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Week 8 High School Football Previews

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Crown Point (3-4, 2-3) at Chesterton (3-4, 2-3)
Both teams must win in order to avoid securing a losing regular season record.  The Trojans gave Lake Central a scare last week, only to fall 14-13 and suffer their third straight loss.  The Bulldogs are trending in the opposite direction after blowout victories over Valparaiso and LaPorte. Chesterton prevailed 28-21 when the two teams faced off last year.

Merrillville (6-1, 5-0) at Lake Central (6-1, 5-0)
All eyes will be on the Burial Grounds on Friday night as Merrillville and Lake Central face off in a game that will determine who takes over sole possession of first place in the DAC entering the final week of the season.  The last time Lake Central was undefeated in conference play entering Week 8, the Indians lost to Merrillville 27-24 in 2011.  The Pirates have won 16 consecutive meetings between the two teams since a 14-13 Lake Central win on Oct. 25, 2002. In order to finally complete the program’s turnaround, the Indians will have to end the drought against the Pirates and capture the conference title.   Both teams are ranked in the Associated Press 6A poll as Merrillville is ranked eighth with Lake Central checking in at 10th.

Michigan City (2-5, 0-5) at LaPorte (0-7, 0-5)
The loser will be alone in the cellar of the Duneland Athletic Conference as LaPorte and Michigan City hookup on Friday night.  The Wolves have dropped four straight to the Slicers and have not won in LaPorte since Oct. 6, 1995.

Valparaiso (3-4, 3-2) at Portage (4-3, 3-2)
The Vikings have captured seven straight games in the Porter County rivalry between Portage and Valparaiso.  Portage is looking to avenge a lopsided 43-14 defeat to a Valparaiso team that finished the season with just three wins in 2012.  The Indians are looking for their first four-game conference winning streak since 2006, when they finished 6-5 in the final year of Craig Buzea’s tenure as head coach.  Portage is on its third head coach since that time. Valparaiso is in danger of dropping three straight DAC games after a 35-8 loss to Merrillville a week ago in a game that was closer than the final score would indicate.

Griffith (1-6, 0-5) at Andrean (7-0, 4-0)
The game against Griffith is simply a formality for the AP Class 3A No. 1 Andrean 59ers in advance of next week’s potential Northwest Crossroads Conference championship game against Lowell.  Griffith has lost five in a row for the first time since 2003 and is looking to avoid its first six-game skid in over 20 years.

Lowell (5-2, 4-0) at Munster (5-2, 3-1)
While the 59ers have the benefit of taking on the scuffling Panthers, Lowell will have to get through AP Class 5A No. 6 Munster in order to morph next week’s game into a winner-take-all battle for the conference.   The Mustangs can sneak back into contention for a share of the NCC title with a victory.  The home team has won this matchup each of the last five years.

Highland (4-3, 1-3) at Kankakee Valley (3-4, 1-3)
After taking the Battle for the Erie-Lackawanna Trail from Griffith last week, Highland will look to make it back-to-back conference wins for the first time since 2002. Kankakee Valley has captured five of the last six meetings between the two teams with Highland’s only victory coming in 2011.  A win will make this Highland’s best season since 2004.

Hobart (4-3, 2-3) at Morton (5-2, 3-1)
The AP Class 4A No. 11 Morton Governors are coming off a game for the ages, when they outscored West Side 63-56 in a wild, back-and-forth affair.  The Governors posted 63 points for the first time since Sept. 26, 2008, a 63-8 win over Hammond.  Remarkably, the Morton defense is still allowing an average of only 15.1 points per game even after yielding 56 last week.  Hobart is looking to bring a three game losing streak to a halt.

Calumet (2-5, 1-4) at South Central (3-4, 3-2)
South Central has quietly won three consecutive games including a 44-10 trouncing of North Newton last week.  Calumet is trending in the opposite direction as it attempts to snap a four-game skid.  The last time Calumet defeated South Central was an unusual 6-2 game in 2009.

North Newton (1-6, 0-5) at Lake Station (1-6, 1-4)
Lake Station owns just one conference victory on the season but nearly upended Wheeler last week before falling 14-7.  North Newton has struggled defensively, allowing 42.1 points per game in its first year under Aaron Sauter. The Spartans are in the midst of a six-game losing streak, their longest since dropping eight in a row to finish 2006 and start 2007.

Wheeler (3-4, 3-2) at Bishop Noll (4-3, 4-1)
Wheeler has won back-to-back games over River Forest and Lake Station to salvage its hopes of a winning season.  In order to keep those wishes intact, the Bearcats will need to take down the Bishop Noll Warriors, who are coming off a 13-6, overtime victory at River Forest. The Warriors have dropped seven consecutive head-to-head meetings with Wheeler.

Whiting (7-0, 5-0) at River Forest (4-3, 3-2)
The significance of this Greater South Shore showdown took a hit last week when River Forest suffered an OT defeat to Bishop Noll.  The Oilers, who are ranked fourth in the AP Class 1A poll, can clinch at least a share of the GSSC with a victory, while the host Ingots have been relegated to the role of spoilers.

Roosevelt (0-7) at Clark (1-6)
The Hammond Clark Pioneers finally ended a 15-game losing streak with last week’s 21-6 takedown of Gavit.  Now, Clark is in a position where it can pick up back-to-back victories for the first time since the first two weeks of the 2011 season.  The last time these two teams met was Oct. 19, 2007, a 54-14 Clark triumph. The Cougars have not topped Clark since Sept. 28, 2001. Roosevelt has not scored more than nine points in a game this season and has averaged just 4.1 points per game.

Hammond (1-6, 0-1) at Gavit (1-6, 1-1)
After posting winning seasons in 2011 and 2012, Hammond has already secured its first losing season of the Eric Schreiber era.  Conversely, Gavit has locked up its 10th straight losing campaign.

Culver Academy (4-3) at Boone Grove (6-1) at Valparaiso High School
Boone Grove can latch down its best regular season in the brief history of the program with a win over Culver Academy.  This will mark the first-ever meeting between the Wolves and Eagles.

West Side (3-4, 0-0) at Lew Wallace (2-2, 1-0)
Wallace can clinch the Northwestern Conference outright with a victory over West Side.  However, the Cougars could sweep Lew Wallace and Roosevelt the next two weeks and take the conference.  West Side has scored 50 points per game, including last week’s 56-point outpouring against Morton.

-Brandon Vickrey

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