November 19, 2019

FOOTBALL: RSN Top 10 – Week #10

It’s the Bulldogs time of year to shine. Crown Point has won three straight Sectional #1 titles, despite winning five or fewer regular season games during each of those seasons. To capture their fourth straight championship, the Bulldogs will have to do something they’ve had issues with doing all season long – stringing together wins. CP has won back to back games only once this year, so they’re going to have to find the consistency that has eluded them all year. They’ve done it in the past, but sectional one is harder now than it’s been in any of the past three seasons. Can the ‘Dogs find that magic again?  

The ‘Cats closed the season on a strong note, winning their final three regular season games and outscoring their opponents by a combined 145-21 during that span. Can Hanover  carry this momentum into the playoffs? They’ll be the favorites in the opening round of the sectional as they travel to 3-6 Twin Lakes, but then the level of difficulty picks up a notch or too with potential dates against Knox (8-1) and Calumet (7-1) on the horizon…and unfortunately for the ‘Cats both of those games would also likely be on the road. A sectional title run isn’t inconceivable, but the path there makes it tough.

It took nearly every second on the clock to beat Highland, but Andrean came from behind to get the victory – their fourth in a row as the regular season comes to an end. It’s not often that the Niners enter the sectional as a darkhorse team that’s flying under the radar, but that’s the situation this year. With Rensselaer and Boone Grove both ranked in the top tens of the state-wide AP and Coaches polls, and the Niners on the outside looking in, fans may be overlooking how well this Andrean team is playing right now.

Calumet’s four game shutout streak came to an end by giving up a second half touchdown to Bishop Noll, but the Warriors did set a school record by scoring 70 points in the outing, so they’ll gladly take the trade off. The seven regular season wins also tie for the second most in program history, so there’s no question it’s been a great year for the Warriors, but now is the time to make a statement that the program has arrived. Calumet is still seeking its first ever sectional championship and there may not be as many opportunities as good as the one they have this year.

The undefeated regular season is in the books after the 56-0 win on the road at Whiting….and the Wolves get to go back to the Oil City again this week for another matchup against the Oilers. The offense is averaging 44.6 points per game and the defense has only given up double digit points twice this year, so it’s not as if BG is just dominating in one aspect of the game. Should the Wolves get past Whiting this week, a date with Andrean looms likely. Boone Grove’s regular season opponents had a combined 32-48 record, so with the Niners followed by the sectional championship game on deck (if they get past Whiting) the level of difficulty picks up big time.

Despite the week nine loss to Merrillville, the Trojans stay in the #5 in the RSN Top 10 after only falling to the #2 Pirates by a touchdown. Chesterton’s six wins are their most in a regular season since 2015, so it’s been a successful campaign, but like Calumet, Chesterton is looking to win the program’s first ever sectional championship. Their path to a title is difficult though as they drew a tough Warsaw team in the first round of the post-season, but it’s definitely a winnable game for the Trojans, especially since it’s at home.

Winners of seven straight, the Hobart Brickies not only captured the Northwest Crossroads Conference title, but they routed all conference opponents, winning their five NCC games by a combined 220-27. The Brickies were red hot to close out the regular season, but the stakes get much higher starting this week and Hobart hasn’t had too much luck in the post-season the past couple of years. Hobart hasn’t won a post-season game since 2016, having been bounced out in the first round in each of the last two years. This is clearly a better Hobart team than in 2017 or 2018, but that doesn’t guarantee a playoff win, especially since they are playing…

The eight regular season wins for the Governors were the most in a season for the program since 2014 – the last year of the Roy Richards era. Morton finished fourth in the state offensively at 49 points per game and seventh defensively, giving up less than six and half points against per contest. The Govs are in the midst of a sectional title drought, having not won a championship since 2012, but there’s no doubt they’ll be the favorites to capture the Sectional #17 crown…should they get by Hobart.

Yes, the Pirates enter the post-season with an 8-1 mark, but is it time to be a bit concerned about the Merrillville defense? After being really good in the first six weeks of the year, Merrrillville has now given up 20 or more points in three straight games. Two of those have been in wins, but that trend isn’t heading in the right direction, especially with the state’s highest scoring team, Lafayette Jeff, coming to Demaree for the first round of the sectional. We know Merrillville is going to be able to score (they haven’t been held below 21 points in any game this year), but will their defense be up to the task? We’ll find out on November 1.

The Vikings achieved the rare feat of going wire to wire at the #1 spot in the RSN Top 10 over the course of the season – they started at the top and they stay there as we close out the rankings. It’s an impressive accomplishment for sure, as is another Duneland championship and undefeated season, but those will all just be footnotes if the Vikings don’t make some noise in the tournament. That’s where this team’s legacy will be built and we have no doubt that they’re up to the challenge. Expect this team to be playing for while.

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