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FOOTBALL: RSN Top 10 – Week #9

The Ingots enter the rarified air that is the RSN Top 10 for the first time in a long time thanks to their 28-14 win over previously ranked Calumet a week ago. River Forest has had their ups and downs this season, but they’re averaging 45 points in their wins, so they can light up a scoreboard. With 0-7 Bowman on the schedule this week followed by a bye in the opening round of Sectional #25, the Ingots should be well rested when they hit the field in the semi-final round of the sectionals.

Winners of three in a row, the Red Devils re-enter the rankings after an extended absence. How long with Lowell stay in the rankings? That’s a good question, as they host the highly ranked Andrean 59ers on Friday to close out the regular season. Lowell’s defense has shown signs of vulnerability – surrendering 22 points plus per game. They have to shore that up quick, to not only get the win and a share of the NCC title this week, but to make any sort of tournament run.

Break up the Bulldogs! CP has won four of their last five, including three on the road – with a outstanding defense that’s held opponents to just a combined 20 points. Hopefully for the ‘Dogs that defensive dominance continues as they’ll be tested big time in their next two outings – first when they host Michigan City in the regular season finale, then the big matchup with Merrillville in the Sectional #1 opener. This team has improved so much since they lost the Pirates 50-13 in Week #3, but enough to close that 37 point gap? We’ll find out in a couple of weeks.

We think it’s safe to say the Wolves have put their three game losing streak long behind them, having now won three in a row, while outscoring opponents 131-42, including a 39-0 blanking of county rival LaPorte last week. The Wolves go on the road to the Hub of Lake County this Friday, where they’ll take on Crown Point, marking the first time they’ve faced a ranked team since Merrillville. City did get a very good draw in Sectional #10, so a fourth straight win will put big time momentum on their side entering the tournament.

For the second week in a row, the team ranked in the #2 spot takes a tumble after a loss.  The Trojan D is still playing tough, giving up fewer points than any team in the Region, but the offense hasn’t scored more than seven points in the first half of in any of their last four outings. Slow starts will get you beat in the playoffs when the level of competition picks up. Simply put, Chesterton has to do more with the ball early in the game – of course that’s easier said than done as they travel to Merrillville this week.

The Brickie offense continues to put up big numbers, having scored 28 or more points on each of the last six Fridays, while going 5-1. With freshman QB Noah Ehrlich continuing to make plays and Trey Gibson being a workhorse at running back, the Hobart offense can attack in a variety of ways – a scary thought for the rest of the Class 4A Sectional #17 field. Defensively, they’ve given up their fair share of big plays, and that has to be cleaned up, but this is the time of the year where the Brickies historically play their best and we expect 2021 to be no different.

How good are the ‘Cats at home during the regular season? Since the start of the 2019 campaign they’re 12-0, outscoring the opposition by a whopping 569-166 margin. Talk about home field advantage – WOW! Hanover gets that luxury again this week when they welcome in a sure to be fired up Calumet squad that’s looking to get back in the win column.  Expect the Wildcats to be fired up as well, as they seek vengeance for last year’s sectional championship loss. What will give? History says don’t bet against the ‘Cats in Cedar Lake.

As we stated in the last RSN Top 10, we weren’t concerned for the long term outlooks of Valpo after the loss to Merrillville and the Vikings proved us right by taking care of business against Portage to the tune of a 38-0 shutout victory. With a Week #9 matchup against Lake Central followed by a Sectional #9 bracket where they are heavily favored, the Vikings have a good opportunity to string together several more victories and make another deep run in the post-season.

How good have the Niners been this year? Just look at their two losses. Wait…what? Andrean’s two defeats have come at the hands of Merrillville and Grand Rapids Central Catholic – two teams that are a combined 15-0 and have outscored the competition by a 667-170 margin. Which team has played both the Pirates and Cougars closer than anyone else in 2021? That’s right the Andrean 59ers. With a 2A field that is wide open, at least until the semi-state round, Andrean has proven they have the chops to make it to Indy…but will they?

The canons continue to thunder as the Pirates pillage and plunder, having sailed through the regular season with the wind at their backs thus far. This is a dangerous band of Bucs who’ve already locked up a share of the conference crown and are now in search of an even greater treasure. On Friday the Pirates warship will dock at its home port where the Bucs will battle the Trojans, who are riding in from the faraway land known as Chesterton. Pirates by nature see no need to share, so don’t expect them to play nice.  The voyage then becomes one of do or die…and that’s the way it is on the high seas of Class 6A.

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