Week 2 Picks - 2021 NW Indiana High School Football

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith

August 24, 2021


Crown Point tight end Randy Lach (88) and top tackle Jack Darlington (78) do their best here to block for quarterback JJ Johnson (2) last week in Lowell. The CP offensive line will try to protect and serve again this week when Andrean comes down to Crown Point. (Photo by Mark Smith)

'Mr. Picker' WEEK-1, 2021 Football Picks in Review:
Aug. 20-21, 2021

Wrong - 5 Right - 8 = 61.5%

The Pick The Result

Hammond Central 28, (SB) Washington 14  

(wrong) Washington 27-20

Highland 20, Griffith 14  

(wrong) Griffith 38-21

Hanover 28, East Chicago 26  

Hanover 52-6

Portage 35, Morton 20  

Portage 26-6

Chesterton 31, Hobart 17  

Chesterton 20-14

LaPorte 21, New Prairie 7  

(wrong) New Prairie 37-21

Frontier 27, Whiting 13  

(wrong) Whiting 26-22

John Glenn 21, Boone Grove 14  

John Glenn 46-0

Lake Central 35, Munster 14  

Lake Central 28-0

Rensselaer 28, Kankakee Valley 7  

Rensselaer 41-17

Merrillville 42, Andrean 17  

Merrillville 47-21


(wrong) CP 28-14

Valparaiso 17, Penn 10  

Valpo 35-7

‘Mr. Picker’ (by the week)
WEEK ONE: 8 of 13, 61.5%
Regular season: 8 of 13, 61.5%

WEEK (1) Rewind: Griffith over Highland 38-21 sure surprised me. That is the exact same score by which Highland beat Griffith in 4A Sectional 17 last year. And I guess I was a little too optimistic on the debut of Hammond Central.

Crown Point is a little stronger than I thought they’d be and New Prairie is a lot stronger. I’d still bet that the losers in those two games: Lowell and LaPorte will have winning seasons.
And congratulations to Whiting. The Oilers had a hard year in 2020, but they drove two hours Saturday and came home with an upset win 26-22 in the hot sunshine at Frontier.

'Mr. Picker' (15 Years)
2020 (final) OVERALL: 122 of 156 = 78.1%
2019 (final) OVERALL: 126 of 166 = 75.9%
2018 (final) OVERALL: 148 of 191 = 77.4%
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 - WEEK (2) TWO:

MERRILLVILLE (08-27-2021)
Eight of 13 last week isn’t good, but I have excuses. It was the first week. Some teams didn't play full schedules in 2020. It was hot. There was a full moon. I’ve got all the excuses.

Okay, in week two I’m going to leave Griffith at Lake Station alone. The Eagles are going to have a long night there. Bishop Noll beat Calumet Christian last week 33-28. Just Noll’s third win in seven seasons. But they play against out-of-state team this week. Valpo at Hammond Central isn’t an even match right now. Got to give them a little time.

I really did mean to pick 12 games in week one and I ended up picking 13 so, hey, I’ll go with it.

Here’s 13 picks for the second week.

A lot of people trying to ‘get well’ in week two after hard times on opening night. ‘Mr. Picker’ clearly is one of those people.

Mr. Picker 2021 WEEK (1) ONE:

Highland (0-1) at Whiting (1-0):
WHITING (08-27-2021)
Whiting’s Julius Torres scored with 45 seconds left in the Oilers' 26-22 win at Frontier. Highland trailed 38-7 in their 38-21 loss to Griffith. This is a tough choice. The Oilers played on Saturday and will have a day less to get ready. I’m going with Highland on the road.

Highland 28, Whiting 20

River Forest (0-1) at Boone Grove (0-1):
HOBART TOWNSHIP (08-27-2021)
Both teams lost big in week one and will be looking to get back to sea level. Boone got topped 46-0 at Glenn, but playing at home will lift them, I’m sure. But I came into this season thinking highly of River Forest and new coach Demetri Blanco gets his first win Friday.

River Forest 33, Boone Grove 21

Morton (0-1) at Lake Central (1-0):

ST. JOHN (08-27-2021)
Morton beefed their schedule this year as they added students after the Hammond city consolidation. They need a win here with big Elkhart (1-0) in the way in week three. Lake Central played a scoreless first half before rolling over Munster 28-0 last week. On another hot night, I like the size and depth of Lake Central here.

Lake Central 27, Morton 14

Kankakee Valley (0-1) at Wheeler (1-0):

UNION TOWNSHIP (08-27-2021)
KV got crunched 41-17 by Rensselaer last week, but they won't be the last team to get bombed by the Bombers. Wheeler started strong with a 39-12 win over River Forest. Here’s where you have to avoid snap judgments. If these two teams had met a week ago, I’d have chosen Kankakee Valley. How much do you let week one results change your mind?

