La Porte (1-5, 1-3 Duneland Athletic Conference) at Crown Point (3-3, 2-2)
Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Last week: Merrillville 21, La Porte 0; Valparaiso 31, Crown Point 14
Last year: Crown Point 24, La Porte 21
Players to watch: La PORTE — RB Jeremiah Ruiz (75-340 rushing, 2 TD); QB Collin Bergquist (70-327 rushing; 1-8-3 passing, 48 yards; 239 kick return yards, 3 TD); QB Robbie Kiner (29-80 rushing, 6-21-1 passing, 125, 2 TD); RB Jayden Parkes (31-144 rushing); RB Isaac Alexander (22-105, TD); TE Brady Bernth (4-70 receiving, TD); LB Gavin Zolvinski (35 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 caused fumble); LB Jaden Browder (24 tackles, 5 TFL, 2 sacks); DB Isaac Alexander (21 tackles, 1 INT); LB Zach Purnell (18 tackles, 3 TFL, 1 INT); DL Matt Neff (16 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 TFL, 1 blocked kick); CROWN POINT — QB Will Pettit, TE Ben Uran, WR David O'Toole, WR Tysen Cazy, LB Alec Barancyk, LB Jake Woods.
Outlook: Following its first victory of the campaign two weeks ago, the Slicers arguably built on it last Friday, despite falling at talented and undefeated Merrillville. Now the objective is to keep heading in the right direction at Crown Point, a squad who nipped LP last year and who has won two of its last three games, defeating Lake Central and Portage. “We're not into moral victories but our kids do feel good about how we played,” La Porte coach Jeremy Lowery said. “We played hard. We played well in two phases of the game. We feel like there's some momentum there that we can build on." Bergquist hurt his right foot last week and Lowery called him a game-time decision. Ruiz and offensive lineman Alex Lewis each also had knee sprains on the same play in the third period. Ruiz later came back to play, but Lewis missed the rest of the day. Lowery expects both to be ready to play. If Bergquist can't play, Robbie Kiner and Jack McGuire will most likely split time. “They've both had a really good week of practice,” he said. “They've both got some extra reps this week. They both know the offense very well. Both of them are really good at throwing the football, so they add a little bit more of a throwing element, which could be helpful.”
Penn (3-3, 2-0 Northern Indiana Conference) at Class 4A No. 1 New Prairie (6-0, 3-0)
Kickoff: 6:30 p.m.
Last week: Penn 34, South Bend St. Joseph 2; New Prairie 55, South Bend Adams 14
Last year: Penn 35, New Prairie 7
Players to watch: PENN — RB Kyle Riffel, QB/WR Nick Favila, DB Nick Hardrict, DB Patrick Maclin; NEW PRAIRIE — QB Chase Ketterer (20-39-1 passing, 416 yards, 6 TD; 107-1,129 rushing, 19 TD); RB Chris Mays (93-839 rushing, 14 TD); WR Wyatt Kmiecik (6-106 receiving, 3 TD); TE-LB Taylor Adams (5-174, receiving, TD; 4 TFL), LB Brandon Kasinger (37 tackles, 7.5 TFL, 3.5 sacks), DL Jake Weinberg (3 sacks, 4 TFL).
Outlook: The Cougars play host to Penn for the first time in one of the biggest regular-season games ever at Amzie Miller Field. It's not big because it's simply Penn, it's big because New Prairie is the top-ranked team in Class 4A and can seize control of the NIC with a win. "Without question, we know we are up against our biggest challenge of the season," assistant head coach Bill Gumm said. "(Penn) coach (Cory) Yeoman and his staff do an outstanding job at preparing his teams, and he will have them ready." Penn has three lopsided loss, but they have come against Class 5A No. 2 Valparaiso, Ohio power Cincinatti St. Xavier and Illinois power Homewood-Flossmoor. "What stands out for us is the quality of opponents they play. Their kids know what it is like playing in big games," Gumm said. "Offensively, for us to have success, we must win the war on the line. Having a slight size advantage, we hope to be able to get movement but Penn's defensive line is fast and will not allow you to move them easily. Our backfield must be able to get us into the right plays. When opportunities arise to pass the ball, we must catch it.' Favila moved to QB last month after starter Ron Powlus was injured and Penn has been more ground-based since. "Defensively, we must be disciplined. Penn is very capable of mixing up a good balance of run and pass," Gumm said. "We were pleased with our secondary's performance last week and hopefully that continues to improve. We must also tackle well, we can't afford to allow them long drives." The Kingsmen's tradition of success has also been predicated on superior kicking games. "On special teams, it has been a big point of emphasis, that we can not give up the big plays," Gumm said.
