Week 4 - Football Game of the Week Preview

Crown Point (1-2) at Lake Central (2-1)

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith


The new-and-improved Lake Central campus will be alive with red and blue Friday night as Lake Central hosts Crown Point. (Photo by Mark Smith)

When: Friday, September 13, 2019;  Kick-off:  7:00 p.m.

Where: Lake Central High School, 8400 Wicker Avenue | Saint John, IN 46373.  Approx. 1.6-miles south of US Rt. 30 and US Rt. 41.


TV/Radio/Internet: Live Internet audio stream on www.USA-365.com.

Enrollment: CROWN POINT – 2,869; LAKE CENTRAL – 3,268.

WEATHER: We may again get a break. After a good, solid week of unpleasant upper-80s heat, the forecast is said to be changing just in time for Friday football. There should be some rain early Friday, but it will clear and game time conditions will be pleasant. Is there a slight chance of rain? It's hot and humid in September. Of course there is. But if there’s no rain, a frisky breeze of 15-20 miles-an-hour will keep everybody except the kickers happy.


PARKING: If you’ve been to Lake Central before, you know that parking there is like a hot dog bun wrapped around the school. If you don't show up early, you could be down at the south end of the lots and needing your walking shoes. LC’s campus was not planned. The school has grown 100% over the last 50 or so years. It's like a big chocolate chip cookie with nice things here and nice things there.

They have done the best with the space they’ve got and LC is much prettier and people friendly than it was before the renovation four years ago. With that said, they really don't have enough parking for major events. But then again, I don't know if 2-1 LC hosting 1-2 CP is a ‘major event.’

You should show up by 6:30 for the 7 p.m. kickoff, because the worst case scenario is for you to be reduced to parking to the west across US 41 and having to dodge Friday evening traffic.


WHAT's AT STAKE: This is week two of the Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC) season, so a second loss basically eliminates you from the race for first place. For LC seniors, this game is their final chance to beat Crown Point, which has topped the Indians four games in a row. In the back of everyone’s mind Friday is the fact that LC and CP are sectional rivals in a four team sectional. This could be the first of two Crown Point-Lake Central games this fall.



ST. JOHN – I believe that Lake Central is still the sixth largest high school (behind Ben Davis, Carmel, Warren Central, North Central and Penn) in Indiana. Before 1949 there was no high school near the Illinois state line south of Hammond, probably because nobody lived there. In St. John, where Lake Central high school now sits, the population in 1940 was 383. In 1970, the population of St. John was 2,600. That's right. The enrollment of LC today is more than the entire population of St. John 50 years ago.
The oddity about LC being the largest school in NW Indiana is that if nearby Andrean did not exist, LC would be even larger. But the truth is, Lake Central is getting smaller. LC’s enrollment was 3,467 in 2013.

I’m always intrigued by the total number of students at LC (3,268), CP (2,869) and Merrillville (2,097). I didn't think of the 10-15 mile radius next to the Illinois state line going east and south. Think about how many families it takes to produce 8,234 teenagers in a 15-mile circle. I live in this area and it always surprises me that thee are 8,000 big kids in this ‘Axis of Suburbia.’

Lake Central's most successful football coach was Elmer Britton (1983-2000) who was 131-63 in the 80s and 90s.

When Lake Central first opened in the 1960s, it was hardly a football power, going 10-23-3 in the Indians' first five seasons. But as LC grew their prowess in football grew. The Indians were 75-26 from 1986 to 1994.

Why was Lake Central 8-22 in the last three seasons? I don't honestly know. It isn't obvious, which usually means it won't last. Lake Central is 2-1 welcoming Crown Point Friday so are their football fortunes changing?

Friday’s game will tell us something about that.

The 'Distant Replay'...


Bulldogs overwhelm LC, 45-0


Team 1 2 3 4 F
CROWN POINT (2-2 1-1) 14 10 14 7 45
Lake Central (3-1, 2-0) 0 0 0 0 0

Friday, September 8, 2017 -  62 degrees (at kickoff), Duneland Athletic Conference at ST. JOHN, Ind.

1st QtrCP (7-0) Tyler Gomez, 3-yard run. 52-yard drive, 6 plays. Ben Fridrich kick. 8:16 left.
CP (14-0)
Tyler Gomez, 27-yard run. 35-yard drive, 2 plays after a fumble recovery by Adam Hillard. Ben Fridrich kick. 4:52 left.

Qtr: CP (21-0) Tyler Gomez, 1-yard run (on fourth down). 46-yard drive, 10 plays. Ben Fridrich kick. 9:13 left.
CP (24-0)
Ben Fridrich, 40-yard field goal. 65-yard drive, 9 plays. 0:56 left.
3rd Qtr: CP (31-0) Brett Schoettle, 15-yard pass from Ryan Bolda. 52-yard drive, 6 plays. Ben Fridrich kick. 8:16 left.
CP (38-0)
Tyler Gomez, 65-yard run. 65-yard drive, 1 play. Ben Fridrich kick. 3:27 left.

