February 23, 2020

FOOTBALL: RSN Top 10 – Week #1

The 2016 campaign kicks off on Friday night – see how the RSN crew ranks the Top 10 teams heading into the season!

#10

logo-Michigan-City-Wolves
MICHIGAN CITY WOLVES
Last Season: 2-7

Last Week: NR

As the old saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and Michigan City football won’t be either. But like the classic city, the right architects are in place at Michigan City High School, where Phil Mason is the new boss. Mason, with his long list of credentials has provided a spark to the Wolves program, which hasn’t had a winning season since 2009. Having former Morton head coach Roy Richards on the staff is another added benefit that should pay immediate dividends. Craig Buzea proved that a quick turnaround is possible at City, where talented athletes roam the halls. With Mason and Richards, the Wolves are poised for another quick turnaround. Expect attendance to increase at Beautiful Aimes Field between now and the end of the season.

#9 

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PORTAGE INDIANS
Last Season: 1-10

Last Week: NR

The Indians pulled a shocker in round one of the 6A playoffs last season and almost upset Merrillville in the sectional final. This year Darren Rodriguez and an upgraded coaching staff take over for the departed Wally McCormack and his tribe of young Indian coaches. The new staff will make an immediate difference, aided by the fact that so many returning players got valuable playing time in 2015. A couple of tough teams will test the Indians mettle right out of the gate, starting with the Cavemen of Mishawaka, followed by Lowell. After that comes the Duneland schedule. This #9 ranking will be put to the test.

#8 


HOBART BRICKIES
Last Season: 5-5

Last Week: NR

The Brickie football program has been chasing its past for about 20 years now and nothing less than a sectional championship puts an end to that. Will this be the year Hobart’s fan base gets to celebrate something that didn’t happen during the glory days? It’s definitely possible, as both the conference and the sectional are winnable. Head Coach Ryan Turley, a member of those glory days, has some talented players to work with – none of whom were born the last time Hobart celebrated something in real time, so hopes are high that this season marks the beginning of a new era in Brickie football – one where today and tomorrow matter just as much as the 1980s and 90s, if not more.

#7 

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CHESTERTON TROJANS
Last Season: 8-3

Last Week: NR

Quietly, the Trojans had a really solid 2015 campaign as their three losses came to Kokomo (who went to semi-state) by one, a single TD loss to Valpo (which they avenged in the tournament) and a loss to powerhouse Penn in the post-season. Chesterton will try to build off that successful season, but graduation losses may take a toll. Still, the defense should be potent and there’s plenty of speed on the roster.

#6 

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MERRILLVILLE PIRATES
Last Season: 7-5

Last Week: NR

The Pirates are still looking for an identity. Their’s left before last season and hasn’t been seen since. But this is Merrillville, a program steeped in tradition for decades, where the loss of a coach, no matter how good, has never had a lasting effect. With a year under his Broadway belt, head man Brad Seiss is looking to improve on last season’s 7-5 finish and show the Region the Pirate program isn’t ready to fade into the history books with Hobart, Griffith and East Chicago Roosevelt just yet.

#5 

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LAPORTE SLICERS
Last Season: 6-4

Last Week: NR

The Slicers begin season #2 in the Dave Sharpe era and have the luxury of doing so with eight returning defensive starters, including the school’s career leader in interceptions Owen Strieter. Not as much experience returns on the offensive side of the ball, but Brennen Long, who ran for over 1,100 yards is back as the Slicers look like they’ll be a factor in the DAC race

#4 

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WHITING OILERS
Last Season: 13-2

Last Week: NR

The defending Class 2A semi-state champs lose Martin Petruf and a few others to graduation, but return QB Stewart Glasgow and several other talented players. While the loss of Petruf will certainly be felt, there’s no reason to think Jeff Cain’s crew won’t roll through the Region once again. And if they’re healthy come tournament time, it’s quite possible the Oil City fan base makes a return trip to the capital.

#3 

logo-Lake-Central-Indians
LAKE CENTRAL INDIANS
Last Year: 5-5

Last Week: NR

The Indians are eager to put their end of the season dud behind them. The 2016 campaign starts with new leaders on the field, as well as new coaches on the sideline, including Kirk Kennedy’s long time assistant Brad Stewart, who takes over the defense. Although not as experienced, Head Coach Brett St. Germain says this year’s squad is just as talented as the 2015 group, but it’s their attitude and approach that he’s most impressed with. Gone are the dark clouds of last autumn and in their place is a new spirit. “Having Fun on 41″ is the game plan this fall.

#2  

logo-Valparaiso-Vikings
VALPARAISO VIKINGS
Last Season: 7-3

Last Week: NR

The Vikings have been putting this team together for a few years now and it appears they may finally have the pieces in place. The Green Machine’s annual opener with Penn is almost unfair and after three straight season opening slaughters, Coach Coyle’s crew is looking to start with a statement – and they don’t even have to win to do it – just make a game of it for all four quarters and future opponents will take notice. Who says there are no moral victories?

#1  

logo-Lowell-Red-Devils
LOWELL RED DEVILS
Last Season: 12-1

Last Week: NR

The Devils had the area’s best player last year in Ike James. This year the Region’s best player just might be Jordan Jusevitch, Ike’s replacement. The “Juice” as he’s known, had a stellar season as the #2 man in the 2015 run, don’t pass offense. It’s now 2016 and Jusevitch is the main man, but he won’t be playing with as experienced of a group this time around. Nonetheless, the Red Devils are the premiere football program in Northwest Indiana, so until they or someone else proves otherwise, RDP gets the nod at numero uno.
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