La Porte (0-3, 0-1 Duneland Conference) at Chesterton (2-1, 0-1)

Kickoff: 7 p.m.

Last week: Valparaiso 35, La Porte 0; Michigan City 21, Chesterton 7

Last season: La Porte 29, Chesterton 14

Players to watch: La PORTE — RB Collin Bergquist (22-141 rushing; 2-39 receiving, 239 kick return yards, 2 TDs); RB Jeremiah Ruiz (26-98 rushing); TE Brady Bernth (3-67 receiving, TD); LB Jaden Browder (14 tackles, 4 TFL); DB Zach Purnell (13 tackles, 1 INT); LB Gavin Zolvinski (12 tackles, 1 caused fumble); DL Matt Neff (9 tackles, 1 sack). CHESTERON — QB Chris Mullen, WR Jake Warren, WR Ben Slatcoff, WR Bryce Pickering, RB-LB Ryan Klespies.

Outlook: After a rough start to the season, the Slicers are gunning to break through and earn their first victory. “Like it's been all year, it's all about us,” coach Jeremy Lowery said. “It's how much we can progress each week and limit self-inflicted wounds, take care of the football, tackle, pursue on defense. All those basic fundamentals, along with just getting comfortable with our schemes.” He added the squad's morale is positive in spite of the grueling three-game stretch and getting outscored by 32 points per game. “The kids are very upbeat,” Lowery said, noting the team's improvement in the last two games. “They've very hungry to get back out on the football field. It's another opportunity to get better and try to capture our first win.” The Slicers meet a pass-happy Chesterton team who's beaten Hobart and Munster, but fell to Michigan City last week in a game that was 7-7 in the fourth quarter. "Their strength is their defense,” Lowery said. “The defense really flies around. They do a really good job overall of tackling and pursuing the football. I'm really impressed with their secondary."

Michigan City (2-1, 1-0 DAC) at Valparaiso (3-0, 1-0)

Kickoff: 7 p.m.

Last week: Michigan City 21, Chesterton 7; Valparaiso 35, La Porte 0

Last year: Valparaiso 14, Michigan City 7

Players to watch: VALPARAISO -- QB CJ Opperman (13-24-1 passing, 223 yards, 4 TD); RB Tommy Burbee (37-335 rushing, 5 TD); RB Hayden Vinyard (24-157 rushing, TD); RB Antonio Osorio (24-118 rushing, 3 TD); WR Luke Patterson (8-164 receiving, 3 TD); DL Cooper Jones (11 tackles, 2 sacks); LB Noah Beller (15 tackles, 1.5 sacks); MICHIGAN CITY -- QB Gio Laurent, RB Jonathon Flemings, RB Michael Bradford, WR Demetrius Garrett, LB Nate Ware, DB Marquan Hurt.

Outlook: For all of Phil Mason's success at Michigan City, Valparaiso has been a stumbling block for the Wolves coach, winning all three games between the schools during his tenure. The winner of the game, a likely precursor to a sectional rematch, figures to hold the cards in the DAC race. In its simplest breakdown, it's a matchup of the Vikings' size and strength against the Wolves' speed, on both sides of the ball. "We need to keep improving with our change at QB," Mason said. "Let him have success, put him in good situations and continue to get better running the ball. They're a very good team with great size and well-coached. We have our work cut out for us."

South Bend St. Joseph (0-3) at New Prairie (3-0)

Kickoff: 6:30 p.m.

Last week: New Prairie 33, Andrean 10; Mishawaka Marian 41, St. Joseph 0

Last year: New Prairie 41, St. Joseph 28; St. Joseph 42, New Prairie 30 (sectional)

Players to watch: NEW PRAIRIE -- QB Chase Ketterer (8-18-0 passing, 172 yards, 2 TD; 48-543 rushing, 10 TD); RB Chris Mays (46-380 rushing, 10 TD); LB Brandon Kasinger (20 tackles 5 TFL), DB Bobby Siford (18 tackles, 2 TFL), LB Taylor Adams (3 TFL).

Outlook: It's a mismatch on paper, but the Cougars know better. The Indians knocked them off in the sectional last year after losing in the regular season. They have played three state-ranked teams to start 2019, hanging with Concord and Northridge before the Marian drubbing. "The Indians will bring a team that has a lot of talent and will be ready to play," NP associate head coach Bill Gumm said. "They have a talented running game with three returning starters. Our defense will need to continue to improve and be prepared for a good balance of the run versus the pass. Offensively, we will need to match their physicality. The Indians will bring an attacking defensive line and linebackers that will fly to the ball. They are well-coached and it should be a great game."

Wheeler (1-2) at South Central (0-3)

Kickoff: 7 p.m.

Last week: Boone Grove 53, South Central 0; Calumet 38, Wheeler 22

Last year: Wheeler 21, South Central 7

Players to watch: WHEELER -- QB Bryce Catherman (19-35-4 passing, 250 yards, 3 TD; 48-306 rushing, 3 TD); RB Trey Gibson (45-246 rushing, 4 TD); WR-DB Hunter Reif (11-208 receiving, 2 TD; 2 INT); DB Riley Henslee (25 tackles); LB Max Mortimer (24 tackles). SOUTH CENTRAL -- QB Brady Glisic (15-39-3 passing, 178 yards, 3 TD; 16-67 rushing); RB-LB Jake Osburn (45-301 rushing, 3 TD; 6-62 receiving, TD; 16 tackles); WR-DB Zack Christy (7-89 rushing, 7-78 receiving, 2 TD; 25 tackles); LB Matt Mulligan (19 tackles). 

Outlook: Wheeler is a ground-heavy team, featuring the combination of Catherman and Gibson, with Reif the primary passing target. "Another tough outing," S.C. coach Buzz Schoff said. After the Satellites allowed 105 points in the last two weeks, Schoff got back to basics in practice, raising the energy, and he liked what he saw in preparation for the Bearcats. "We have had the best week of practice all season," he said. "We focused on the little things all week. We tackled more, extended the whistle to finish every play, and we upped the intensity of drills. We have to be our best and i think our kids understand that. We are ready."

Zack Eldridge

Last week's/overall record: 6-1/12-5

This week's picks:

La Porte 22, Chesterton 21

Valparaiso 30, Michigan City 24 

New Prairie 49, South Bend St. Joseph 15

Wheeler 36, South Central 16

Notre Dame 45, New Mexico 10

TCU 29, Purdue 22

Ohio St. 38, Indiana 20

Southeast Missouri State vs. Missouri, no pick

Bears 17, Broncos 13

Titans 30, Colts 28

Jim Peters

Last week's/overall record: 7-0/14-4

This week's picks:

Chesterton 21, La Porte 6

Valparaiso 24, Michigan City 13

New Prairie 35, South Bend St. Joseph 16

Wheeler 30, South Central 14

Notre Dame 45, New Mexico 13

TCU 31, Purdue 27

Ohio St. 52, Indiana 24

Missouri 56, Southeast Missouri State 20

Bears 23, Broncos 21

Titans 27, Colts 23

Jack Parodi

Last week's/overall record: NA/7-4

This week's picks: 

Chesterton 20, La Porte 14

Valparaiso 28, Michigan City 20

New Prairie 42, South Bend St. Joseph 9

Wheeler 35, South Central 15

Notre Dame 48, New Mexico 17

Purdue 34, TCU 28

Ohio St. 45, Indiana 21

Missouri 66, Southeast Missouri State 7

Bears 17, Broncos 13

Colts 27, Titans 23 

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