Week 3 Picks - 2021 NW Indiana High School Football

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith

August 30, 2021


The big house could be full Friday. Ames Field should be loaded with fans this week when undefeated Chesterton takes on unbeaten Michigan City. (Photo by Mark Smith)

'Mr. Picker' WEEK-2, 2021 Football Picks in Review:
Aug. 27-28, 2021

Wrong - 2 Right - 11 = 84.6%

The Pick The Result

Highland 28, Whiting 20  

Highland 41-7

River Forest 33, Boone Grove 21  

River Forest 42-0

Lake Central 27, Morton 14  

Lake Central 42-0

Kankakee Valley 28, Wheeler 21  

Kankakee Valley 27-7

Rensselaer 35, North Newton 14  

Rensselaer 35-8

Hanover Central 34, Munster 21  

Hanover Central 35-6

Chesterton 42, TF South 21  

Chesterton 42-0

New Prairie 35, Twin Lakes 20  

New Prairie 52-3

Penn 35, LaPorte 14  

(wrong) LaPorte 21-14 (OT)

MERRILLVILLE 42, Hobart 14  


LOWELL 34, Portage 20  

LOWELL 26-21


(wrong) ANDREAN 21-7

Michigan City 41, Warsaw 20  

Michigan City 35-16

‘Mr. Picker’ (by the week)
WEEK ONE (1): 8 of 13, 61.5%
WEEK TWO (2): 11 of 13, 84.6%
Regular season: 19 of 26, 73.0%

WEEK (2) Rewind: Okay, 11 of 13 isn't perfect. LaPorte over Penn was a major upset, but Andrean over Crown Point probably wasn’t. The 59ers' first week game against Merrillville was misleading.

Best pick of the week?

Mr. Picker doesn't want to brag, but picking Merrillville to win 42-14 and then watching them win 41-14??? And picking Rensselaer to win 35-14 and seeing them win 35-8?
Hey, Mr. Picker is at your service.

'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 (3) THREE:

MERRILLVILLE (09-03-2021)
This looks like a good picking week. First week of league play in the Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC) and some of the final nonconference games. Nobody knows anything in week one. I just go to the scrimmage and pretend I do.

So the real judgment is made after week two when there are some comparable statistics. That’s why week three is when the picks get better. We’re going to feel the fall weather-wise this week and any cool breeze is very much welcome.

Obviously, summer time heat matters in high school football, which is just not a summer sport. It gets into thinking on predictions, too.

If your team has offensive linemen who don’t play a snap on defense, you will have a second half advantage against schools where one or two linemen play on offense and defense. That’s not genius-talk there.

I think ball-handling improves in cooler weather. Not just the quarterback giving the ball to the runners, but the center snaps. Humidity and sweat on 80-degree nights makes the ball slip some at bad times. I think small roster teams just can't practice the way large roster teams can in hot weather. If you want your boy going all out for four quarters in November, you can't burn them out on the practice field in late August no matter who you play on Friday.

I also think that the frustration level of players rises quickly in hot weather and the more experienced, more confident players handle it better. Making true upsets less likely.

But you guys surely know all these things I just said because and, by the way, I have been hearing talk that some out there would like to challenge Mr. Picker. I’ve heard that some readers think that, as impossible as it may seem, believe they could pick the weekly high school games better than Mr. Picker. I know you guys are laughing at that. Impossible, right?

Still, if you feel you can pick this week’s 13 games better than a professional, experienced selector such as ‘Mr. Picker’, send your picks in before Friday and we’ll see. Of course, you could wait until the games are played and THEN send in your picks, but that’s cheating and you would be ashamed of yourself. So send in 13 picks (with the final scores) this week and we’ll see what you can do. Email your picks to usa365@ameritech.net.

On a more serious note, as many of you know, we had to discontinue radio game broadcasts during the Covid-19 year of 2020 and we no longer have sponsors. But we do have a ‘Pay-Pal’ portal on our web site here and, if you would like to support us, it is easy to do. Donate and Support USA-365.com.

Any amount would be welcome. At any time. Times are hard, but if you appreciate the effort that Dave Woodworth and I put into the USA-365.com coverage down through the years and going forward, we would be grateful to hear from you.

Back to business. Here’s 13 more games. I’ll leave out Highland vs. Gary West Side and River Forest vs. Lake Station. We’ll get back to them in future weeks. Also, Andrean is playing up in Grand Rapids, Michigan this Saturday so I’ll just let them go until they get back.

Mr. Picker 2021 WEEK (3) Three:

Wheeler (1-1) at Calumet (2-0):
GARY (09-03-2021) Calumet has beaten Wheeler three years in a row and the Warriors have shut out Bowman Academy 49-0 and Gary West Side 19-0. Wheeler lost 27-7 to Kankakee Valley last week. There are wins ahead on the Wheeler schedule but this isn’t one of them. Calumet has won 16 of their last 20 games and when you are undefeated and playing at home, you feel invincible.

Calumet 27, Wheeler 13

North Judson (2-0) at North Newton (1-1):
MOROCCO (09-03-2021)
Judson is 2-0 but who is Kadyn Rowland of North Newton? The sophomore Spartan has 219 yards on 27 carries in two games. It's hard to figure Judson after wins over Culver and Caston. North Newton didn't beat Rensselaer, but not a lot of teams will this fall. This seems like a close one.

