Scouting Week 5 of Indiana Football

2010-09-16T22:00:00Z 2010-09-17T20:52:03Z Scouting Week 5 of Indiana FootballBy Times Staff nwitimes.com
September 16, 2010 10:00 pm  • 

Chesterton (4-0, 2-0 DAC) at Valparaiso (4-0, 2-0 DAC)

When: 7 p.m. today.

Radio/Internet: WAKE-AM (1500), Z1071.com, WEFM-FM (95.9), rrsn.com. 

Breaking it down: Chesterton is averaging over 41 points per game and has yet to punt this season but is going up against what Valpo coach Mark Hoffman calls a "rock solid" first unit defense that has allowed just four touchdowns. "It's option football -- a 3 1/2-yard gain is a win," Valpo coach Mark Hoffman said. "They just do that, do that, do that. They're patient and they've executed well. (QB Jon) Watson has done a great job. They're mammoth up front. Their center (Nathan Brock)'s a mountain. They've got some big running backs and others who have nice speed." Trojans coach John Snyder expects corner Jerrick Suiter to match up one on one with a Chesterton receiver, allowing Valpo to commit eight or nine players to the run. "As they always do," he said. "We've struggled the last several years scoring on them, so I don't know if we can match them score for score. They're fundamentally sound. They play tough, physical, aggressive. They're just very solid. They have the athletes to cover the perimeter. They shift, stem, take away gaps, to keep our linemen from getting to their linebackers. The things they take away, we have to be able to recognize. It'll be interesting to see how (Watson) does. It helps that he's played them already." Snyder is concerned about the Vikings simply lining up and playing power football. "It's the smashmouth Valpo of old," he said. "Their linemen are getting into people, their backs are hitting the holes and finding the seams. Our defense has to be able to get some stops and create some turnovers." The teams feature tremendous kickers in Chesterton's Kyle Schmidt and Valpo's Sam Ficken. "That's a wash," Hoffman said. "It's one of those games where it comes down to who executes the best." After four comfortable wins, Snyder is expecting anything but this week. "We haven't played a team the caliber of Penn, so it's hard to gauge where we're at," he said. "The big part of this game is, if we're able to beat a team like Valpo, it shows us and shows our kids we can compete with anybody. They're as complete a team as we've seen." -- Jim Peters

Portage (2-2, 1-1 DAC) at Crown Point (3-1, 1-1)

When: 7 p.m. today.

Radio/Internet: WWCA-AM (1270), regionsports.com, USA-365.com.

Breaking it down: Jeromy Flowers is concerned. His Indians are heading to Crown Point for another big DAC game. And the first-year Portage coach knows it won't be easy. "They're good, they're tough, they're aggressive and fast," Flowers said. "From what I've seen they might be the best all-around team in our conference." Flowers, who is new to the area, knows that when the Bulldogs are playing good football they are tough to beat at home. He expects that to transpire. "We've got to find a way to match their enthusiasm," Flowers said. "They're excited about playing football. It will be a hostile environment with their students, parents and fans." C.P. beat Lake Central last week 45-21. The week before, Portage beat L.C. 20-14 in overtime. Bulldogs coach Chip Pettit is concerned about people doing a quick score analysis that he doesn't believe will add up. The 'Dogs have only one turnover in four games. "We were pretty clean offensively and we got it rolling in the second quarter," Pettit said. "Portage is as explosive offensively as any team on our schedule. They can score anytime they snap the ball. We have to keep their playmakers in front of us." Austin Atherton had eight catches for 177 yards and one TD reception, also throwing a TD pass. C.P. quarterback Joe Hopman threw for 256 yards and three scores against L.C. But Portage is not without its big-play stars at all. Portage took a 14-0 lead over Merrillville last week but eventually fell 38-27. Portage's Jake Dixon scored four TDs in his first week running out of the I-formation. "We don't have a lot of players or a lot of size right now at Portage," Flowers said. "Crown Point does. The way they're scoring points in our league is pretty impressive. We've got to find a way to fight against all that." -- Steve Hanlon

Andrean (3-1, 1-0 NCC) at Hobart (2-2, 1-1)

When: 7 p.m. today.

Internet: rrsn.com.

