CROWN POINT BULLDOGS
Sectional #1 Champs
If you’re looking for a team that’s going to win a bunch of shootouts…..this isn’t it. But the Bulldogs look like they have all the ingredients of a smothering defense and an offense that has key pieces returning, including QB Ryan Bolda and RB Tyler Gomez. Plus, the ‘Dogs are defending Sectional #1 champs – that can’t hurt their confidence entering the season.
An earlier than expected post-season exit last season means that the Cardinals not only enter the 2017 campaign flying a bit under the radar, but also with a big chip on their shoulder. This is a team that averaged over 37 points a game in 2016, so while there are graduation losses to replace, there is no doubt the Cardinals have plenty of talent.
The Panthers return several key players from a real good squad that won a share of the NCC in 2016. Now, as the lone 4A member of the GSSC, they should roll over most of their conference opponents. Will Griffith get the same respect as the bully of the schedule that they once did as the underdog that always took on bigger schools? That’s a wait and see proposition. One thing you can be sure of is there are at least a couple NCC teams that would love a shot at the Black & Gold come tournament time.
Sectional #18 Champs
The Brickies broke a long dry spell by winning the school’s first sectional title since Don Howell stalked the sidelines. Can they repeat ? That’s a long way off but head coach Ryan Turley is confident the 2017 rendition of the Purple & Gold will meet or exceed expectations. Speaking of Hobart colors, the road uni’s will be white on white – a first in the long history of Hobart football.
News of Andrean’s demise may have been greatly exaggerated as last year’s sub-.500 season (just their second since 1996) looks like it’ll be a blip on the radar as the Niners enter the 2017 campaign locked and loaded. Outside of their Week #2 tilt against Bishop Noll, Andrean plays only 4A and larger schools, so not only could the Niners put together an impressive regular season, they’ll be battle tested come tournament time.
MICHIGAN CITY WOLVES
Phil Mason’s presence was announced with authority as the Wolves came out of hibernation in his first season at what many consider to be a sleeping giant of a program. Some big time play makers were lost to graduation so question now is will City’s progress continue?
The Green Machine is heating up. Dave Coyle’s club will be tough to beat this year, but this team is young and the best is yet to come. No Region team has as tough of a 2017 schedule as the Vikings – based off last year’s records, Valpo’s opponents have a combined .589 winning percentage – so their win/loss record may not be up there with the elite teams, but make no mistake, this team is right there with them talent-wise.
The Slicers, like a few others in the DAC, were lead by a talented group of seniors in 2016. Will the next group of seniors be as good? That remains to be seen, but what we do know is that under head man Dave Sharpe this program is quickly becoming a powerhouse. Now that the Slicers are back in Class 5A are the state finals to be considered an attainable goal?
The Indians start the season with their highest ever ranking in a Region Sports Top 10 poll. Second year head coach Darren Rodriguez has the Portage faithful feeling good – and with good reason. But are the Indians as good as we think? With Mishawaka and Lowell as their non-conference openers, we’ll know right away if this team is for real.
LOWELL RED DEVILS
Sectional #17 Champs;