No. 4 Crown Point (4-3) at No. 3 Chesterton (5-2)

What to know: This game's winner can likely lock up a third-place finish in the Duneland Athletic Conference — a step forward for two programs that finished with losing records last season.

It'll be strength on strength. Chesterton features the DAC's top passing offense, while Crown Point has the defensive line to get after Trojans quarterback Chris Mullen. When the Bulldogs have the ball, CP receivers David O'Toole and Tysen Cazy will go head-to-head with disruptive Trojans defensive back Ben Slatcoff.

No. 8 Michigan City (3-4) at LaPorte (1-6)

When: 7 p.m. Friday, WEFM-FM (95.9), www.rrsn.com

What to know: LaPorte has played better lately and could make a game of it in this LaPorte County rivalry.

The Slicers beat Lake Central, stayed competitive at Merrillville and fell 21-10 at Crown Point last week. Meanwhile, Michigan City rebounded from a surprising loss at LC to thump Portage 28-0. The Wolves are 0-2 on the road this season, and this could be a low-scoring, grind-it-out game.

Wheeler (4-3) at Hanover Central (4-3)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

What to know: Second place in the Greater South Shore Conference's South Division is on the line. Hanover brings in a versatile passing offense, while Wheeler does it on the ground with Bryce Catherman and Trey Gibson.

If Wheeler gets behind and starts passing, the Bearcats will need to watch out for Hanover senior Jack Kuiper. He has four interceptions at corner to go with his 399 yards.

No. 2 Merrillville (6-1) at Lake Central (3-4)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

What to know: The Pirates are coming off of a heartbreaking loss to No. 1 Valparaiso last week. Merrillville led by 18 points entering the fourth quarter before eventually losing by one point. Senior wide receiver Jeremiah Howard almost pulled off the play of the year — an 89-yard touchdown catch with under two minutes left — but it was called back because of a block-in-the-back penalty.

This week, the Pirates will look to take out their frustration on an Indians squad that is coming off of its third shutout loss of the season. Lake Central senior quarterback Mateo Cedano threw three interception last week against No. 3 Chesterton.

Andrean (4-3) at No. 9 Lowell (5-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday, www.rrsn.com (video)

What to know: The 59ers are the defending Northwest Crossroads Conference champs, but they'll have their work cut out for them if they plan on claiming back-to-back titles.

Running back and linebacker Ryan Walsh will be relied on heavily once again. The junior has recorded six straight 100-yard rushing games and is averaging 8.8 yards per carry.

He will take on a Red Devils defense that has given up just 15.5 points per game during the team's four-game winning streak. Junior linebacker Kyer Newcom leads the way for Lowell with a team-high six tackles per game and 10 tackles for loss.

No. 4 Morton (6-1) at EC Central (5-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

What to know: With two games left in the regular season, the Cardinals are peaking at the right time. EC Central has won three straight games — averaging 36.3 points during that span — and will try to keep it going against the high-powered Governors.

After losing starting quarterback Credell Prather Jr. to a right wrist injury in the first game of the year, Morton has bounced back from its season-opening loss with a six-game winning streak in the senior's absence.

Junior Paris Hewlett has guided the team under center and proven that he's more than just a replacement. This season, Hewlett has thrown 14 touchdown passes and no interceptions, while also totaling 282 yards and one score on the ground. 

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Porter County Sports Reporter

Robbie Weinstein covers Porter County prep sports and Valparaiso University athletics for The Times. You can find the Vanderbilt University and Northwestern University grad posted up on the nearest field of play or in front of the TV.

Lake County Sports Reporter

James Boyd is the Lake County prep sports reporter for The Times. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a proud native of Romeoville, Illinois. Before anything else, his main goal in life is to spread love and light.