CLASS 5A SECTIONAL #1
Valparaiso – The Vikings wrapped up their first undefeated regular season since 1976 and are looking to win their first sectional title since 2002. Valpo survived one brutal stretch during the season with wins over Chesterton, Crown Point and Merrillville three weeks in a row, but the question for the Vikings is, can they do it again?
Merrillville – Winners of the last three sectional titles, Zac Wells always has his Pirates poised to make a deep run in the tournament (two semi-state appearances in the last three seasons). But, before Merrillville worries about how far they can go, and before they can even worry about a potential second round game against Valpo, they have to get by a Chesterton team they barely edged in week #9.
Crown Point – A great bounce back year by the Bulldogs has seen them win as many games this year (6) as the previous two years combined. Crown Point got a nice draw in the sectional brackets, with Portage in the opener and the winner of Munster/LC in the semi-final. If the Bulldogs can withstand the offensive prowess of Portage, they could find themselves in the finals for the first time since 2006.
Chesterton – The Trojans may have lost to first round opponent Merrillville just last week, but it took a late Pirate score to seal the deal as the Trojans more than held their own. Chesterton is at home again for round two of this rivalry, which has to have Coach Snyder and his team happy.
Portage – Some might view the 5-4 record as disappointing for the Indians, considering the talent they had returning this year, but this team could still be dangerous in the post-season and never counted out. With Jake Dixon and Zach Houston in the backfield, the Indians have the ability to put up points in a hurry and could play sectional spoiler.
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EC Central – Their first winning season since ’04 and what do the Cardinals get as their reward? A trip to Viking Field for a date with Valpo. Stacy Adams is building something over at EC and with a better draw, the Cardinals could have made some noise, but a trip to the #2 ranked team in Class 5A looks to be just too much for the Cards this year.
Munster – A 5A team playing in a 4A conference in the regular season usually makes for a short post-season. The Mustangs finished the season 6-3, but the only 5A team they faced happened to be first round opponent Lake Central in week #1. Munster is a solid ball club, and could reach the semi-final, but until they play some bigger schools during the regular season, they’ll find themselves as visitors in sectional play.
Lake Central – I’m sure Coach Brett St. Germain was expecting more than two wins in his first year as the leader of Lake Central, but there are signs of improvement are already there. This is a team that could compete for a sectional title within a few years after St. Germain puts his stamp on the team, but they’re just not there yet.
CLASS 5A SECTIONAL #2
The Favorite: Mishawaka
The Darkhorses: Penn, Elkhart Memorial, LaPorte
Thanks for Stopping By: Elkhart Central, Goshen, Michigan City, South Bend Adams,
CLASS 4A SECTIONAL #9
Morton – The Governors are firing on all cylinders as we reach the post-season. The offense has averaged over 50 points a game over the last four weeks as Morton’s high powered attack seems unstoppable. The Govs captured the first sectional championship in school history last year and appear to be set to bring in trophy #2.
Griffith – A surprise conference championship has Griffith, the team and the town, recalling the good old days when sectional championships were an annual occurrence. The Panthers have the talent to recapture the title, but depth and tough games even before they reach the championship (at Hobart, likely home vs. Morton) make it a tough road.
Hobart – In most matchups this post-season, the Brickies will feature the most dangerous weapon on the field – running back Jamar Merritt. If Hobart is able to create some running lanes for Merritt and allow him to show off his breakaway speed, the Brickies could make a second straight surprise run to the sectional championship. If Merritt is bottled up, it could be one and done for Hobart.
West Side – Talk about the luck of the draw. The Cougars find themselves in the bottom of the sectional #9 bracket with three other teams that combined have as many wins as West Side does on their own (four). West Side has a great opportunity to advance to their first sectional championship game in school history.
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Roosevelt – It’s been a long year for Coach Eric Yarbrough and the Panthers as they finished the season 1-6 and didn’t get a win against an Indiana school. Roosevelt hosts Morton to open up the post-season and the Panthers just have to hope it doesn’t get out of hand early.
Highland – What started off as a season filled with promise (close loss to Wheeler, big win over Hammond High) quickly turned into an all too familiar scene for the Trojans. Highland drew West Side to open up the sectionals, so a trip to the semi-finals isn’t totally out of the question, but it’s a long shot at best.
Lew Wallace – With their only win coming over cross-town and conference rival Roosevelt, Lew Wallace had to be hoping to draw the Panthers in the first round if they wished to extend their season another week. They didn’t get the Panthers, but they did get the Wildcats who are struggling in their own right, but it would still take a huge effort to advance.
Hammond High – Paris Hutchison played well in relief of Antwion McGee as the Wildcats tried to comeback against Gavit in week #8, but the Hammond High offense was stifled against Clark last week to give the ‘Cats a 2-7 regular season record. Hammond High looks to have a good shot at advancing to the second round, but anywhere beyond that would be a major surprise.
CLASS 4A SECTIONAL #10
The Favorite: Concord
The Darkhorses: Lowell, South Bend Clay, South Bend Washington, Plymouth
Thanks for Stopping By: Logansport, Kankakee Valley, South Bend Riley
CLASS 3A SECTIONAL #17
The Favorite: Andrean
The Darkhorses: John Glenn, Clark
Thanks for Stopping By: Calumet, New Prairie, Gavit, Culver Academy, Knox
CLASS 2A SECTIONAL #25
The Favorite: Rensselaer Central
The Darkhorse: Wheeler
Thanks for Stopping By: Bishop Noll, Bowman, North Newton, River Forest, Seeger, North Judson
CLASS 1A SECTIONAL #33
The Favorite: South Central
The Darkhorses: Whiting, Winamac, Culver Community, West Central
Thanks for Stopping By: Triton, LaVille, Lake Station