It’s hard to believe, but this marks my eighth season picking high school football and boys’ basketball games for RRSN. I am hoping to finally reach that elusive 80 percent plateau and improve on last year’s mark of 223-75, which was good for 75 percent. Records indicated were final for 2017.
NORTHERN INDIANA CONFERENCE
Adams (3-7) at Northridge (9-1): The Raiders rolled to a 26-14 win over Adams a year ago. Ira Armstead threw for 1,049 yards and 12 touchdowns for the Eagles. Julius Graber tossed for 335 yards and three scores for Northridge. Matt’s pick: Adams 35, Northridge 23.
Elkhart Central (4-6) at Elkhart Memorial (2-9): The Blazers claimed the Mangy Lion last season with a 21-20 win over Elkhart Memorial. Ricky Rocha ran for 647 yards and four touchdowns for Elkhart Central. Javon Forester returns for his third season in the Chargers’ secondary. Matt’s pick: Elkhart Central 32, Elkhart Memorial 16.
Mishawaka (6-5) at Portage (5-6): The Cavemen hung on for a 47-45 win against Portage a season ago. This marks the first game for new Mishawaka coach Keith Kinder. Chris Harness accumulated 1,662 yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground for Mishawaka. Teangelo Rayner racked up 79 tackles for the Indians. Matt’s pick: Mishawaka 33, Portage 21.
LaPorte (7-4) at New Prairie (11-2): The Slicers carved up New Prairie, 41-12, in their last meeting. Noah Perez recorded 117 tackles for LaPorte. Chris Mays rambled for 1,197 yards and 12 touchdowns for the Cougars. Matt’s pick: New Prairie 34, LaPorte 20.
Saint Joseph (5-7) at Concord (10-2): The Indians are looking to avenge a 31-30 to Concord last year. John Driscoll ran for 670 yards and eight touchdowns for Saint Joseph. Ethan Cain passed for 891 yards and six scores for the Minutemen. Matt’s pick: Saint Joseph 28, Concord 21.
Valparaiso (8-2) at Penn (12-2): The Vikings opened the 2017 season with a 12-7 win over Penn, while the Kingsmen blanked Valparaiso, 13-0, in the Class 6A sectional semifinals. Max Bukus registered 19 tackles for the Vikings. Brock Boynton tallied 247 receiving yards and two scores for the Kingsmen. Matt’s pick: Penn 31, Valparaiso 13.
Bremen (4-6) at Tippecanoe Valley (2-8): The Lions roared past Tippecanoe Valley, 41-13, last season. Nathan Mullen scampered for 998 yards and 14 touchdowns for Bremen. Alex Morrison tallied 418 yards on the ground and five scores for the Vikings. Matt’s pick: Bremen 24, Tippecanoe Valley 12.
Clay (0-10) at Marian (9-5): The Knights crowned Clay, 42-8, a season ago. This is the opener for new Colonials’ boss Garrett Fields. Clay is hoping to end a 22-game losing streak. Ashton Smith returns at wide receiver for the Colonials. John Brach accumulated 652 yards rushing and nine touchdowns for Marian. Matt’s pick: Marian 40, Clay 6.
Glenn (3-7) at Boone Grove (8-4): The Falcons soared to a 23-12 win against Boone Grove a year ago. Zach Neiswender passed for 424 yards and two touchdowns for Glenn. Dylan Paul tossed for 1,100 yards and 10 scores for the Wolves. Matt’s pick: Boone Grove 20, Glenn 10.
Hammond (3-7) at Washington (3-7) (School Field): The Panthers blanked Hammond, 22-0, last year. Alexander Fuentes recorded 40 tackles for the Wildcats. Jarvise Knight had 1,037 yards and seven touchdowns through the air for Washington. Matt’s pick: Washington 25, Hammond 9.
New Haven (9-2) at Riley (7-4) (Jackson Field): This is the first meeting on the gridiron between the Bulldogs and Riley. Jimmy Linn takes the sidelines for the first time as the man in charge for New Haven. Jalen Jennings hauled 1,280 receiving yards for the Wildcats. Stephen Owens ran for 1,196 yards and 15 touchdowns for the Bulldogs. Matt’s pick: New Haven 29, Riley 19.
NorthWood (7-4) at Jimtown (6-6): The Panthers rolled to a 31-0 victory over Jimtown last year. Jake Lone came up with 49 stops for NorthWood. Trey Washington rambled for 635 yards and four touchdowns for Jimtown. Matt’s pick: NorthWood 23, Jimtown 14.
NORTHERN LAKES CONFERENCE
Fairfield (1-9) at Goshen (2-9): The Falcons recorded a 19-0 win against Goshen in their last matchup. Fairfield has a new look on the sidelines with Matt Thacker replacing long-time coach Bob Miller. Peyton Hendrix recorded 34 tackles for the Falcons. Daveyon Sandford had 220 yards receiving and two touchdowns for the RedHawks. Matt’s pick: Goshen 18, Fairfield 7.
