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Week 10 High School Football Game Previews

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Lafayette Jefferson (1-8) at Merrillville (8-1)

After securing the Duneland Athletic Conference title outright with an undefeated DAC mark, Merrillville has a favorable draw for the opening round of the sectional.  The Bronchos have lost seven in a row, while the Pirates carry a seven-game winning streak into the postseason.  Behind a sparkling defense that has yielded just 13.9 points per game, Merrillville could be poised for another deep postseason run after reaching semistate a year ago.

Crown Point (6-3) at Lake Central (7-2)

Lake Central could be vulnerable in the opening week of the postseason despite a strong regular season record.  The Indians lost to Merrillville on Oct. 11 and narrowly escaped with wins over Chesterton and Valparaiso.  Sectional realignment did not create a new matchup for these two teams as they compete in a rematch of last year’s sectional opener, a 21-14 Crown Point victory. The Bulldogs lost to Lake Central 32-0 in Week 4, but carry a four-game winning streak into the postseason.  Crown Point has advanced to the sectional championship three straight years, winning the title in 2011.

Valparaiso (3-6) at Chesterton (3-6)

Two similar teams that had rough second halves of the regular season will matchup in this sectional showdown.  This rivalry match has not taken place in the postseason since Oct. 31, 2008, a 10-6 Chesterton win.  Both teams are coming off near upsets in Week 9 as the Vikings fell by six to Lake Central and the Trojans hung around before seeing Merrillville pull away in the second half. Valparaiso prevailed in the regular season meeting with the Trojans 21-14 in Week 5.

Penn (9-0) at Portage (6-3)

The Portage Indians cannot seem to catch a break when it comes to the sectional draw.  Although Portage will finally play a postseason home game for the first time since 2009, the Indians are matched up with undefeated Penn.  Portage has been ousted in the opening round of the sectional each of the last three years.  Conversely, Penn has not lost in the first round in over 20 years.  The Kingsmen blanked Portage 32-0 in Week 2 of the regular season.

LaPorte (1-8) at Mishawka (6-3)

LaPorte has played its best football of the season the last two weeks, downing Michigan City 48-21 before taking Portage to overtime in Week 9.   Mishawaka is 0-2 against Northwest Indiana teams this season after falling to Portage and Crown Point in Weeks 1 and 2.  However, the Cavemen have reached the sectional final four straight years, taking the championship in three of those seasons.  LaPorte has made a first-round exit from the sectional four years in a row, including a 27-14 loss to Mishawaka in 2009.

East Chicago (7-2) at Morton (8-1)

The first time the two teams met this season, Morton came away victorious in a 19-6 contest.  This is the third consecutive year that this matchup has occurred in the sectional, with the four-time defending sectional champion Governors taking both prior meetings.  After first-round exits for nine straight years 2001-2010, the Cardinals have won at least one postseason game each of the last two seasons.

Lowell (6-3) at West Side (5-4) at East Chicago Central High School

In perhaps the most intriguing matchup of the week, Lowell and West Side get together for the first-ever meeting between the two schools.  Both teams have been playing football for the last 35 years without crossing paths in the regular season or the postseason.  This game was initially slated to take place at West Side, but the IHSAA moved it to East Chicago due to the condition of West Side’s facilities.

Highland (4-5) at Gavit (2-7)

The Highland Trojans reached the sectional championship game for the first time since 2004 a season ago after upstaging both Griffith and West Side in the postseason.  This time around, the Trojans will play the role of favorite as they host the Gladiators, who have dropped four straight.  The last time these two teams met was Aug. 30, 2002, a 40-14 Gavit win.  The Gladiators have seen their season come to an end with a first-round sectional loss for seven straight years.

Clark (2-7) at Griffith (2-7)

Both teams received a favorable draw as one of these two schools will notch its third win of the season and advance to the second round.  These two teams have gotten together nine times over the last 20 years with Griffith posting a 9-0 mark in those meetings.  Clark is searching for its first postseason win since 2008.

South Bend St. Joseph’s (6-3) at Hobart (5-4)

Hobart has won at least one postseason game each of the last 10 years.  The Brickies snapped a four-game losing streak by topping Highland 20-7 to close the regular season, while the Indians have posted 42 points each of the last two weeks.

Kankakee Valley (4-5) at New Prairie (9-0)

In just two seasons, Russ Radtke has matched the win total that Marty Mosson accumulated over four seasons at the helm in New Prairie.  The Cougars will look to remain perfect on the season as they welcome Kankakee Valley, which has not recorded a postseason victory since 2007.

Calumet (2-7) at Lew Wallace (2-4)

Calumet prevailed 42-0 in its most recent game against Lew Wallace, which took place five years ago.  The Hornets have not won a postseason game since Oct. 20, 1995, a 44-0 win over Roosevelt.  A season ago, the Warriors went winless in the regular season before topping Gavit in the opening round of the sectional.

Knox (3-6) at Andrean (9-0)

Andrean fans need not be reminded of what occurred the last time the 59ers entered the postseason with an undefeated record.  On Oct. 21, 2011 Andrean picked the worst time to suffer its first loss of the season, a 12-7 stunning defeat against Wheeler.  Andrean ended Knox’s season in 1995, 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Bishop Noll (5-4) at Rensselaer Central (7-2)

When Chris Meeks took over Rensselaer’s program in 1999, the Bombers were eliminated from the postseason in the opening round each of his first two seasons.  Since then, Rensselaer has recorded at least one sectional win every year, picking up six sectional championships and two regional titles along the way.

Boone Grove (7-2) at Wheeler (5-4)

Wheeler enters the postseason having won four straight, while Boone Grove posted its best regular season record in the short history of Wolves football.

Bowman Academy (4-5) at River Forest (5-4)

River Forest has won one postseason game over the last 13 years (2011).  The Ingots came away with a shocking 30-20 victory over Whiting two weeks ago, only to lose to South Central to close the regular season.

South Central (5-4) at Culver (3-6)

Culver took the regular season meeting with South Central 32-21 on Aug. 31.  However, the Satellites are perhaps the hottest team in Northwest Indiana as they carry a five-game winning streak into the postseason.

LaVille (4-5) at Whiting (8-1)

The Oilers were unable to finish the season with an undefeated record, but they have a larger goal in mind as they enter the sectional.  Whiting has won the last three meetings with LaVille dating back to Oct. 31, 2003.

Lake Station (2-7) at Winamac (9-0)

Lake Station’s program has showed signs of progress, but an unfavorable draw has put the Eagles in a different spot as they face off with unbeaten Winamac.  Since winning the sectional title in 1999, the Eagles have been eliminated in the first round 13 out of 14 seasons.

-Brandon Vickrey

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