It was an average week for me as I went 14-4 (78 percent) picking the semifinal contests. Heading into the finals, my overall record is 180-52, which keeps me at 77 percent.
Sectional 1: Crown Point (6-4) at Portage (5-5): The Indians posted a 27-10 win over Crown Point on September 15. Vincent Smith recorded an interception and two quarterback sacks for the Bulldogs in their23-14 win over Merrillville. Cody Russell rambled for 90 yards and a pair of scores for Portage in a 34-14 win over Lake Central. Crown Point is going for its second straight sectional title, while Portage’s last crown came in 2003. Matt’s pick: Portage 28, Crown Point 27.
Sectional 2: Warsaw (6-4) at Penn (9-1): The Kingsmen crowned Warsaw, 42-21, during the 2012 tournament. Braden Weaver came up with 14 tackles and a fumble recovery for the Tigers in a 26-16 victory over Chesterton. Zach Usenick caught 10 passes for 99 yards and a touchdown in Penn’s 13-0 win at Valparaiso. Warsaw has never won a sectional championship, while Penn is looking for its fifth consecutive crown. Matt’s pick: Penn 42, Warsaw 14.
Sectional 3: Carroll (Fort Wayne) (7-3) at Fort Wayne Snider (10-0): The Panthers blasted Carroll, 69-7, on August 25. Cam Shank scampered for 130 yards and three scores in the Chargers’ 42-34 win over Fort Wayne Northrop. Christian Covington ran for 138 yards and two touchdowns in Snider’s 37-0 blanking of Homestead. Carroll is trying for its first sectional since 2014, while F.W. Snider is in pursuit of its 11th straight title. Matt’s pick: Fort Wayne Snider 49, Carroll 16.
Sectional 4: Lafayette Jeff (10-0) at Carmel (6-4): The Greyhounds raced past Lafayette Jeff, 44-21, during the 2008 post-season. Latrell Brown came up with 115 yards on the ground with a touchdown and caught a pass for another score in the Bronchos’ 27-24 win over defending Class 5A state champion Westfield. Camari Hunt exploded for 174 yards and two scores for Carmel in a 25-7 win at Noblesville. Lafayette Jeff’s last sectional came in 2003, while Carmel is looking for its fifth in a row. Matt’s pick: Carmel 23, Lafayette Jeff 20.
Sectional 9: LaPorte (7-3) at Michigan City (7-3): The Slicers slipped by Michigan City, 58-56, on October 6. Isaac Alexander romped for 147 yards and two touchdowns in LaPorte’s 40-19 win against Adams. Keyshawn McGill had five receptions for 171 yards and one score and ran for another tally in the Wolves’ 28-14 win at Munster. LaPorte is going for its first sectional since 2014, while Michigan City is trying for its first championship. Matt’s pick: LaPorte 39, Michigan City 37.
Sectional 10: Concord (9-1) at Goshen (2-8): The Minutemen rolled to a 49-14 victory against Goshen on September 15. Dominick DeBroka tallied 67 yards on the ground in Concord’s 16-9 win at Elkhart Memorial. Liam Morales rushed for 177 yards with a touchdown in the Redhawks’ 15-14 win at Elkhart Central. Concord’s last sectional championship came in 2013, while Goshen’s last crown was in 2000. Matt’s pick: Concord 36, Goshen 12.
Sectional 11: Kokomo (6-4) at McCutcheon (7-3): The Mavericks earned a 26-10 triumph over Kokomo on September 8. Kyle Wade tossed for 76 yards and ran for 62 yards and two scores in the Wildkats’ 13-8 win against Harrison (West Lafayette). Austin Bennett ran 20 times for 117 yards and two touchdowns in McCutcheon’s 42-7 win over Huntington North. Kokomo is going for a third straight sectional title, while McCutcheon’s last championship was in 1999. Matt’s pick: McCutcheon 31, Kokomo 22.
Sectional 12: Zionsville (6-5) at New Palestine (10-0): The Dragons trounced Zionsville, 49-21, in the 2015 regional. Cole Wiseman threw for 167 yards and three touchdowns in the Eagles’ 35-0 blanking of Anderson. Luke Canfield accumulated 244 yards rushing and two scores in Zionsville’s 54-14 win over Muncie Central. Zionsville is going after its third sectional in a row, while New Palestine last won a title in 2015. Matt’s pick: New Palestine 44, Zionsville 21.
