Week 14 Picks - 2018 NW Indiana High School Football

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith

November 12, 2018


The Viking jeep will be rolling around the 'Home of the Vikings' next Friday as Valparaiso tries to reach the state finals for the first time in 17 years when they host Carmel in the Class 6A Northern Semistate championship game. (Photo by Mark Smith)

"Mr. Picker" - WEEK (14) FOURTEEN:

VALPARAISO (11-16-2018)
This is the big one. The semistate championship game which sends you to the state finals.

Iíve said this before, but if you are a a senior, this is the game you remember. To win the semistate at home is the greatest thing you will ever do as an Indiana high school football player.

Itís the game of your life played a few minutes from where you live. If you live in a town where the school is still in the neighborhood, youíve been walking or riding your bike past that field all your life.

Valparaiso, a school in a neighborhood, gets that chance this Friday against Carmel.

If I was a Valpo senior and we win my last home game and go to the state finals, Iím through the streets of my neighborhood to get home. I don't need a ride.

Only 12 games this week. Let's pick them all. First a review of week-13:

'Mr. Picker' WEEK-13, 2018 Football Picks in Review:
Nov. 9-10, 2018

Wrong - 3; Right - 11 = 78.5%

The Pick The Result

Eastbrook 42, Lapel 28  

Eastbrook 52-21

Whiting 28, Bremen 20  

(wrong) Bremen 42-13

West Lafayette 35, Brebuef 21  

West Lafayette 24-10

Bishop Luers 35, Marian 14  

Bishop Luers 42-6

Marion 27, Mooresville 20  

Marion 19-13

East Central 28, Evansville Central 27  

(wrong) Evansville 28-24

Bishop Dwenger 27, Angola 7  

Bishop Dwenger 40-7

LOWELL 17, Mishawaka 14  

(wrong) Mishawaka 28-14

Michigan City 42, Concord 0  

Michigan City 62-21

New Palestine 56, Harrison 0  

New Palestine 31-7

Valparaiso 20, CP 7  

Valpo 23-6

Carmel 27, Snider 8  

Carmel 20-6

Center Grove 27, Avon 14  

Center Grove 17-0

Warren Central 49, North Central 21  

Warren Central 42-32


Week Thirteen Review: I probably had too much faith in Whiting and Lowell playing on the road against state-rated opponents. I think both teams might have fared better had they played on Saturday instead of Friday (No, Iím not going to let that go. Most other states play some games on Saturday, but I donít know if that was even discussed.

The Lowell-Mishawaka game was tied 14-14 in the fourth quarter. But after 12 games, the Devils found a running attack they could not stop. Whiting was only briefly in the game at Bremen. Whiting was 12-0. I donít know. How did Purdue beat Ohio State and then lose to Minnesota by 31? The games donít make sense sometimes.

Downstate, I only knew of East Central, having seen them in last yearís state finals. I obviously didn't know much about Evansville Central in what turned out to be a close game.

BEST PICK: Slim pickings here. Most winners were obvious. Maybe West Lafayette over Brebuef 35-21 when the score was 24-10. I had the spread right. Valpo over CP 20-7 when they won 23-6. Those scores were somewhat close. It was like predicting election confusion in Florida. Real genius, right?

WORST PICK: Whiting over Bremen 28-20 when they lost 42-13. I thought that since Bremen relied on a passing attack and the weather would be miserable. Edge Whiting. Right? Bremen won easily. I think Whiting has to look at what Griffith is doing schedule-wise. Talk is that after getting blown out in two consecutive sectionals (after rolling through the small school Greater South Shore Conference) Griffith is lifting the degree of difficulty in their nonconference schedule by playing Lowell (10-3) and Valparaiso (10-2) in 2019. Whiting needs to put a couple of bigger schools on the nonconference schedule.

