No. 8 Boone Grove (3-0) at E.C. Central (2-1)

When: 6 p.m. Thursday

What to know: Boone Grove makes the trek out to Lake County for a rare Thursday night game. E.C. Central's defense has improved each week, culminating in last week's shutout at Munster for the Cardinals' second road win in three tries.

The Wolves are a different sort of challenge, however. They're scoring 44.3 points per game — everyone knows about star tailback Brae'ton Vann, but quarterback Jake Mayersky has run for 304 yards himself.

No. 3 Michigan City (2-1) at No. 1 Valparaiso (3-0)

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

What to know: The game of the season so far. Michigan City travels to Valparaiso for what has become a nice rivalry in the Duneland Athletic Conference, with the Vikings winning close games that decided the league crown each of the past two seasons.

Valparaiso's tough defensive line, led by Cooper Jones, will test the Wolves' young offensive front. City features more speed than the Vikings have seen this season, but sophomore quarterback Giovani Laurent will need to learn quickly in his first road start.

No. 5 Crown Point (1-2) at No. 9 Lake Central (2-1)

What to know: The Bulldogs are coming off of a heartbreaking overtime loss against No. 2 Merrillville last week and aim to bounce back against the Indians.

Lake Central has already matched its win total from all of last year and will try to build on running back Sir Felix Garcia's strong performance. The senior rushed for 185 yards and three touchdowns against Portage last week and is averaging 7.4 yards per carry this season.

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Whiting (2-1) at No. 10 Calumet (2-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday.

What to know: Aside from a shutout loss to Illinois powerhouse Mount Carmel, Calumet has held its own against Region opponents and shown that it has the ability to put up points. The Warriors are averaging 42 points in their two victories, and senior Phillip Collins and junior CJ Cooper continue to lead the way.

The running back duo combined for 259 rushing yards and three touchdowns last week but will face a Whiting defense that only gave up eight points last week to Gavit. Oliers coach Brett Jennings said it will be a tall task for his defense to slow down Calumet, but he looks forward to the challenge.

Portage (1-2) at No. 2 Merrillville (3-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

What to know: The Pirates came away with a thrilling overtime victory against Crown Point last week and have wide receiver Jeremiah Howard to thank. On the final play of the game, the senior snagged the game-winning touchdown catch in a crowd of Bulldogs defenders to help Merrillville remain undefeated.

Portage is still trying to find its footing, and that goal won't get any easier against one of the top teams in the Region. After a resounding win over Lowell, the Indians blew a 13-point lead against Lake Central and are eyeing an upset victory to get back on track.

LaPorte (0-3) at No. 4 Chesterton (2-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

What to know: Chesterton has a chance to equal its win total from last season, and the Trojans haven't started 3-1 since their 8-3 year in 2015. Sophomore quarterback Chris Mullen is for real, and LaPorte gave up quite a bit through the air against New Prairie and Penn.

LaPorte hung tough early against Valparaiso last week and looks to get first-year coach Jeremy Lowery his first win at the helm.

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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.

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.