Sectional 17: Griffith (10-1) at Lowell (11-0): The Panthers pounced past Lowell, 17-9, during the 2016 campaign. Anthony Compton caught two passes for 69 yards and a score for Griffith in a 35-21 win over Hammond Morton. Ethan Igras threw for 125 yards with a touchdown in the Red Devils’ 35-0 blanking of Highland. Griffith has not won a sectional title since 2008, while Lowell is going for its third in a row. Matt’s pick: Lowell 30, Griffith 17.
Sectional 18: South Bend St. Joseph (5-6) at New Prairie (10-1): The Cougars captured the 2013 sectional crown with a 28-6 win over Saint Joseph. John Paul Martin raced for 81 yards and a score in the Indians’ 39-27 win over Riley. Nick Wilson threw a 25-yard touchdown pass and rushed for 168 yards and two scores in New Prairie’s 42-21 win over Mishawaka. Saint Joe’s last sectional crown came in 2015, while New Prairie’s last title came in 2014. Matt’s pick: New Prairie 45, Saint Joseph 19.
Sectional 19: Angola (11-0) at Culver Academy (10-1): The Hornets smothered Culver Academy, 53-21, in the 1992 campaign. Jarrett Gibson ran and threw for touchdowns in Angola’s 28-21 overtime victory at NorthWood. Jake Rogers caught two passes for 84 yards and a score in the Eagles’ 33-28 victory over East Noble. Angola is in pursuit of its first sectional championship since 1992, while Culver Academy claimed its last crown in 2015. Matt’s pick: Culver Academy 32, Angola 29.
Sectional 20: Fort Wayne Wayne (5-6) at Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger (8-3): The Generals dropped a 20-12 contest to Bishop Dwenger on August 18. Craig Young rambled for 44 yards with a touchdown in Fort Wayne Wayne’s 9-6 win over Jay County. Chip Clark romped for 101 yards and a score in the Saints’ 13-6 victory against New Haven. Wayne has not won a sectional title since 1996, while Bishop Dwenger won a crown in 2015. Matt’s pick: Bishop Dwenger 38, F.W. Wayne 10.
Sectional 25: Andrean (8-3) at West Lafayette (10-1): The 59ers earned a spot in the 2013 state title game with a 52-7 win over West Lafayette in the northern semistate. Ryan Walsh had 112 yards on the ground with a touchdown in Andrean’s 69-7 victory over Wheeler. Sage Hood scampered for 82 yards and a score in the Red Devils’ 56-6 win over Twin Lakes. Andrean is going for its first sectional since 2014, while West Lafayette is looking for its third consecutive crown. Matt’s pick: West Lafayette 41, Andrean 13.
Sectional 26: Southmont (7-4) at Brebeuf Jesuit (7-4): The Braves eliminated Southmont from the 2002 sectionals with a 13-10 victory. Reese Vancleave ran for 82 yards and three touchdowns in the Mounties’ 35-14 victory against Hamilton Heights. Isaiah Martin raced for 154 yards and a score in Brebeuf’s 42-14 win over Blackford. Southmont is trying for its first sectional title, while Brebeuf’s only title came in 2013. Matt’s pick: Brebeuf Jesuit 22, Southmont 18.
Sectional 27: Jimtown (6-5) at Marian (7-4): The Jimmies blanked Marian, 7-0, on September 15. Nic Fann came up with an interception in Jimtown’s 24-7 victory over Peru. Zack Whitfield recorded nine tackles in the Knights’ 17-13 win at Knox. Jimtown is trying for its first sectional since 2014, while Marian is looking to make it three in a row. Matt’s pick: Marian 23, Jimtown 17.
Sectional 28: Fort Wayne Concordia (7-4) at Fort Wayne Bishop Luers (7-4): The defending state champion Cadets came away with a 28-7 win over Bishop Luers on September 8. Brandon Davis tossed for 109 yards and a score in Concordia’s 32-0 shutout of Lakeland. Jordan Presley rambled for 135 yards and two touchdowns in the Knights’ 40-17 win over Norwell. Concordia is going its second straight sectional crown, while Bishop Luers has not won one since 2014. Matt’s pick: Concordia 33, Bishop Luers 31.