ĎMr. Pickerí  2018 RESULTS
WEEK (13) 11 of 14 = 78.5%
WEEK (12) 7 of 12 = 58.3%
WEEK (11) 15 of 16 = 93.7%
WEEK (10) 16 of 31 = 84.2%

WEEK (9) 8 of 12 = 75.0%
WEEK (8) 10 of 12 = 83.3%
WEEK (7) 10 of 12 = 83.3%
WEEK (6) 9 of 12 = 75.0%
WEEK (5) 8 of 12 = 66.7%
WEEK (4) 10 of 11 = 90.9%
WEEK (3) 9 of 13 = 69.2%
WEEK (2) 12 of 15 = 80.0%
WEEK (1) 10 of 13 = 76.1%

Playoffs (4 weeks) 49 of 61, 80.3%
Season Total (13 weeks): 135 of 173 = 77.4%

'Mr. Picker' (13 Years)
2017 (final) OVERALL: 137 of 184 = 74.4%
2016 (final) OVERALL: 119 of 170 = 70.0%
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' 2018 - WEEK (14) FOURTEEN:

Class 1A South

No. 7 North Vermillion (12-1) at No. 10 (Indianapolis) Lutheran (10-3):

INDIANAPOLIS (11-16-2018)
The NV Falcons have won nine in a row, but theyíve played 10 Class 1A schools. Lutheran has played a better schedule, but North Vermilion just beat 5th-ranked North Central by 20. I donít know. But my philosophy, when I don't know, is to pick the Indy area private school over a public school. More access to talent and coaching and better competition.

Lutheran 34, North Vermillion 27

Class 1A North

No. 2 Adams Central (13-0) at No. 1 Pioneer (13-0):

INDIANAPOLIS (11-16-2018)
A rare meeting of the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked teams in the semistate. That rarely happens this late in the tournament. This will be the final game for Pioneer superstar Jack Kiser who is headed to Notre Dame to be a linebacker. Kiser (who has been the QB since his freshman season), and the Panthers have gone 12-1, 14-1 and 15-0. They carry a 28-game winning streak into this game. Adams Central lost to Pioneer 22-8 in the 2016 semistate so this isn't a mismatch. But Pioneer has shut out 10 teams and they have beaten 13 teams by 35 points or more. The Flying Jets (Adams Centralís nickname) wiped out undefeated and No. 3 Southwood 38-0. But I cant pick Adams Central in this one.

Pioneer 28, Adams Central 14

Class 2A South

No. 10 Southridge (10-3) at No. 1 Western Boone (13-0):

THORNTOWN (11-17-2018)
Western Boone has gained 5,000 yards and scored 75 touchdowns. They average 42 points a game and they just beat No. 2 Scecina 19-7 on the road. Southridge has played a tougher schedule including 4A Jasper (7-5) and 3A Gibson Southern (9-3). Theyíll play this one Saturday afternoon which helps the road team. It's close here.

Western Boone 24, Southridge 21

Class 2A North

Bremen (11-2) at No. 5 Eastbrook (12-1):

MARION (11-16-2018)
Eastbrook has rushed for 4,615 yards and they are the ultimate November men with a double wing slashing option offense. Bremen has jacked up Bluffton (7-5) and Whiting (12-1) in consecutive weeks by the same score 42-13. But Eastbrook has gone 11-1, 13-2, 13-1 and now 12-1. They have 83 touchdowns in 13 games. Bremen can't outscore them because they won't have the ball that much.

Eastbrook 35, Bremen 20.

Class 3A South

No. 5 Bishop Chatard (11-2) at No. 1 Evansville Memorial (13-0):

EVANSVILLE (11-16-2018)
Memorial, the defending 3A state champ, has scored at least 50 points in all four playoff games so far. The Tigers and QB Michael Lindauer (6-3, 200) have scored 89 touchdowns. Lindauer is 206 of 302 for 3,354 yards and 45 touchdowns. Chatard has won 13 state championships. They are a charter member of the ĎIndianapolis Catholic Mafiaí the group of Indy-area private schools that have dominated the Indiana state football tournament since its inception. Chatard has great balance (2,030 yards passing and 1948 yards rushing) and scored 200 points in four playoff games, but they can't score enough here. Both of the 3A games could go either way and they could go big either way.

Evansville Memorial 42, Bishop Chatard 28

Class 3A North

No. 2 West Lafayette (13-0) at No. 10 Bishop Luers (9-4):

FORT WAYNE (11-16-2018)
They will play Friday night so itís a long ride for WL. Could be a long ride home. West Lafayette averages 51 points a game and QB Kent Adams has thrown for 42 TDs. But Luers QB Brad Knapke was 14 of 29 for five TDs last week in an easy 42-6 win over Marian. Luers has played in the very tough Summit Athletic Conference (SAC) and two of the losses are to Wayne (9-3) and Snider (9-3). West Lafayette has been a dominant team for four years (47-7), but Luers has outscored four playoff foes 177-65, they are at home and this is the Bishop Luers that has won 11 state titles. If there is an upset on this night, here it is.

