Week 9 Picks - 2016 NW Indiana High School Football
A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith
October 14, 2016
It's a long way to Morocco. But not if you live in Cedar Lake. That's where Hanover Central (8-0) gets on the bus to visit North Newton (7-1) in tonight's most significant game. The winner is the champion of the south division of the Greater South Shore Conference and Hanover is looking to finish the regular season undefeated for the first time ever. (Photo by Mark Smith)
'Mr. Picker' WEEK-8, 2016 Football Picks in Review:
Oct. 7-8, 2016
Wrong - 2; Right - 8 = 80.0%
The Pick The Result
Calumet 28, River Forest 21
(wrong) RF 21-7
Hobart 27, Morton 12
HANOVER 21, South Central 20
Lafayette Catholic 28, Rensselaer 14
Lafayette Catholic 52-16
West Side 30, Clark 16
Gary West Side 20-16
ANDREAN 27, Griffith 21
(wrong) Griffith 28-13
LOWELL 16, Munster 13
CROWN POINT 24, Chesterton 0
CROWN POINT 28-0
Lake Central 28, MERRILLVILLE 14
Lake Central 23-7
LaPorte 42, Michigan City 28
WEEK (8) EIGHT (8 of 10, 80.0%)
WEEK (7) SEVEN (7 of 10, 70.0%)
WEEK (6) SIX (5 of 10, 50.0%)
WEEK (5) FIVE (5 of 10, 50.0%)
WEEK (4) FOUR (7 of 10, 70.0%)
WEEK (3) THREE (7 of 10, 70.0%)
WEEK (2) TWO (7 of 10, 70.0%)
WEEK (1) ONE (7 of 12, 58.3%)
SEASON TO DATE: (53 of 82, 64.6%)
ANALYSIS: Could have been 10-0. I went against the wave picking against Griffith when the Panthers were on a winning streak. And Calumet, playing for the first time on their fancy new 'Home of the Warriors' jumped to a quick 7-0 lead, but then gave up 21 unanswered points. This was a week where I could've won 'em all.
WORST PICK: Andrean over Griffith by six when they won by 15. It wasn't that close. Bad pick. To be honest, if Calumet was playing their first-ever home game again. I might pick them again. In fact I would pick them again.
BEST PICK: CP over Chesterton 24-0 and they won 28-0? Maybe, but Chesterton has not been able to score much most weeks. The best pick was LaPorte over Michigan City 42-28 when they won 42-35. Almost an exact score and definitely the type of game everybody expected.
'Mr. Picker' (Through the Years)
2015 (final) OVERALL: 131 of 174 = 75.2%
2014 (final) OVERALL: 131 of 176 = 74.4%
2013 (final) OVERALL: 130 of 175 = 74.2%
2012 (final) OVERALL: 137 of 177 = 77.4%
2011 (final) OVERALL: 134 of 184 = 72.7%
2010 (final) OVERALL: 135 of 184 = 73.3%
2009 (final) OVERALL: 154 of 212 = 72.6%
2008 (final) OVERALL: 145 of 193 = 75.1%
2007 (final) OVERALL: 143 of 188 = 76.0%
2006 (final) OVERALL: 166 of 217 = 76.4%
2005 (final) OVERALL: 170 of 233 = 72.9%
Mr. Picker 2016 WEEK (9)
Sometimes these week nine games see teams going through the motions because they know what they're up against in week 10, the opening night of the post-season. I am anxious to see what kind of games we have in 5A and 6A, since those brackets have a bye week on October 21. A game like 6A Crown Point at 5A Michigan City is a good example. Neither side plays next week and they cannot meet in the post-season. The coaches and players don't have to over think this one. Just play. Saturday morning, the focus will very much have moved on.
A nonconference game like 4A East Chicago against 4A Morton vs. 4A Gavit is another story. All sides have playoff games on Oct. 21 and Morton also plays Gavit in the sectional quarterfinals on October 21. When you play the same team two weeks in a row and the second meeting is winner-take-all, I don't believe the first meeting is played or coached like a normal game.
That last week of the season factor makes this week totally unpredictable. Because if any starter gets even a minor injury, there's a chance his coach gets him out of the game quick, fast and in a hurry. With respect, let me leave out Merrillville vs. Chesterton. The Trojans are out-manned. To be honest, there's not a lot of great matchups in the final week. But, at least, the Cubs playoff game isn't on Friday like it was last week.
WEEK (9) NINE
Bishop Noll (0-8) at Lake Station (2-6):
LAKE STATION (10-14-2016) Not sure what's happened to Lake Station. After a 2-2 start, they've lost their last four and they've only scored 2 TDs in four weeks. I wonder if a key offensive player is hurt? In Lake Station's first four games, they scored 78 points. The Eagles will get no sympathy here, however. Bishop Noll has lost 22 games in a row. Noll has been better in recent weeks. I'm calling the upset here. Bishop Noll has to stop the streak some time.
