Not too long ago I proclaimed the third week of high school football to be the best week that we would see all year, and I was very very wrong. Very wrong.
I proclaimed very little going into last week and it turned out to be, perhaps, the best week we will see all season. Whitko, Warsaw and Wawasee all picked up very impressive and exciting victories, highlighted by excellent defensive efforts.
Wawasee was backed up against its own goal line but still managed to stop NorthWood in the closing seconds. Warsaw was stellar from start to finish in a win over Northridge. A win that gives me great joy. A day that will certainly haunt on air personality and Raider fanatic Mike Ganger til the end of time. Nicely done, Tigers. Then, with just 1:02 left in the game, Whitko was lifted to victory by a pick-six. It was epic.
The excitement from Friday night was carried over (for me) to Saturday with Indiana’s upset victory at Missouri and then, of course, the Bears and Colts were both victorious last week as well.
All off those winning teams had fantastic defensive performances and there is not much better than seeing a great defensive outing. So, congratulations to the defensive units of those teams, especially our local prep squads.
Alright, we’ve got a few new teams in the picks this week so let’s get to it.
Last Week: 7-3
High School Volleyball 9/25
Warsaw (16-4, 4-0) at Wawasee (12-9, 0-3), 6:45 p.m. *Pink Out Game*
The Scoop: Once again these two rival schools will meet up for a great cause. Tonight the Lady Tigers and Lady Warriors will wear pink for breast cancer awareness. Proceeds for tonight’s game will go to the Kosciusko County Cancer Care Fund. It’s a great cause and these two teams always bring it so there is good reason to make the trip.
Warsaw is the class of the Northern Lakes Conference this season. Wawasee is improved, but is still finding its identity. The Tigers have only dropped four games in four conference matches so it would be crazy to think the Warriors would pull the upset. However, I will pick Wawasee to take at least a game in this contest tonight and make things interesting. Katie Voelz and Warsaw will just be too much to handle.
The Pick: Warsaw 25-18, 27-25, 17-25, 25-16 (3-1).
High School Football Week 6 9/26
Tippecanoe Valley (0-5, 0-3) at Wabash (1-4, 1-2), 7 p.m.
The Scoop: Well last week was historically bad for Valley as the Vikings lost to Northfield for the first time since 1996 and only the third time ever. Wabash snapped a 31-game losing skid two weeks back and nearly knocked off Whitko in South Whitley last week. The Apaches are very well coached and are looking to get back in the win column this week. Two of Valley’s last three games are going to be extremely hard to win so if the Vikings want a ‘W’ it needs to probably happen this week. It will be an uphill climb but I’m going to take a risk and say that Alec Craig leads the Vikings to a victory this weekend.
The Pick: Valley 21, Wabash 17.
Whitko (3-2, 3-0) at Northfield (4-1, 2-1), 7 p.m. *Game of the Week*
The Scoop: This game is going to be huge in determining the final standings in the Three Rivers Conference. Rochester and Whitko are the only undefeated teams left in TRC play, Northfield and Manchster are in second place with a 2-1 record. The Wildcats need this win.
Some can look at last weekend’s close win over Wabash as a disappointment because the Wildcats could have won by more than six. Some may look at as impressive because the team faced adversity and shined in crunch time. Both trains of thought are correct. The defense played well when it mattered most last week, scoring twice. Expect the ‘Cats defense to dominate from start to finish in this one and lead the way to 4-0 in conference play.
The Pick: Whitko 25, Northfield 10.
Goshen (0-5, 0-3) at Warsaw (3-2, 2-1), 7:30 p.m.
The Scoop: Hats off the the Tigers! What a gutsy performance by Warsaw last Friday. Plymouth beat Northridge two weeks back, but most people expected that. Very few expected the Tigers to win last week. I thought it could happen, I just just didn’t think the breaks would go Warsaw’s way. I was wrong. The Tigers made things go their way and ended up getting a great upset. Maybe next time the Raiders will think about having a kicking game!
It’s okay, swimming season is right around the corner for Gang Green so they can start gearing up to be let down by more Kosciusko teams this winter!
Moving on, Goshen is bad, really bad. No reason for Warsaw to lose this week. Last cupcake on the schedule for the Tigers, make it count!
The Pick: Warsaw 37, Goshen 14.
No. 11 New Prairie (4-1, 3-0) at Triton (1-4, 0-3), 7:30 p.m.
The Scoop: I don’t quite understand how a 4A team like New Prairie shares a conference with a 1A team like Triton, but it happens. I love Triton. The town and people of Bourbon are great. I always get treated with the best hospitality when I am down there. That being said, this game could get ugly.