North Newton 20, North Judson 14

Portage (1-1) at Lake Central (2-0):

ST. JOHN (09-03-2021)
The Portage Indians gave up 13 in the fourth quarter in a 26-21 loss, while Lake Central has played two teams that didn't have much of a chance to beat them. LC has won 28-0 over Munster and 42-0 over Morton (0-2). I don’t know who Lake Central’s Xavier Williams is, but I know he carried that ball 21 times for 176 yards and three touchdowns last week. Portage not being able to beat Lowell when they had them down doesn’t say much for their chances in DAC play. To me, Lake Central’s two wind don’t say anything about them one way or another.

Lake Central 21, Portage 14

Morton (0-2) at Elkhart (1-1):
ELKHART (09-03-2021)
Both teams were shut out last week, but honestly, this is a mismatch. Elkhart lost 28-0 to Mishawaka while Morton lost 42-0 at Lake Central. Morton upgraded their schedule by adding LC and Portage. Morton jumped from 4A to 5A this season so they added some rough riders to the schedule. But there’s a price to pay for that, and when you look at the athletes on Elkhart’s roster, Morton will pay that price again on the road this week..

Elkhart 42, Morton 8

Hanover Central (2-0) at Culver Academy (2-0):
CULVER (09-03-2021)
Here’s another game that may look more even than it is. Culver beat (Mishawaka) Marian last week 27-14 and Marian still might win 3A Sectional 26. They did last year. But neither team here has lost and Hanover did smoke Culver 46-20 last season. I just worry about HC’s competition so far. Hanover beat East Chicago (1-1) by 46 and Munster (0-2) by 29. The Wildcats have not been tested and they will be on this night.

Culver Academy 34, Hanover Central 20

East Chicago (1-1) at Munster (0-2):

MUNSTER (09-03-2021)
The Mustangs have lost 28-0 to Lake Central (2-0) and 35-6 to Hanover Central (2-0) while East Chicago beat Bowman Academy 26-14 last week. I don't have a good handle on this one, but if you look at the Mustangs’ schedule, if the Mustangs do not win this game, they will not win any games in the regular season. EC is coming off a victory, but it's time for Munster to win.

Munster 28, East Chicago 12

(South Bend) Washington (1-1) at Kankakee Valley (1-1):
WHEATFIELD (09-03-2021)
Washington’s win is over Hammond (0-2), while KV topped Wheeler 27-7 last week. The season begins for KV on this night in the home opener. I just can't see Washington, which allowed 323 rushing yards to Bremen last week, coming to Jasper County and stopping the Kougar running attack all night.

Kankakee Valley 33, (SB) Washington 20

Whiting (1-1) at Bishop Noll (1-1):
HAMMOND (9-4-21)
Noll has played Calumet Christian and Crossroads Christian of Illinois. They are trying to rebuild their program after taking a year (2018) off for low numbers. Whiting was hit hard by the Covid-19 year of 2020. The Oilers lost 41-7 to Highland last week, but here comes a chance to rebound.

Whiting 26, Bishop Noll 12

Valparaiso (2-0) at LaPorte (2-0):
LaPORTE (09-03-2021)
This might be a big time battle, but reportedly LaPorte’s quarterback RJ Anglin was injured in the Slicers' big 21-14 win over Penn last week. Valparaiso defeated Penn 25-7 and Hammond 71-6. This is the fifth meeting of LaPorte and Valpo in three years and the Vikings are 4-0. But if Anglin can't play, LaPorte won't beat Valpo this time.

Valparaiso 31, LaPorte 10

Hobart (0-2) at Griffith (2-0):
GRIFFITH (09-03-2021)
Okay, an 0-2 team on the road against a 2-0 team at home. Take the home team? No. The Panthers have won 38-21 (at Highland) and 48-18 (at South Central), but Hobart’s offensive line, freshman QB Noah Erlich and running back Trey Gibson might be thinking about busting loose this week after head-butting unbeaten 6A powers Chesterton (2-0) and Merrillville (2-0).

Hobart 27, Griffith 14

LOWELL (1-1) at New Prairie (2-0):
NEW CARLISLE (09-03-2021)
The first ever regular season meeting of these two schools. In a regional playoff game four years ago, Lowell beat New Prairie 25-22. There is no secret about what either of these teams does. They run the ball. New Prairie has 700 yards rushing in wins over LaPorte and Twin Lakes. Lowell has 500 yards rushing total against Class 6A teams Portage and Crown Point. I don’t know about this one.

Give me a few days and check back here.

CROWN POINT (09-03-2021)
The Pirates looked unstoppable on offense, winning 47-21 over Andrean and 41-14 over Hobart. Crown Point won at Lowell, but Andrean shut them down 21-7. This will be the 15th meeting of Crown Point and Merrillville in seven years. Nobody is new to anybody. Is there any chance that the home team can stop the 450-yard-per-game attack of the state-rated Pirates?

Let me think about it a few days and I’ll get back to you.

Chesterton (2-0) at Michigan City (2-0):
MICHIGAN CITY (09-03-2021)
Chesterton’s Chris Mullen is 39 of 47 for 500 yards and six TDs in two games and normally, in warm weather, go with the passing QB. But wait a minute. Michigan City has won 62-0 and 45-16 and nobody’s thrown a touchdown pass on them so far. This is a wonderful match of Michigan City’s pass coverage and pass rush speed against a very experienced passing attack that knows what’s coming. I think this game breaks big one way or another. I think MC is well-suited to defend what Chesterton does.

Michigan City 42, Chesterton 21 

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Revised: August 29, 2021 .