Bishop Luers 35, West Lafayette 28

4A South

No. 4 Marion (12-1) at No. 10 (Evansville) Central (11-2):

EVANSVILLE (11-17-2018)
Marion hasnít reached the state finals in 28 years, but Evansville Central is in the semistate championship for the first time in school history. Central upset defending state champ East Central 28-24 last week while Marion beat No. 6 Mooresville 19-13. This is another Saturday afternoon game, which helps Marion, but Centralís only loss was to 3A No. 1 Evansville Memorial 47-27. Brennan Schutte (5-10, 165) has rushed for 2,000 yards for Evansville, which suggest the offensive line at Central is strong. I donít like Marion on the road here.

Evansville Central 35, Marion 17

4A North

No. 6 Bishop Dwenger (12-1) at No. 2 Mishawaka (12-1):

MISHAWAKA (11-16-2018)
Dwenger has lost only to Fort Wayne rival Snider (9-3), while Mishawaka has lost only to Chicago power Marist (12-1). The Cavemen donít throw the ball much. But they have rushed for 5,000 yards. No one has stopped tailback Chris Harness (398 carries, 2,646 yards) because the Mishawaka O-line and their double-wing formation (much like Eastbrookís) doesnít give the defense many chances to get good hits on him.

Dwenger has not allowed anyone to score more than 21 points all season. They overran undefeated Angola last week 40-7 and many of these boys played on the team that lost the semistate game at home to Lowell in 2017. But Mishawakaís offense is perfect for Late November in northern Indiana. The Cavemen seniors walk home from the final home game with a ticket to the finals.

Mishawaka 28, Bishop Dwenger 21

5A South

No. 2 Decatur Central (11-1) at No. 3 Columbus East (11-2):

COLUMBUS (11-16-2018)
East junior Cole Gilley (6-1, 203) has thrown for 2,000 yards and sophomore Mark McDonald (5-11, 185) has run for 1,400. But Decatur upset perennial power Indianapolis Cathedral two weeks ago. Columbus East has won 11 games in a row since an August loss to rival Columbus North (8-2). I think East is a significant favorite at home here.

Columbus East 35, Decatur Central 14

5A North

No. 5 Michigan City (10-2) at No 1 New Palestine (12-0):

NEW PALESTINE (11-16-2018)
Michigan City has won eight in a row, but they have a tall task here. New Palestine is 12-0 this season and 72-4 in the last five years. And this year New Pal got a transfer student named Charlie Spegal and they went up a notch. Spegal is the stateís leading rusher with 2,941 yards on 268 carries. Spegal (5-10, 220), a weight lifting champ, has scored a state record 63 touchdowns this season. No one has stopped him and he is well suited for November weather. MC averages 45 points a game, but they have not faced a team with a winning record in two months. The Wolves can score, but New Pal can score more.

New Palestine 42, Michigan City 21

6A South

No. 7 Center Gove (9-3) at No. 1 (Indianapolis) Warren Central (12-0):

INDIANAPOLIS (11-16-2018)
Center Grove has won seven in a row and they have had a good season, but itís over now. Warren averages 250 yards rushing and 270 yards passing. Senior Jayden George has thrown for 40 TDs and halfback Romeir Elliott has run for 2,300 yards. Center Grove has allowed just six points in three playoff games, but that changes on Friday. This is a rematch of the season opener won by Warren just 27-15. I just think WC is better now.

Warren Central 30, Center Grove 14

6A North

No. 6 Carmel (10-2) at No. 10 Valparaiso (10-2):

VALPARAISO (11-16-2018)
Carmel has lost only to the two southern qualifiers Center Grove and Warren Central and they have beaten Snider (9-3) and Jefferson (9-2) in the last two weeks. Valpo lost to Penn (9-3) and Mishawaka (12-1) in August and has now won 10 in a row. Carmel has played a tougher schedule. Neither of these teams is an offensive powerhouse. Valparaiso has allowed just 112 points (9.5 per game) all season, but these Carmel seniors were sophomores when Carmel won the state title in 2016.

Carmel 17, Valparaiso 14

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Revised: November 11, 2018 .