#5 Michigan City Wolves (3-1, 1-1) vs #4 Merrillville Pirates (3-1, 2-0)
Where: Demarree Stadium
When: Friday 7pm
RSN Coverage: regionsports.com, WRTW 90.5FM
GAME NOTES: The Pirates come in on a three game roll, while City’s three game roll came to an end last Friday against Valpo. Just the same, neither team is complaining about their 3-1 record through four weeks.
Merrillville, at 2-0, has the jump in the conference standing over the Wolves, who sit with an even 1-1 mark in DAC play. A Bucs victory sets up a potential championship showdown with LaPorte next week, provided the Slicers can win on the road this week at LC. A win for the Wolves keeps them in the hunt, while a loss eliminates them in every way, except mathematically.
BREAKDOWN: Has the bubble burst for City? Friday’s 29-0 loss to Valpo at beautiful Ames Field has some questioning the validity of their 3-0 start. The good thing about the Duneland is you get to prove the doubters wrong every week. The bad thing about the Duneland is that you may prove the doubters right every week. And as far as that goes, both teams are in the same boat.
While the Pirate ship is sailing strong, some questions do remain, like “is their defense for real” and “how much better is their sophomore starting quarterback going to get?” What we’ve seen so far is that Merrillville has talent and they’re getting better
Fresh from a four-touchdown home drubbing by Valpo, Michigan City enters this week five contest with some questions of their own, inlcuding, “was last week a fluke” and “were weeks one, two and three a fluke?”
Regardless of the answers, what we do know is that both teams are better than they were a season ago. Brad Seiss appears to be settling in at Merrillville and its starting to show in the Friday night results column.
City, as most people know by now, hired former Andrean head coach Phil Mason, who brings with him his own impressive resume and that of former Morton mentor Roy Richards, making for one of the most dynamic one-two coaching combinations in Northwest Indiana football. And that too is showing in the won-loss column.
Both teams have the weapons to put a lot of points on the board. But does that mean the team with the better offense will come out on top? Not necessarily. In fact, the opposite could be true. The team with the better defense is more than likely going to be the victor in this contest – and that would be ?
The Bucs need to find a way to slow down the Wolves dynamic rushing attack of Aryuan Cain-Veasey and Markice Hurt. In the Strack & Van Til Starting Lineup, Hurt is listed as a wide receiver, but don’t be surprised if he gets his fair share of handoffs as well. Merrillville kept the strong Portage rushing game in check a week ago, holding the tribe to just 21 second half rushing yards and they’ll need that type of performance again this week.
Michigan City’s defense is going to focus primarily on shutting down Merrillville back Davion Ervin-Poindexter who had 178 rushing yards and three touchdowns against Portage. If the Wolves are able to slow down Ervin-Poindexter and put Merrillville’s sophomore quarterback Cameron Wright in long down and distance situations, they could take advantage of his inexperience and force turnovers.
If City’s for real, we’ll get the message before the Region Football Wrap-up show comes on the air. As for the Bucs, they’re at home and they’re favored, which is how they like it, but that doesn’t guanrantee victory. As a matter of fact, we’ll give the nod to Wolves in a last minute upset.
FRIDAY NIGHT FORECAST: Michigan City 29 Merrillville 28
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