The Trojans just cannot match up with the Cougars in any aspect. I want to give a glimmer of hope for Triton but I don’t see how that’s possible with this very talented team coming in. New Prairie’s biggest weakness is its defense, which surrenders over 30 points a game. Maybe Triton can find it’s way into a shootout and hope for an upset, but I highly doubt it. If Triton does prove me wrong and get this win, I’ll dye my hair blue to show my support.
The Pick: New Prairie 52, Triton 20.
Wawasee (3-2, 1-2) at No. 7 Plymouth (5-0, 3-0), 7:30 p.m.
The Scoop: Last year I picked against the Warriors in this game and Clayton Cook proved me wrong by putting on a clinic as Wawase scored 52 points against the Rockies. The loss caused Plymouth head coach John Barron to break his podium the next morning at the team meeting. (That’s a true story. No, seriously, it happened.)
The key to my pick here is Warsaw. What? Yes.
Last week I had a feeling that told me to pick Warsaw over Northridge, but the idea seemed crazy and I didn’t want to look stupid by making the wrong choice. Well, Warsaw ended up winning and I looked stupid after all. I don’t want to miss out on an upset pick two weeks in a row.
Plymouth is good, very good. But the Rockies are also beatable and have a very important game coming up next week against Concord. It will take a third consecutive stellar performance by the Warriors, especially on the defensive end, to down the Rockies but I have this weird feeling that it can be done. Clayton Cook will be keyed on all night by Plymouth so I’m looking at Sam Clark as the late game hero on offense to put Wawasee over the top in this one.
The Pick: Wawasee 45, Plymouth 41.
High School Soccer, 9/27
Girls: Wawasee (1-10, 0-3) at Warsaw (8-1, 3-1), 11 a.m.
The Scoop: It’s rivalry week for Warsaw and Wawasee on the pitch and I’m going to be there for the action so why not make some picks?
Wawasee is having a rough season so far. The Warriors have one senior on varsity and struggle to produce offensively. Warsaw, on the other hand, is having a wonderful season and doing very well offensively. Warsaw is just going to be too much for Wawasee on Saturday.
Wawasee is trending in the right direction, for the most part, but the Warriors are just not on Warsaw’s level right now. All Tigers, all day.
The Pick: Warsaw 6, Wawasee 1.
Boys: Wawasee (4-4-4, 1-2-1) at Warsaw (6-2-5, 2-1-1), 2:45 p.m.
The Scoop: As lopsided as the girls game could get, the boys game will make up for it. This has finally developed back into a rivalry for the first time in quite a few years. Wawasee is a very solid team and just took a tough loss to a ranked Goshen squad, 1-0. Warsaw plays Goshen on Thursday night, I expect that to be another fantastic game.
But the focus here is on Wawasee and Warsaw and that game will come down to the performance of two very talented keepers, Korey Knafel of Wawasee and Peyton Long of Warsaw. These two young men are going to steal the show on Saturday afternoon. I cannot wait to see this showdown.
Wawasee has had this game circled on its calendar since last season’s loss at home. I think that will be what pushes the Warriors over the top in this one, it’s simply a bigger game for them. Either way, get to Warsaw on Saturday to watch this great game.
The Pick: Wawasee 2, Warsaw 1.
NFL Week 4, 9/28
Green Bay (1-2) at Chicago (2-1), 1 p.m.
The Scoop: Speaking of rivalries…
Chicago’s defense is looking good right now and the offense is looking even better. Well, the passing game is looking good. Green Bay should be 0-3. The Packers have faced three very tough defenses these first three weeks and it shows with the cruddy production from their offense. The Packers will be able to get a few things going this week against an improved, but still developing Bears defense. I like the Bears in this game, which is probably bad news for Jay Cutler & Co. I have yet to pick a Bears game right this year. All of that aside, I like Matt Forte to finally have a good day to highlight a great Bears performance at Soldier Field.
The Pick: Bears 31, Packers 21.
Tennessee (1-2) at Indianapolis (1-2), 1 p.m.
The Scoop: Alright, I was foolishly worried for the Colts game at Jacksonville last weekend. The Jaguars are apparently still as bad as they’ve been for the past…decade? Yeah, something like that. Well, now I get to be the overconfident Colts fan again so watch me get carried away here.
The Titans have had two big letdowns in a row and may be without quarterback Jake Locker this week. Tennessee lacks a big name running back (Shonne Greene? He can’t even spell his name right.) The receiving core is riddled with underwhelming prospects and their stud tight end has a bum shoulder. So, I am going to go big with the Colts this week! Andrew Luck throws for four touchdowns and Trent Richardson runs for over 100 yards! LET’S DO THIS.
The Pick: Colts 41, Tennessee 24.