Heading into my 10th season predicting games with RRSN, I managed to achieve my goal of reaching the 80 percent plateau in 2019 by finishing with a record of 191-48. Here are my thoughts for the season openers with last year’s records being reflected. Games are Friday unless indicated.
NORTHERN INDIANA CONFERENCE
Adams (0-10) at Washington (6-4) (TCU School Field): The Panthers rolled to a 26-13 win over Adams last year. Sidney Jeffries tallied 650 receiving yards and five touchdowns for the Eagles last year. Anthony Blake was part of a Washington front line that allowed just 145 yards rushing per contest in 2019. Matt’s pick: Washington 21, Adams 13.
Glenn (3-7) at Boone Grove (10-1): The Wolves roared to a 42-21 victory against Glenn a season ago. Jake Taylor racked up 35 tackles for the Falcons. Hayden Crook ran 24 times for 176 yards and two scores for Boone Grove. Matt’s pick: Boone Grove 28, Glenn 18.
LaPorte (3-8) at New Prairie (11-2) (Saturday): The No, 8 (Class 4A) Cougars claimed a 48-14 victory over LaPorte to open the 2019 campaign. Jaden Browder registered 87 tackles for the Slicers. Bobby Siford came up with 68 tackles for New Prairie. Casey McKim replaces Russ Radtke as the Cougars’ boss. Matt’s pick: New Prairie 34, LaPorte 20.
Marian (12-2) at Mishawaka (8-4): The No. 7 (Class 5A) Cavemen earned a 15-6 win against No. 4 (Class 3A) Marian last season. Malcolm Anderson raced 114 times for 791 yards and 10 scores for the Knights. Drew Mason recorded 120 carries for 592 yards and nine touchdowns for Mishawaka. Matt’s pick: Mishawaka 30, Marian 29.
Michigan City (4-6) at Riley (5-5) (Jackson Field): The Wildcats suffered a 55-7 loss to Michigan City during the 2004 season. Jonathon Flemings had 176 rushes for 1,098 yards and 11 touchdowns for the Wolves. Tyson Lee finished with 46 tackles for Riley. While Jarvis Edison takes the year off to complete his college studies, Justin Kinzie serves the top man for the Wildcats. Matt’s pick: Michigan City 33, Riley 22.
Osceola Grace (9-2) at Clay (1-9): The Eagles and Clay are meeting for the first time on the gridiron. Michael Eriks caught 27 passes for 495 yards and seven scores for Osceola Grace. Jalen Pigee accounted for 108 yards on the ground for the Colonials. Darius Mitchell takes over for Garrett Fields at Clay. Matt’s pick: Osceola Grace 38, Clay 36.
Saint Joseph (2-9) at Bremen (3-8) (Saturday): The Indians and Bremen have never played on the football field before. Michael Tarwacki accounted for 45 tackles for Saint Joseph. Brady Gunter rambled 93 times for 551 yards with a touchdown for the Lions. Matt’s pick: Bremen 26, Saint Joseph 24.
Valparaiso (13-1) at Penn (6-5) (Saturday): The No, 2 and defending Class 5A state runner-up Vikings marched to a 34-14 win against Penn last year. Cooper Jones registered 53 tackles for Valparaiso. Kyle Riffel scampered 209 times for 1,313 yards with 11 scores for the Kingsmen. Matt’s pick: Valparaiso 37, Penn 21.
NORTHERN LAKES CONFERENCE
Plymouth (9-3) at East Noble (14-1): The Rockies dropped a 34-31 contest to No. 3 and defending Class 4A state runner-up East Noble last season. Daniel Bacon accumulated 102 tackles for Plymouth. Justin Marcellus tallied 292 carries for 1,120 yards and eight touchdowns for the Knights. Matt’s pick: East Noble 25, Plymouth 19.
Warsaw (9-3) at Huntington North (3-8): The Tigers clawed their way to a 52-13 win over Huntington North a season ago. Zach DeFord mustered 66 tackles for Warsaw. Garret Johnson ran for 420 yards and a score for the Vikings. Matt’s pick: Warsaw 40, Huntington North 20.
Wawasee (2-8) at Lakeland (2-8): The Warriors posted a 28-14 victory against Lakeland a year ago. Parker Young was 68-of-174 for 829 yards and four touchdowns for Wawasee. Bryce Alleshouse amassed 54 tackles for the Lakers. Ryan O’Shea replaced Keith Thompson as the top man for Lakeland. Matt’s pick: Wawasee 21, Lakeland 14.
Andrean (10-4) at Merrillville (11-2): The No. 7 (Class 6A) Pirates came away with a 42-20 win over No. 4 (Class 2A) Andrean in their last meeting. Ryan Walsh came up with 278 carries for 2,251 yards for the 59ers. Devin Sanders racked up 77 tackles for the Pirates. Matt’s pick: Andrean 39, Merrillville 34.
Hanover Central (6-4) at Portage (1-9); The Wildcats and Portage have never met before on the gridiron. Blaze Cano went 87-of-158 for 1,360 yards and 17 touchdowns for Hanover Central. Daeton Spicer managed 41 tackles for the Indians. Terry Chestovich replaces Darren Rodriguez on the Portage sidelines. Matt’s pick: Portage 32, Hanover Central 12.
Hobart (11-3) at Chesterton (6-4): The No. 2 (Class 4A) Brickies are looking to make amends for a 21-13 loss to Chesterton last season. Bobby Babcock exploded for 84 tackles for Hobart. Chris Mullen completed 151-of-284 for 2,477 yards with 26 scores for the Trojans. Matt’s pick: Hobart 35, Chesterton 17.
Lowell (7-5) at Crown Point (6-5): The Red Devils managed a 21-19 win over Crown Point a year ago. Jacob Chandler recorded 88 rushes for 444 yards and eight touchdowns for Lowell. Matthew Walters scampered 141 times for 707 yards and 10 scores for the Bulldogs. Matt’s pick: Lowell 29, Crown Point 23.
Munster (0-10) at Lake Central (3-7): The Indians stormed past Munster, 37-7, last year. Blake Siurek came up with 47 stops for the Mustangs. Diego Garcia hauled in 16 receptions for 117 yards and a touchdown for Lake Central. Matt’s pick: Lake Central 36, Munster 10.