 CP (45-0) Ty Handley, 3-yard run. 60-yard drive, 9 plays. Ben Fridrich kick. 9:13 left.

CROWN POINT (40 yards, 303 carries, five TDs): Tyler Gomez (HB) 17 carries, 189 yards, (Career-best) 4 TDs), Ty Handley (HB) 6-43 yards, TD; Scott Mills (HB) 12-70 yards; Eric Mahaffey (WR) 2-8 yards; Ryan Bolda (QB) 3 (minus-7 yards).
LAKE CENTRAL (27 carries, 46 yards, 0 TDs, 0 fumbles): Felix Garcia (HB) (HB) 20-48 yards, Carlos Mancera (HB) 2-7 yards; Giovanni Lopez (WR) 2-9 yards; Tyler Amptmeyer (WR) 1-2 yards.


CROWN POINT: Ryan Bolda (QB) 7 of 10, 89 yards, TD.
LC: Zach Bundalo (QB) 10 of 23, 85 yards, 0 TDs, one interception.


CROWN POINT: Eric Mahaffey (WR) 4 catches, 36 yards, TD; Ben Fridrich (TE) 1-6 yards; Brett Schoettle (WR) 2-47 yards, TD.
LC: Keon Sellers (WR) 4 catches, 31 yards, fumble; Quincy Tribble (WR) 1-13 yards; Giovanni Lopez (WR) 1-6 yards; Ryan Ruberry (WR) 2-14 yards; Joe Wells (WR) 2-21 yards..

CP (1) Anthony Haage (DB)


CP (1) Adam Hillard (LB)


CROWN POINT: 392 yards, 17 first downs, 0 turnovers;
LC: 131 yards, 8 first downs, 2 turnovers.

ST. JOHN (09-08-2017) In a year when there have been a few surprises so far, I wanted to look back two years to a night that surprised me. Both these teams were 1-2 two years ago and Crown Point had lost by nine to Merrillville and by 14 to Lowell. The Bulldogs were coming off a .500 season. There were no reasons to believe this final score would result.

Halfback Tyler Gomez had his best night ever with four touchdown runs, three in the first half. A player to watch this Friday, LC’s Felix Garcia, played for LC two years ago as well and he might remind fellow seniors what it was like.

Crown Point went on to win five of their next seven games and take a second consecutive sectional title. LC lost five of their next six and exited the playoffs on opening night. For this one time, this game was a clear forecast of what was to come the rest of the season.

2019(6A) Crown Point (1-2)
5-7 (2018) 7-5 (2017) 6-6 (2016), 1-9 (2015)
Coach Kevin Enright (7th year) 42-39

8-23 (L) 19-21 at (4A) Lowell (1-2)
8-30 (W) 24-0 (4A) Highland (1-2)
9-6 (L) 24-27 (OT) (6A) MERRILLVILLE (3-0)

9-13 (Fri) at (6A) LAKE CENTRAL (2-1)
9-20 (Fri.) at (6A) PORTAGE (1-2)
9-27 (Fri.) vs. (6A) VALPARAISO (3-0)

10-4 (Fri.) vs. (5A) LaPORTE (0-3)
10-11 (Fri.) at (6A) CHESTERTON (2-1)
10-18 (Fri.) vs. (5A) MICHIGAN CITY (2-1)

6A Sectional 1

11-2 (Fri.) sectional quarterfinal vs. Merrillville, Jefferson or Lake Central.



- I don't think the Bulldog are discouraged by their 1-2 start. They have proven they can play with each of the three teams they have met so far. CP’s numbers are good. Junior quarterback Will Pettit has been resilient. Despite a couple of bad interceptions, Pettit is 52 of 99 for 596 yards and four touchdowns. He was not a 50% passer last season.

Receivers David O’Toole (16 catches for 168 yards) and Tysen Cazy (14 catches for 213 yards) have been very good and I think the Bulldogs may throw the ball to Ben Uran (8 catches, 123 yards) a little more because Uran (6-5, 215) is a major matchup problem for defenses near the goal line.

The running attack has been just okay with Matthew Walters (40 carries, 155 yards) and Davian Lira (28 carries, 111 yards). Place kicker Sammy Brewer has four field goals in three games and he’s 5-for-5 on extra points.

Defensively, linebacker and co-captain Jacob Woods (5-11, 215) leads the Bulldogs with 26 tackles and junior linebacker Reilly Granger (5-11, 205) has been in on 24 stops.

