The fall sports season is nearing its end. IHSAA State Finals for girls golf start this weekend, soccer and cross country sectionals start next week, tennis regionals take place next week and football conference races are finally starting to shape up.
I usually ramble on for way too long with my article as a whole, so I’m just doing seven picks this week to shorten things up a little bit. I’m one of those people that likes hearing himself talk. But, I just do that because I can’t hear the voices anymore.
Congratulations to the Warsaw tennis team on winning its 27th overall and third consecutive sectional title. Also, a big congrats to the Whitko tennis team for making the championship round. The Wildcats had to win two matches on Wednesday night just to get that chance so that was well earned.
Finally, a huge shout-out to the Wawasee girls golf team for qualifying for the IHSAA State Finals for the first time since 1986. That’s a big accomplishment that was well-earned by the girls. I will be down in Carmel covering the Lady Warriors so stay close to our Facebook account and my Twitter account, @NickGShow for updates.
Alright, on to the picks. It’s a big week, there is a Traveling ‘W’ up for grabs!
Last Week: 7-3
High School Football Week 7 10/3
Triton (1-5, 0-4) at No. 16 LaVille (4-2, 2-2), 7 p.m.
The Scoop: The Norther State Conference just doesn’t do any favors for Triton. That continues this week as the Trojans travel to Lakeville to take on the Lancers who are ranked No. 16 in Class 1A. This pick is going to be easy because I can’t go with the Trojans until I see more offensive production.
Triton averages just over 14 points per game, not good. To make matters worse, the Trojans surrender almost 35 points a night. That just doesn’t spell out anything promising for Friday night’s matchup.
The Pick: LaVille 38, Triton 13.
Rochester (5-1, 4-0) at Tippecanoe Valley (1-5, 1-3), 7 p.m.
The Scoop: Last season the Vikings toppled the Zebras 42-21 on the road in an mild upset. That same result would be an absolute stunner this time around. Rochester is once again on a roll and doesn’t show signs of slowing down going into this game. In four Three Rivers Conference contests this season, Rochester has pitched three shutouts.
Oddly enough, I don’t see this game as impossible for the Vikings to win.
Make no mistake, Rochester is very talented and should be able to pull away from Valley in the second half, but if the Vikings defense can show up and make some plays, this game will be close and the Zebras might make a few mistakes with the added pressure. Nothing to lose here, Vikings, go all out.
The Pick: Rochester 31, Valley 20.
North Miami (0-6, 0-4) at Whitko (4-2, 4-0), 7 p.m.
The Scoop: Sorry, Whitko, but I’m not spending much time on your game this week. I’ll be down to watch your showdown next Friday at Rochester.
This is simple, don’t overlook North Miami and you’ll be fine. You overlooked Wabash and almost paid dearly for that. DO NOT OVERLOOK NORTH MIAMI. Go out and play the way you’ve played the whole season, play smash mouth football and this will be an easy night. Tanner Hughes, do you have 225 yards in you for Friday? I say yes.
The Pick: Whitko 45, North Miami 18.
No. 5 Plymouth (6-0, 4-0) at No. 1 Concord (6-0, 4-0), 7:30 p.m.
The Scoop: It is the Northern Lakes Conference showdown that we’ve been waiting all week for! Heck, I’ve been waiting all season for this game. Yes, I’m serious. These two teams always give fans a great game and I expect nothing but the best from the both of them this week.
Plymouth is very talented, but after watching the Rrrrrrrrrockies cough the ball up five times against Wawasee last week, I’m not sure how they will hold up in this game. The important thing for Plymouth is that, yes, it did have five turnovers but it still managed to win big. Concord is likely going to be without starting quarterback Cullen Fisher, but backup Jason Grooms stepped in and did a great job last week so Minutemen fans should not be too concerned.
The story here will be defense. Plymouth surrenders around 15 points per game while Concord gives up just 10. Both those numbers are very impressive. All sign point to this game coming down to who will finally make a mistake. I have a feeling that the mistake will come from Plymouth’s Jack Barron at some point and cost the Rrrrrrrrrockies an upset victory on the road.
The Pick: Concord 24, Plymouth 20.
Warsaw (4-2, 3-1) at Wawasee (3-3, 1-3), 7:30 p.m. *Game of the Week*
The Scoop: C’mon, you knew I was going to make this my feature game. How could I not? It’s the battle for the Traveling ‘W’ Trophy! Some like to say that this rivalry is not as heated as it was “back in the day” and that the kids don’t care about this game. I disagree. The past two games alone have been classics in which the winning team won by a single point.
When you see those other guys line up across from you, it becomes important again. You lose this game and it comes back to you in the winter when the opposing student section starts chanting “Let’s play football” at a basketball game. Trust me, I’ve been on both side of that chant. This win gets passed around the water cooler at the offices where Warsaw and Wawasee parents work. The loss sticks with your fans at softball, wrestling and every other sport the rest of the year. This game is still big. It would be a long shot for either of these teams to get a share of the NLC crown, so they better lay it all on the line for this hardware.
Now, who is actually going to win this game? Well, my Wawasee diploma may burst into flames with this pick, but I’m going with the Tigers.
*small earthquake* *lightning strikes* *random buildings in Syracuse burst into flames*
The key for this game is whether or not Wawasee can move the ball. Wawasee’s varsity turned four Plymouth turnovers into zero points last week. Six first downs and zero points. Zero. Wawasee’s defense will make plays, Warsaw’s offense will also make plays and score some points.. Expect both. But the outcome of this game is dependent on Warsaw’s defense and Wawasee’s offense. Can the Warriors take advantage of a secondary that hasn’t been tested yet? Can the Tigers force Wawasee to be one dimensional and get a solid pass rush going? Right now I’m going with the hot hand in Warsaw. Take it to the bulletin board, Wawasee. I’m taking the Tigers.
The Pick: Warsaw 17, Wawasee 13.
High School Soccer Sectional at Plymouth 10/6-10/8
Culver Academies (11-3) at Warsaw (7-3-5), 6 p.m. 10/6
The Scoop: Warsaw got a rough draw for the start of the postseason. If the Tigers want to win their seventh consecutive sectional title, they will have to beat a talented CMA squad and then avenge a draw against Plymouth in round two before facing another NLC foe, Wawasee or NorthWood, in the final. If any team can handle that, it’s Warsaw.
I’m going to pick the championship game next week in my picks, so for now I will just say that maybe the Tigers won’t win the sectional, but I really can’t see them dropping out in the opening round, senior Sam Allbritten won’t let that happen. I expect the Tigers to score early, give up that lead and then score again late to move on to face Plymouth.
The Pick: Warsaw 2, CMA 1.
Wawasee (4-6-5) at NorthWood (4-8-3), 5 p.m. 10/8
The Scoop: These two teams could be slated as the “weakest” in the Northern Lakes Conference but that isn’t saying much as the NLC is loaded with talent and both of these teams have already had their fair share of wins and impressive draws. Wawasee downed NorthWood 1-0 earlier in the season and is capable of doing it again. The Warriors biggest issue is offense. They don’t score near as often as they need to. They lack a true playmaker offense and that hurts them in big games. Looking at the draw and that talents throughout the sectional, this could shape up to be a special postseason for Wawasee, but it will take a little bit of luck as well. Regardless of the offensive stuggles Wawasee has, I like the Warriors to at least win this games and get to the championship next Saturday.
The Pick: Wawasee 2, NorthWood 0.