Local Sports

Week 1 Region Football Previews

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Crown Point at Lowell 7 p.m. at the Inferno

The Lowell Red Devils and Crown Point Bulldogs renew a classic rivalry as they face off for the Leather Helmet in one of the most intriguing local week one match-ups.  The Bulldogs are trying to continue the momentum that they garnered at the end of last season, winning six of their final seven games and reaching the sectional championship for the third straight year.  QB Jake Jatis and RB Tristan Peterson are both back after explosive 2012 campaigns.  The Red Devils have an experienced running back of their own in senior George Fields, who rushed for 1,811 yards and 21 touchdowns last season.

Lake Central at Munster 7 p.m. at Mustang Field

Another of the region’s marque week one match-ups pits Lake Central (8-3 last season) against Munster (2-8 in 2012).  The Mustangs could be much improved after having six losses by 14 points or fewer last season.  Munster dominated Portage in last week’s scrimmage and will rely on junior QB Seth Gutwein to lead the offensive charge.  The Indians are presented with the challenge of replacing Purdue-bound running back David Yancey, but they do have Alec Olund back under center.  These two teams have played mostly competitive contests through the years, but last year’s 40-0 Lake Central victory was an exception.

Chesterton at South Bend St. Joseph 6:30 p.m. at Father Bly Field

Mark Peterson is now in charge of the Chesterton football program after John Snyder departed to join the Valparaiso University coaching staff.  The Trojans are coming off an 8-1 campaign in which they shared the Duneland Athletic Conference regular season title with Merrillville.  Cole Teal will get the nod as the starting quarterback, taking over for the graduated Chris Katsafaros. The Indians of SB St. Joe will look to improve upon last year’s 7-5 record with 10 returning offensive starters and six starters back on defense.  Chesterton defeated St. Joe last season 24-7, part of its six game winning streak to start the season.

Penn at Valparaiso 6:30 at Viking Field

The Valparaiso Vikings are 2-14 against Penn in the regular season since the two teams began hooking up in week one in 1997.  This year’s Valpo squad is coming off back-to-back 3-7 seasons and is presented with the challenge of trying to replace star running backs Andrew Kittridge and Stephen Simms, both of whom have graduated.  Mark Johnson, Mike Gallinatti, Collin Vinnyard and Sean Curtis are among the candidates to see time in the backfield in week one.

Portage at Mishawaka 6:30 at Steele Stadium

The Portage Indians will have plenty of hurdles to jump through as they vie for a successful 2013 season.  They lost several key players to graduation, are without running back Hashim Simpson (torn ACL), while QB Gage Pearman is nearly 100 percent after suffering a torn ACL of his own during basketball season.  Portage (3-7 last season) has four straight road games against top-tier opponents to start the season, beginning with a week one tilt with one of the top 5A teams in the state.

South Bend Clay at Merrillville 6:30 p.m. at Demaree Stadium

With many of the components of the 2012 regional champion Merrillville Pirates gone due to graduation, fans will get the chance to see many new faces in week one against South Bend Clay.  One familiar face will be senior running back Bryant Isabell, who ran for 753 yards on 142 carries last season.  This will mark the first meeting between the Pirates and Colonials in recent memory.  Clay posted a 5-5 record last season, dropping the sectional opener to New Prairie.

New Prairie at LaPorte 7 p.m. at Kiwanis Field
Former Griffith coach Russ Radke is just one win shy of 300 as he leads his New Prairie Cougars into Kiwanis Field.  The Slicers will depend on a talented junior class to help compensate for a small group of seniors.

Gary Roosevelt at Michigan City 7 p.m. at Ames Field

Michigan City has dominated the match-ups between the two teams in recent years, shutting out the Panthers by a combined score of 191-0 over the last four seasons. The Wolves have won 14 straight meetings over Roosevelt and could be much improved this season as Michael Karpinski enters his third year in charge with a more experienced group.

Gary West Side at Hobart 7 p.m. at the Brickyard

The Hobart Brickies have rapped off 10 straight victories in head-to-head meeting with the Cougars, including a 55-14 triumph a year ago.  The Brickies are coming off an 8-3 season and will look to seniors QB Andrew Barras, RB Drey Devereaux and TE Nick Bokun to lead the offense.

Andrean at Bishop Noll 7 p.m.