CP has six pass interceptions in three games, including two each by junior Treston Logan (6-2, 175) and senior Noah Hollandonner (5-10, 170).

CP may have an injury situation with Cael Begley (6-4, 220), who had to leave last week’s 27-24 overtime loss to Merrillville. With social media, far more many injuries get reported in the local newspapers and on-line than used to be 15-20 years ago. But I do not know about Begley and his loss might matter on the O-line.

I've been saying this for three weeks and I’m saying it again. This team is better than its 1-2 record and Crown Point is going to be competitive in every game this season.


2019 (6A) Lake Central (1-2)

2-8 (2017) 2-8 (2016), 4-6 (2015), 5-5 (2014)
Coach Tony Bartolomeo (3 years, 5-15) DAC Conference games in CAPS

8-23 (W) 37-7 at (5A) Munster (0-3)
8-30 (L) 0-20 (4A) Morton (2-1)
9-6 (W) 30-21 (6A) PORTAGE (1-2)
9-13 (Fri) vs. (6A) CROWN POINT (1-2)
9-20 (Fri) at (6A) LaPORTE (0-3)
9-27 (Fri) (5A) MICHIGAN CITY (2-1)
10-4 (Fri) at (5A) CHESTERTON (2-1)
10-11 (Fri) (6A) MERRILLVILLE (3-0)
10-18 (Fri) at (6A) VALPARAISO (3-0)

Class 6A Sectional 1
vs. (Lafayette) Jefferson, CROWN POINT or MERRILLVILLE.



– I do not understand Lake Central, but maybe I’m not giving Morton enough credit. LC has wins over Portage 30-21 and Munster 37-7. The Indians lost 20-0 to Morton and, if you saw the game it was just odd. LC had chance after chance to score and just didn't.

The Indians are led by senior QB Mateo Cedeno (6-2, 205) who is 25 of 45 for 309 yards with two TDs. But their best numbers come from running backs Felix Garcia (5-8, 185) and sophomore Max Creasbaum (5-8, 175). Garcia leads LC with 48 carries for 355 yards (7.4 per carry) and four TDs. Creasbaum has run 33 times for 202 yards (6.1 per carry) with three touchdowns. Cedeno has run 21 times but only for 65 yards.

LC is not especially big up front, averaging about 240 pounds per man but they want to run. When you see 15 passes a game from a team that has played two close games, it tells me they don't want to throw a lot.

Defensively, again, I'm not sure about LC. They’ve played fairly well in the last two games, forgetting the rout of Munster. Safety Caleb Griffin (5-11, 174) and outside linebacker Jarred Ivey (5-10, 160) both have 19 solo tackles. Sophomore linebacker Mel Hay (5-9, 180) has 21 solo stops. Defensive end Marc Henry Dereogene (5-11, 215) has 13 solo tackles, but LC has just three quarterback sacks all season.

Junior kicker Derek Baldin (6-1, 185) has gone 7-of-9 on extra points and 2-of-4 on field goals with his longest boot being 32 yards.

On video, LC is not especially big or quick. I saw them play Morton and it was 7-0 after three quarters. I admit I don't know what we’ll see from the team in blue this Friday.

Last week’s win over what I thought was a superior Portage team really surprised me.

CROWN POINT (1-2, 0-1 DAC) at LAKE CENTRAL (1-2, 0-1 DAC)
at Lake Central Stadium - capacity: 5,000

Sagarin computer ratings: 
Crown Point by 13.

Part of the reason for this spread is that Crown Point has been close in all their games and LC lost 21-0 to Morton. CP’s overtime loss to Merrillville actually works for them on the computer. Just a note: Class 6A Sectional 1 rival Lafayette Jefferson (3-0) is rated 16 points better than everyone else (Merrillville, LC and CP) in 6A sectional 1.


ST. JOHN (09-13-2019) I cannot explain Lake Central’s season, losing by 20 to Morton but winning by nine over Portage. So I’m going to guess that LC returns to the form of the team they were against Morton.

CP is going to throw the ball on this night and Will Pettit will send Tysen Cazy and David O’Toole into the end zone in the first half for a 14-0 Crown Point lead.

Felix Garcia breaks a long run and then scores from short distance to reduce the lead to 14-7, but a Sammy Brewer field goal ups the lead to 17-7 at halftime. I think O’Toole scores on a run from scrimmage on this night, balancing a second Garcia TD run in the third quarter. Pettit to Ben Uran ups the lead to 31-14 as CP wins this game fairly decisively.

But I admit. I don't know how confident LC is. Last week, they trailed Portage 14-0 and won 30-21. The week before, they couldn't get a witness against Morton, a team that gave up 23 to a less talented Lowell team.

I believe that Crown Point is better than their record shows and the final score Friday will show that.


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Revised: September 12, 2019.