Bishop Noll 20, Lake Station 14
Hammond (2-6) at Clark (0-8):
HAMMOND (10-14-2016) Okay, can Clark please win, too? The Pioneers have lost 20 games in a row, but they lost just 20-16 at Gary West Side last Friday. Clark is a 4A school, so if they don't win this Friday, they will go 0-10. There is nobody they can beat in Sectional 17. Hammond has two wins, but they are over West Side (1-6) and (Indianapolis) Marshall (0-8). If Clark broke their 20-game losing streak on the same night that Bishop Noll broke their 22-game losing steak, there would be a group celebration picnic in north Hammond Saturday afternoon. I just don't see this one happening.
Hammond 26, Clark 14
Morton (3-5) at Gavit (4-3):
HAMMOND (10-14-2016) Okay, how do you play this? Gavit and Morton meet again in seven days in 4A Sectional 17 at Morton. I think you hold out any players who are hurt at all. You're almost better off resting 6 or 7 starters and losing so you can 'get revenge' next week. Seriously, I'd play the junior varsity. Morton has lost three in a row and they may play a little harder to win. But there is little to gain for either side on this night.
Morton 21, Gavit 20
LOWELL (4-4) at ANDREAN (4-4):
MERRILLVILLE (10-14-2016) Tons of fun here. Lowell's highly-rated defense against Andrean's spread offense with three and four receivers on most plays. The Devils have been using both quarterbacks (senior Dayton Hornickel and sophomore Ethan Igras) and it's been working in the last two games, both decisive wins. Andrean's spread attack is tough, but one of Lowell's strengths is the defensive secondary.
LOWELL 35, ANDREAN 21
Griffith (6-2) at East Chicago (6-1):
EAST CHICAGO (10-14-2016) Who wins? Who cares? I don't mean that no one is interested in the outcome. I'm eager to see these two match up. I just don't know how much the teams care. Both teams have won their league championships and both have a playoff game in seven days. Griffith has some quickness, but I don't know if they have the speed of EC and all-purpose star Devontae Jones. Does EC's Tylee Rimmer really have 18 touchdowns? That's No. 1 in Northwest Indiana. But how much do you risk him tonight?
East Chicago 35, Griffith 28
CROWN POINT (3-5) at Michigan City (6-2):
MICHIGAN CITY (10-14-2016) MC's 1,000-yard man Aryuan Cain-Veasey goes against Crown Point's defense that has held five teams to 10 points or less. CP's Grayson Lynk threw for 200 yards last week and he'll take on a Wolves' defense that has been challenged. Since the consolidation of (Michigan City) Elston and (Michigan City) Rogers into what is now Michigan City high in 1995, the Wolves have never won more than seven games in any season. They go into this game at 6-2.
Michigan City 20, CROWN POINT 10
LaPorte (8-0) at Portage (5-3):
PORTAGE (10-14-2016) Here's a game where I think LaPorte is aided by the bye in week 10. If the undefeated had a playoff game to play on Oct. 21, they'd have to hold out any players with any minor injuries. But they don't. So they won't. LaPorte has 140 rushing first downs in eight games. Portage QB Anthony Maceo has been very hard to tackle for everybody and the Slicers are vulnerable against the run. This should be a high scoring game of runs.
LaPorte 42, Portage 28
Valparaiso (5-3) at Lake Central (3-5):
ST. JOHN (10-14-2016) Valpo lost a chance to tie for the DAC when they lost to Portage last week. Lake Central may be near full strength for the first time this season. Valpo junior QB Jake Leffew (93 of 158, 1,049 yards, 7 TDs and 2 interceptions) and LC sophomore Zach Bundalo (78 of 153, 1,020 yards, 11 TDs, 4 interceptions) match passes in a DAC 'throw down' for the first time. At the start of the year, I thought LC was the best team in the DAC. They have played like it recently and will again Friday.
Lake Central 31, Valparaiso 21
Highland (4-4) at Hobart (6-2):
HOBART (10-14-2016) Hobart is a really good team. I don't know why I'm not more impressed. Big Nick Ray has 1,055 yards and 12 TDs on just 150 carries. Scoring threats in Brandon James (19 catches, 344 yards, 3 TDs) and Jared Zanolla (31 carries for 236 yards and 2 TDs plus 20 catches for 317 yards, 3 TDs). Only two losses to Andrean (4-4) and LaPorte (8-0). What's Highland got here? Hope. And a long ride home.
Hobart 35, Highland 14
HANOVER CENTRAL (8-0) at North Newton (7-1):
MOROCCO (10-14-2016) Hanover's won eight in a row. North Newton has won six in a row. Leave the pass defense at home, Hanover. North Newton has thrown 34 passes all season. Justin Harrell (5-11, 195) has carried 195 times for 1,152 yards while Junior Nick Snow has 9 TDs and 11 tackles for loss on defense. Hanover has thrown just 54 passes all season and they have 2,638 yards rushing. Senior Dustin Lindley, who came in when the program started as a JV team four years ago, has 17 touchdowns and 1,048 yards gained on 141 carries. The winner here is the champion in the south division of the Greater South Shore Conference (you can't get much further south in Northwest Indiana than North Newton) and will be the only undefeated team in league play in either division. North Newton has not won eight games in a season since 1993, but Hanover has never (HC had football in the late 1960s and early 1970s) completed any regular season undefeated. Hanover Central has just enough to come home happy here.
HANOVER 28, North Newton 26
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Revised: October 14, 2016 .