Sectional 33: North Newton (7-4) at Boone Grove (8-3): The Wolves suffered a 46-6 loss to North Newton on September 23. Colin Wagner scampered for 229 yards and four scores in the Spartans’ 36-6 win over Lake Station. Braeton Vann rambled for 217 yards and five touchdowns in Boone Grove’s 47-20 win over Gary Roosevelt. North Newton’s last sectional crown came in 1993, while Boone Grove is going for its first title. Matt’s pick: North Newton 35, Boone Grove 31.
Sectional 34: Central Noble (8-3) at Woodlan (9-2): The Warriors marched past Central Noble, 42-7, in the 2015 playoffs. Braxton Dial scored four touchdowns in the Cougars’ 54-14 victory over Bluffton. Dane Castleman recorded 10 tackles for Woodlan in its 32-8 win over Wabash. Central Noble has not won a sectional championship since 2002, while Woodlan is trying for its first crown since 2015. Matt’s pick: Woodlan 41, Central Noble 13.
Sectional 35: Lewis Cass (7-4) at Eastbrook (11-0): The Kings recorded a 42-14 victory over Eastbrook in the 2005 regional. Brady Johnson had a pair of scores for Lewis Cass in a 33-6 win over Delphi. Davon Wallace raced for 71 yards and a touchdown in the Panthers’ 21-3 win over Rensselaer Central. Lewis Cass is trying for its first sectional since 2002, while Eastbrook is looking for back-to-back crowns. Matt’s pick: Eastbrook 43, Lewis Cass 12.
Sectional 36: Lapel (8-3) at Shenandoah (9-2): The Raiders rolled to a 53-20 win over Lapel on September 8. Malachi Qualls booted a 31-yard field goal in the Bulldogs’ 31-14 victory over Alexandria. Peyton Starks threw for 101 yards and two touchdowns in Shenandoah’s 49-18 win over Frankton. Lapel and Shenandoah are both in search of their first sectional title since 2014. Matt’s pick: Shenandoah 37, Lapel 22.
Sectional 41: Triton (8-3) at LaVille (7-4): The Trojans held on for a 22-14 win over LaVille on August 25. Ethan Berry accumulated 12 carries for 100 yards with a touchdown in Triton’s 48-29 win over Winamac. Jimmy Fischer caught a 66-yard scoring pass in the Lancers’ 19-16 win over Culver. Triton claimed its last sectional title in 2008, while LaVille has not celebrated since 2003. Matt’s pick: Triton 25, LaVille 24.
Sectional 42: Lafayette Central Catholic (4-7) at Pioneer (11-0): The Panthers racked up a regional championship last season with a 28-27 win over Lafayette Central Catholic. Daniel Roach had three receptions for 58 yards and a touchdown in the Knights’ 38-28 win over North Miami. Austin Mersch ran for 67 yards and two scores in Pioneer’s 46-0 blanking of North White, Lafayette Central Catholic is trying for its fourth straight sectional title, while Pioneer is going for its fifth in a row. Matt’s pick: Pioneer 46, Lafayette Central Catholic 26.
Sectional 43: Southwood (10-1) at Adams Central (9-2): The Flying Jets soared to a 23-7 victory against Southwood a year ago in the regional final. Matthew Nose caught nine passes for 122 yards with a touchdown in the Knights’ 51-19 triumph over Eastside. Parker Bates threw for 70 yards in the Flying Jets’ 17-14 win over Churubusco. Southwood is looking for back-to-back sectional titles, while Adams Central is trying for its third straight crown. Matt’s pick: Southwood 47, Adams Central 45.
Sectional 44: Monroe Central (10-1) at Sheridan (9-2): The Golden Bears are meeting Sheridan for the first time on the gridiron. Seth Wilson exploded for 154 yards and four touchdowns in Monroe Central’s 42-12 win over Clinton Prairie. James Manis racked up 16 tackles for the Blackhawks’ in a 35-8 win over Wes-Del. Monroe Central is in pursuit of its first sectional championship, while Sheridan’s last crown came in 2012. Matt’s pick: Sheridan 40, Monroe Central 38.