Plymouth (6-4) at East Noble (8-3): The Knights posted a 14-13 victory over Plymouth in last year’s sectional opener, while the Rockies opened the season with a 22-18 triumph against East Noble. Blake Reed totaled 767 yards rushing and five touchdowns for the Rockies. Kaden Harshberger hauled in 842 receiving yards and eight scores for East Noble. Matt’s pick: Plymouth 26, East Noble 24.
Warsaw (6-5) at Columbia City (5-5): The Tigers were a 21-6 winner over Columbia City last season. Bryce Garner had 369 yards rushing and two touchdowns for Warsaw. Jacob Belt tossed for 792 yards and six scores for the Eagles. Matt’s pick: Warsaw 30, Columbia City 14.
Wawasee (3-7) at Lakeland (5-6): The Warriors marched past Lakeland, 53-34, a season ago. Dylan Hepler accumulated 436 receiving yards and five touchdowns for Wawasee. A.J. Poe threw for 841 yards and five scores for the Lakers. Matt’s pick: Lakeland 36, Wawasee 29.
Hobart (6-4) at Chesterton (4-6): The Brickies are trying to make amends for a 35-21 loss to Chesterton a year ago. Orio Yester finished with 54 tackles for Hobart. Kody Wilkerson tallied 104 tackles for the Trojans. Matt’s pick: Hobart 27, Chesterton 25.
Lowell (14-1) at Crown Point (7-5): The defending Class 4A state runner-up Red Devils earned a 22-13 win over Crown Point last season. Ethan Igris tossed for 1,416 yards and 13 touchdowns for Lowell. Scott Mills scampered for 318 yards and three scores for the Bulldogs. Matt’s pick: Lowell 31, Crown Point 16.
Merrillville (1-9) at Andrean (8-4): The 59ers rolled to a 42-13 win against Merrillville last year. Matt Guerrero recorded 81 tackles for the Pirates. Cameron Williams came up with 65 stops for Andrean. Matt’s pick: Andrean 39, Merrillville 23.
Michigan City (9-4) at Griffith (10-2): The Wolves escaped with a 25-20 win over Griffith a season ago. Chase Triplett amassed 140 tackles for Michigan City. Ernest Johnson racked up 1,175 all-purpose yards and 14 scores for the Panthers. Matt’s pick: Michigan City 38, Griffith 32.
Munster (4-6) at Lake Central (2-8): The Indians stormed past Munster, 33-14, in their last meeting. Michael Dywan racked up 63 tackles for the Mustangs. Quincy Tribble recorded 377 yards receiving and two scores for Lake Central. Matt’s pick: Lake Central 34, Munster 18.
HOOSIER NORTH CONFERENCE
Caston (1-9) at West Central (0-10): The Comets earned their lone victory in 2017 with a 13-8 decision over West Central. The Trojans are looking to halt a 12-game losing streak. Chris Smith notched 27 tackles for Caston. Cameron Pratt had 313 receiving yards for the Trojans. Matt’s pick: West Central 14, Caston 7.
Culver (6-5) at North Judson (3-7): The Bluejays suffered a 12-0 loss to Culver a year ago. Zac Ditmire ran for 517 yards and five scores for the Cavaliers. Fletcher Greer rambled for 566 yards and five touchdowns for North Judson. Matt’s pick: North Judson 35, Culver 16.
Knox (9-2) at Winamac (4-7): The Redskins cruised to a 41-12 win against Winamac last season. Dawson Patrick racked up 53 tackles for Knox. Kyle Chumley scampered for 426 yards and six scores for the Warriors. Matt’s pick: Knox 41, Winamac 27.
LaVille (8-5) at Culver Academy (10-2): The Eagles posted a 30-14 win over LaVille during the 1982 campaign. Riley Wagoner notched 136 tackles for the Lancers. Alex Stathakis recorded 49 tackles for Culver Academy. Matt’s pick: Culver Academy 20, LaVille 17.
Pioneer (14-0) at Lewis Cass (7-5): The defending Class 1A state champion Panthers shut out Lewis Cass, 30-0, in last year’s opener. Daniel Gregorich rambled for 701 yards and 11 scores for Pioneer. Gabe Eurit managed 768 yards rushing and seven touchdowns for the Kings. Matt’s pick: Pioneer 44, Lewis Cass 10.
Triton (8-4) at South Central (4-6): The Trojans rambled past South Central, 34-20, in the 2014 season. James Snyder threw for 1,993 yards and 23 touchdowns for Triton. Jake Osburn recorded 787 yards rushing and seven touchdowns for the Satellites. Matt’s pick: Triton 28, South Central 15.