Portage (1-5, 0-4 Duneland Athletic Conference) at Michigan City (2-4, 1-3)
Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Last week: Chesterton 26, Portage 7; Lake Central 13, Michigan City 7
Last year: Michigan City 49, Portage 14
Players to watch: PORTAGE — QB Zach Warchus (44-83-1 passing, 571 yards, 3 TD; 50-361 rushing, 4 TD), WR Scott Hansen (22-343 receiving, 5 TD), WR Tylee Swopes (191-241 receiving, TD), DE Humberto Morales (3 sacks, 7.5 TFL), DB Isaac Hegwood (3 sacks, 5.5 TFL). MICHIGAN CITY — QB Gio Laurent, RB Jonathon Flemings, WR Kaydarious Jones, RB-LB Mike Bradford, LB Nate Ware.
Outlook: After another clunker at Lake Central, who knows what's left in the tank for the Wolves as they face an Indians team looking to pull City into a share of the DAC cellar. Who would've figured that possibility a couple weeks ago? Despite the downward spiral, M.C. can generate some positive momentum to finish the regular season with a trio of winnable games left. Then again, that was the case last week.
River Forest (3-3, 1-0 Greater South Shore Conference) at South Central (1-5, 1-1)
Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Last week: River Forest 43, Bowman Academy 28; South Central 50, Lake Station 0
Last year: South Central 35, River Forest 22
Players to watch: RIVER FOREST — Joey Ondo (51-101-8 passing, 708 yards, 7 TD), Jeremiah Walker (64-628 rushing, 6 TD), Ayden Hernandez (44-363 rushing, 3 TD; 17-200 receiving, 2 TD), Jayveon Triplett (17-188 receiving, 2 TD; INT), Curtis Hosea (3 TFL); SOUTH CENTRAL — QB Brady Glisic, RB-LB Jake Osburn, WR-LB Zack Christy, WR-DK Andrew Karsten, LB Matt Mulligan.
Outlook: On the heels of their first win, the Satellites look to fashion a winning streak against an Ingots squad that presents a balanced offense with big play potential in the passing game. "I believe we match up well with River," S.C. coach Buzz Schoff said. "They like to throw the ball around, but run to keep the defense honest. Our DBs have to play well and our front seven has to stop the run. If we make them one-dimensional, we will be well off. Defensively, they are deceiving. They run a 3-5, but at the snap there are six, seven guys on the line of scrimmage. We have to know where they are and make blocking calls to handle the blitz."
-- Compiled by Zack Eldridge and Jim Peters
Last week's/overall record: 6-3/32-12
This week's picks:
La Porte 20, Crown Point 17
Michigan City 31, Portage 14
Penn 34, New Prairie 24
River Forest 35, South Central 19
Notre Dame 39, Bowling Green 13
Penn St. 34, Purdue 20
Missouri 42, Troy 28
Bears 22, Raiders 13
Chiefs 40, Colts 26
Last week's/overall record: 6-3/34-12
This week's picks:
La Porte 28, Crown Point 17
Michigan City 21, Portage 13
New Prairie 27, Penn 24
River Forest 26, South Central 21
Notre Dame 59, Bowling Green 7
Penn St. 45, Purdue 24
Missouri 49, Troy 20
Bears 23, Raiders 10
Chiefs 35, Colts 27
Last week's/overall record: 5-4/27-12
This week's picks:
La Porte 27, Crown Point 20
Michigan City 28, Portage 14
New Prairie 28, Penn 21
River Forest 26, South Central 13
Notre Dame 51, Bowling Green 10
Penn St. 45, Purdue 20
Missouri 52, Troy 13
Bears 23, Raiders 14
Chiefs 34, Colts 28