Breaking it down: Coming off a monster win over Munster, 29-28 in double overtime, Andrean coach Phil Mason has one concern about playing the Brickies tonight. "Our guys have to respect them," Mason said. "Respect is the biggest thing. If we think we're going to walk in there and just win, we'll be in trouble. They might be a little down but they've got some kids who will come at you and play and we better be ready." The 59ers went for two and the win against the Mustangs and Demetri Blanco's legs got it done. Mason Zurek carried the ball 23 times for 146 yards and three TDs, too. The Brickies' 49-0 win over Kankakee Valley snapped a two-game losing streak. Coach Wally McCormack is extremely concerned about Blanco. "He is a stud," McCormack said. "In my opinion he would be the starting quarterback at every high school in Northwest Indiana. He's that good." Hobart's Jamar Merritt rushed for 239 yards and two TDs, and Joe Peco, Ian Drobac and Zac Randall also had rushing scores for Hobart, who finished with 419 yards on the ground. Andrean snapped a three-game losing streak to Hobart with last year's 48-25 win. "Andrean has a very good team," McCormack said. "Our defense stepped up against K.V., and we need them to do it again. We've got to find a way to slow down their offense." -- Steve Hanlon

South Central (3-1, 2-0 GSSC) at Wheeler (4-0, 2-0)

When: 7 p.m. today.

Breaking it down: Can the Satellites slow down the Bearcats? That's S.C. coach Jeff Karras' biggest concern. "They're fast and they're looking to play the game fast. They remind of Purdue when (coach Joe) Tiller came in and said it was like basketball on grass," Karras said. "I know they're not a very good matchup for our defense. You can make a team that likes to run pass, but I don't know how you make a team that likes to pass run. It would be nice if we could get to (Wheeler QB Sam O'Shea), make him feel uncomfortable, not let him get in a rhythm. I'll tell ya this, we're not going to sit back in a zone and let him pick us apart." Karras figures his best defense may be his offense's ability to control the ball, a la Rensselaer. "We want to keep their offense off the field," he said. "I don't know what else to do other than to limit their chances with the ball. I don't think they can overpower so hopefully we can match up well up front and move the ball. We've proven we have a passing game. (Bryant) Hoover's getting better. We have receivers who can go up and get the ball. We'd like to keep the ball six minutes, then score. We have to finish drives." Whiting loaded up on South Central's running game and the Satellites were able to adjust with QB Bryant Hoover making some big plays through the air, a fact that wasn't lost on Wheeler coach Dan Klimczak. "They're a dual threat," Klimczak said. "They are a very capable passing team. We have to stop the run while avoiding the big play potential. Their defense does a great job flying to the ball and pressuring the quarterback. We will have to continue having a good mix of run and pass." In addition to its significance in the conference race, Karras knows the game could be a springboard for the Satellites. "I told our guys, if anything's a regular-season Super Bowl, this is ours," Karras said. "There are no playoff implications. It's not the end of the world. But it's a huge game, possibly the conference championship game. The winner's in the driver's seat. We'll see if we can pull something out." -- Jim Peters

Morton (3-1) at Munster (3-1)

When: 7 p.m. today.

Radio/Internet: WJOB-AM (1230), WLTH-AM (1370), regionsports.com.

Breaking it down: There just might be a little more going on in Munster tonight than a great nonconference game. Morton beat the Mustangs 14-13 on a last-second scoring pass from Chris McCormack that capped off a 94-yard drive in the final 1:04. Some questions were raised about the game officials and whether they were properly licensed to work Indiana games. But all that came out of that was more disagreement. The Govs are coming off a 27-18 win over Highland, where McCormack rushed for 109 yards. Leroy Marsh was proud of his Mustangs in their dramatic loss at Andrean for continuing to fight, but he knows his team must play better tonight at home. "We had our chances and did not capitalize on them. We needed to play more consistent defense. The mistakes we made took their toll." Marsh knows his defense will have to step it up against the Govs' highly productive offense. Morton's skill is quick and has the ability to make a missed tackle into an 80-yard touchdown run. "We have to control the ball a little bit," Marsh said. "They're throwing the ball well, and their two quarterbacks are running the ball, too. We have to try to not give them so many chances. It's a real big game for us from an effort standpoint. We need a solid effort from all three phases of the game." Against Andrean Mark Strbjak scored on a 5-yard run and also threw for 182 yards. Nathan Eagan scored with 37 seconds remaining in regulation to force OT. "We hope to get our offense going in high gear," Morton coach Roy Richards said. "Our defense has been playing pretty well so I'm confident that we can keep doing that. I think it's going to be a great high school football game." -- Steve Hanlon

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