat and CP won't be able to do a lot of damage against the Wolves' secondary, so this should be a low-scoring game. The MC defense will turn multiple CP potential touchdown drives into field goal opportunities for CP kicker Sammy Brewer.
The Wolves will take advantage of two turnovers by converting them to two TDs on the board, both of them runs by QB Michael Bradford.
A fourth quarter touchdown pass from Will Pettit to Ben Uran will be the difference. There is no chance of these two teams meeting in the post-season and both teams have next week off. In a game that may lack motivation, CP will grab a narrow win and get ready for the sectional.
CROWN POINT 16, Michigan City 14