Kankakee Valley 28, Wheeler 21

Rensselaer (1-0) at North Newton (1-0):

MOROCCO (08-27-2021)
North Newton smashed South Newton 45-8 in week one, but to be clear, South Newton hasn’t won a football game since 2016. Rensselaer won 41-17 in week one over arch-rival Kankakee Valley and this is going to be a very good year for them. I don’t think the Spartans can stop them, even in the home opener.

Rensselaer 35, North Newton 14

Hanover Central (1-0) at Munster (0-1):

MUNSTER (08-27-2021)
Munster got shut out 28-0 by Lake Central in week one, but a scoreless first half suggests the defense has something to offer. Hanover scored 513 points last season in 12 games and, with a new quarterback this fall, they beat East Chicago 52-6 last Friday. Munster may make this close, but HC beats the Mustangs for the second year in a row.

Hanover Central 34, Munster 21

T.F. South (0-0) at Chesterton (1-0):
CHESTERTON (8-21-21)
TF South can run the ball and that’s the only way to stop Chesterton’s Chris Mullen, who was 18 of 23 for 238 yards passing last week in a 20-14 win at Hobart. Warm weather favors the passing team. Few pass defenses are going to contain Chesterton passing early in the season and the Trojans win the home opener here.

Chesterton 42, TF South 21

Twin Lakes (1-0) at New Prairie (1-0):

NEW CARLISLE (08-27-2021)
Twin Lakes got off to a great start last week in a 38-21 win over Northwestern. You might not be able to stop him. You might not be able to spell his name. New Twin Lakes QB Jaden Franceschina was 7 of 16 for 201 yards and four TDs in the win. But New Prairie ran for 450 yards last week in a 37-21 win at LaPorte. They are big and bad and Twin Lakes won't stop them for four quarters.

New Prairie 35, Twin Lakes 20

LaPorte (0-1) at Penn (0-1):

OSCEOLA (08-27-2021)
Here’s another one. Before last Friday, I’d have picked Penn in this one without much hesitation. But Penn allowed 357 yards rushing at Valparaiso and LaPorte’s going to try to run the ball, if they can. RJ Anglin passed for 297 yards for LaPorte last week as New Prairie stacked to stop 1,000-yard rusher Collin Berquist. LaPorte may have been shorthanded last Friday, but I think Penn bounces back strong in their home opener.

Penn 35, LaPorte 14

Hobart (0-1) at MERRILLVILLE (1-0):

MERRILLVILLE (08-27-2021)
The Pirates rolled up 440 yards and seven TDs last week on a good Andrean defense. Hobart made a big late rally in a 20-14 loss to Chesterton, but I don't think the Brickies' defense can match the speed of the home team. Merrillville did trail 21-20 in the third quarter last Friday night, but I think the Pirates can contain Hobart on the ground and in the air.

MERRILLVILLE 42, Hobart 14

Andrean (0-1) at CROWN POINT (1-0):

CROWN POINT (08-27-2021)
The first varsity football meeting ever of the neighboring Bulldogs and 59ers will be interesting on and off the field. Andrean sophomore QB Scott Ballentine was 26 of 40 for 259 yards in his debut against Merrillville. Crown Point junior QB JJ Johnson passed for two TDs and ran for two more in his first game against Lowell. Is this going to be a rivalry? How many students will show up to watch this? Who’s going to win?

I’ll answer the last question in a couple of days here.

LOWELL (0-1) at Portage (1-0):

PORTAGE (08-27-2021)
These teams have split the last six meetings and I don’t know how to pick this Friday either. Portage running back Devan Howard gained 106 yards on just eight carries in last week’s 26-6 win over Morton. Lowell gained 15 first downs last week and scored just 14 points in a 28-14 home loss to Crown Point. Now they hit the road for tough games at Portage (1-0) and New Prairie (1-0).

You knew I was going to say that I need a couple more days to pick Lowell and Portage, didn’t you?

Warsaw (1-0) at Michigan City (1-0):
MICHGAN CITY (08-27-2021)
Another feature game. Michigan City rolled over South Bend Riley 62-0 last week and they showed few weaknesses, if any, on either side of the ball. But who is Warsaw’s German Flores-Ortega? I don’t know, but the senior halfback carried 20 times for 258 yards and that was only the half of it. Warsaw ran for 520 yards in a 48-23 win over (Dublin, Ohio) Coffman high. I could be surprised here but I don't think Warsaw, as difficult as thy can be to prepare for, can run over this Michigan City defense.

Michigan City 41, Warsaw 20

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Revised: August 24, 2021 .