The 59ers are expected to be one of the area’s top teams, with senior QB Matt DeSomer back after helping the team to the Class 2A final four a year ago.  Andrean holds a 16-game winning streak in match-ups with the Noll dating back to Aug. 30, 1996, a 44-31 Warrior victory.

Morton at Griffith 7 p.m. at the Boneyard

The defending sectional champion Morton Governors have been one of the area’s most consistent programs in recent years, accumulating 100 wins in 14 years since Roy Richards took over the program.  Morton has not had a losing season since 2004.  They open up the season with a visit to Griffith for an interesting match-up with the Panthers, who went 3-7 a year ago under first-year head coach Jim Pickett.

Lake Station at Highland 7 p.m. at Zip Sypult Field
Lake Station begins its quest to snap a drought of 14 straight seasons without finishing above .500 with a trip to Highland to meet the Trojans.  Rich Lunsford takes over the Eagles, who have junior Kody Lemley back for his third year as the team’s starting quarterback.  Junior tailback Kyle Gooch rushed for over 1,100 yards and 12 touchdowns last season.  Highland’s program is trying to end a losing trend of its own as the Trojans have not enjoyed a winning season since 2001.  The Trojans blanked the Eagles 25-0 a year ago.

Kankakee Valley at Rensselaer Central 7 p.m. at Emory Harrison Complex

The Kougars pulled off a six-game improvement, going from 2-8 in 2011 to 8-2 in 2012.  The first indication as to whether or not they can sustain last year’s level of success will come in week one.  The host Bombers will look to reclaim the Cracker Barrel after falling 49-39 a year ago.

Boone Grove at Wheeler 7p.m. at Wheeler High School
Last year, Boone Grove recorded a surprising 30-12 victory over Wheeler to open its second season as a varsity program.  After the Wolves finished 2012 with a 7-4 record, they are expected to be very competitive again this season with several key starters back.  After four straight undefeated regular seasons from 2008-2011, the Bearcats dropped their first three regular season games under head coach Tony Klimczak in 2012.

Elkhart Christian at River Forest 6:30 p.m. at Ray Madden Field

Elkhart Christian will become River Forest’s fifth different week one opponent over the last five seasons.  Since 2008, the revolving door of opening week foes has included Whiting, Bowman Academy, Gary Wallace, Elwood and Eau Claire (Mich.).  The Ingots went 2-7 last season and carry a six-game losing streak into 2013.

 Gavit at Calumet 7 p.m. at Arrowhead Stadium
The Warriors will host the Gladiators in a rematch of last year’s sectional opener that saw Calumet come away with a 30-24 upset for its first win of the season.  The Gladiators won the regular season match-up 38-14 and had carried a 3-6 mark into the postseason.  The Warriors must put more points on the board this season after scoring 14 points or fewer in all 10 of their defeats a year ago.

North Newton at South Newton at Rebel Field
Aaron Sauter will make his North Newton coaching debut as the Spartans visit their rivals from South Newton.  The two schools have split the last four meetings, alternating wins since 2009.  The Rebels hope to make that trend continue after falling to North Newton 37-20 last season.

Hammond at East Chicago 7 p.m. at Peter Rucinski Field
The Hammond High Wildcats are hoping to continue their winning ways after finishing over .500 in six of the last seven seasons.  Their high-flying offense averaged 33 points per game in 2012.  The Cardinals saw their win total climb from five in 2010 to nine last season.  They have 18 starters returning including a large senior class.

South Central at LaVille 7 p.m. at Lancer Field
South Central posted a 7-3 record in its first season under Dan Klimczak, who took over as head coach between the scrimmage and first game last year.  The Satellites are looking to knock off LaVille for the fourth straight season.

John Glenn at North Judson 7 p.m. at Liberty Field
Former Lowell head coach Kirk Kennedy returns to Northwest Indiana for his first game since taking over North Judson.  This contest will mark the first game at their respective schools for both coaches as Dave Sharpe takes over the Falcons.

Winamac at Knox 7 p.m. at Community Field
The Winamac Warriors are coming off a successful 2012 campaign in which they captured a sectional title, upsetting heavily-favored West Central in the sectional title game on Nov. 2.  The Warriors finished the year 9-4.

Clark at Whiting, 7 p.m. at Ray P. Galavan Field on Saturday
The Whiting Oilers will debut their new field turf as they play host to rival Clark Pioneers in the annual Battle of 119th Street.  Whiting topped Clark 47-0 last year in the first game of what would eventually become an undefeated regular season.

-Brandon Vickery

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