LAST SEASON: 6-3
We don’t have rosters for every 2A team in the state to compare, but we’d place money that no team in that level has the size that the Oilers line up with this year. Not only do they have size, but they have experience returning especially in the backfield with Nino Barbosa and Tommy Davenport back. Their showdown against Griffith in week #2 should be a real good one.
CROWN POINT BULLDOGS
LAST SEASON: 7-5
It’s not too often that two time defending sectional champs fly under the radar entering a season, but that could be the case with the Bulldogs as three fellow DAC teams are ranked above them in the RSN Top 10. If the ‘Dogs want to make it a three-peat come tournament time, they’ll more than likely have to rely on a defense that was solid last season and returns seven starters. Offensively, it’ll be an entire brand new batch of 11 starts compared to last year’s Regional, so a slow start wouldn’t be shocking.
LAST SEASON: 6-4
The Brickies went back to the past in order to guide the future as Hobart legend Craig Osika takes over as head coach of the purple and gold. While there’s zero doubt that Osika will still toughness and discipline into his squad, there are still questions surrounding this team entering Week #1, including who will play quarterback. But with a tough defense returning several key players from a year ago, the Brickies should be poised to have their third straight winning season – something they haven’t done since 2006 through 2008.
To no surprise, Griffith’s first season as a member of the GSSC was a huge success, with the Panthers sweeping through their conference opponents before falling to Lowell in the sectional championship. Despite a multitude of graduation losses, particularly hitting the offensive side of the ball, Griffith should still find their fair share of regular season success – especially after a tough first two weeks. Plus, the gold helmets are back, so old school Panther fans will have plenty to celebrate.
LAST SEASON: 8-3
Season #3 of the Sean Kinsey era may bring about the best season at Hessville High since the Roy Richards days. With nearly all skill position players coming back from last year’s 8-3 campaign, plus the return of quarterback Credell Prather from injury, the Govs could be a darkhorse come tournament time to get out of Sectional #17. It’s been a few years since the “G-O-V, we all we got!” chants have been shouted loudly from The Governor’s Mansion, but that could change in 2018.
LAST SEASON: 7-4
While most teams have some level of uncertainty heading into a season with graduation losses, injuries, etc. there is one thing we are for sure of when it comes to the LaPorte Slicers – they will score some points. Since Dave Sharpe took over as head coach in the 2015 season, LaPorte has averaged over 33 points per game. But if they want to break a three year sectional title drought – the defense, which surrendered 26 points a contest last year has to improve.
LOWELL RED DEVILS
The Red Devils are from Lowell, where graduation losses aren’t an acceptable reason for losing on Friday nights the following season. The same will hold true for 2018 as several new faces will be peering through varsity face makes for the first time, at least as starters. But these are the Red Devils and they’re from Lowell, where inexperience isn’t an acceptable reason for losing on Friday night. A fifth consecutive sectional title is the first goal. You know the second, third and fourth. After all, these are the Red Devils and they’re from Lowell.
LAST SEASON: 8-4
The third time just may be a charm for head coach Chris Skinner, who starts season number three as the boss of 59er football. This years squad seems to be set in nearly every position, so don’t be surprised to see the boys from Broadway put together an impressive regular season. Can the Niners get to state in Class 3A? Sure they can, but they’ll have to go through West Lafayette to get there.
MICHIGAN CITY WOLVES
LAST SEASON: 9-4
The Wolves are coming off their first ever trip to semi-state and despite some key losses to graduation, they’re howling for more. The City program, which has quickly become one that reloads rather than rebuilds, has a great vibe going right now and will be a force in the both the Duneland Conference and the 5A state playoffs. If there were any doubts about Phil Mason’s ability to build a winner at a public high school, the overnight turnaround he’s done at City should erase them.
LAST SEASON: 8-2
The Vikings will be tested early and often, starting with Penn this week followed by Mishawaka in week two before kicking off the DAC part of the schedule. A familiar face, long time assistant Bill Marshall takes the helm of the Viking ship and the expectations couldn’t be any higher. Can the Green Machine, which is loaded with talent, become NWI’s first 6A state finalist? It’s possible, but nothing is guaranteed so they’ll have to ignore the hype and play the season one game at a time. We’ll find out in week one if this team wants to be great.
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