One of the Region’s best rivalries is renewed on Friday – hear it all on 90.5 The Key and Regionsports.com!
GAME NOTES: Both teams enter this contest 0-1 in the conference and a game below .500 (1-2) on the season. The conference appears to be stronger as whole in 2016 than it was in 2015, so losing their openers last week means an uphill battle is what lies ahead for these two teams. “Duneland Conference Champions” is a prestigious title to hold and something every member wants, and while one loss doesn’t eliminate you, two very well could.
That said, which club stays in the race and which one becomes an also-ran will likely be determined before the Region Sports post game show starts about 9:30 Friday night on 90.5fm and regionsports.com.
Who will be happy when the handshakes happen? If you read the Region Sports Top 10, you know it’s a dog-eat-dog year in the Duneland, so predictions aren’t as simple as they were last season. But we’ll do our best.
BREAKDOWN: The Indians didn’t expect to be 1-2 after three games. More than likely, they felt 3-0 was achievable and realistic. Had this been the case, they’d be entering Friday’s game with the wind at their back and as a clear cut favorite, even at Bulldog Turf. But that’s not the case. Instead, Brett St. Germain’s team has dropped two straight – both of which shoulda/coulda/woulda been victories.
Just the same, if the Indians are going to lose games the way they have, better now than later. This team has a sophomore quarterback in Zach Bundalo, who’s surrounded by a lot of talented seniors. Yes, there’s a learning curve for 15-16 year old first year starting varsity quarterbacks at the 6A level and Bundalo is going through that to some degree, but he’ll be better because of it down the road – as in tournament time – when it matters most.
And while “down the road” may matter most, it’s the here and now that matters at the moment. And that means Crown Point.
Like their Friday night counterpart, the Bulldogs come in reeling after two tough losses back-to-back, both of which were winnable games, but neither of which was won. Like Portage, last season’s other Duneland cellar dweller, the ‘Dogs appear to be better than they were in 2015, even if the record doesn’t reflect much improvement just yet.
Lake County’s two biggest schools square off this Friday night and despite their records, this promises to be real good ball game. And as always, a big crowd and a party atmosphere is expected on the campus of Crown Point High School.
For the visitors, the Christenson Chevy keys to the game include making defensive stops on third (and fourth) down to kill drives. Too many times in the last two games drives have been extended because the opposing offense had success converting instead of being forced to punt, especially late in those two games.
The Indians offense has played extremely well this season, although they could do their defense a favor by converting on a few more third downs themselves, especially late, something they’ve likely been working on in practice, as Duneland games are often decided on the last possession.
The Christenson Chevy keys to success for Kevin Enright’s Bulldogs aren’t that much different than their opponents. Move the chains, keep possession and limit mistakes. The Lake Central offense has the ability to score from anywhere on the field so Crown Point is going to want to keep them on the sidelines as much as possible. You do that by running the football, especially on first and second down. If the home team can do this successfully they will limit the number of opportunities the Indians have to make big plays.
On Friday in the county hub the team wearing red and white will prefer a lower scoring slugfest, while the team in blue and white will want to turn the game into a high-scoring shootout. Our guess is that will be somewhere in the middle, which gives the edge to the team with the more dangerous offense, and that’s Lake Central. But either way, it’s gonna be fun!
FRIDAY NIGHT FORECAST: Lake Central 28 Crown Point 24