Another week of being ink free has come and gone. It has been a difficult journey for everyone here to keep up this ink free lifestyle. We had to fight back the pro-ink propagandists outside of our office this week. Eventually the unruly group of six disbanded and went to lunch, but it was an intense 40 minutes.
Anyway, its sectional football time! All five of our local football teams will be stepping onto the field tonight with no guarantee of tomorrow. There are several games that should be very interesting and there may even be some upsets on the horizon.
Before we get to those games, I want to wish luck to four local volleyball teams competing in sectional semi-finals (and hopefully sectional titles) this Saturday. Warsaw will be taking on Concord at Concord at 10 a.m. Triton and South Central begin play at 11 a.m. at Culver. Lakeland Christian Academy will look to advance over Bethany Christian at 12:30 p.m. in the Fort Wayne Blackhawk sectional and Wawasee will play NorthWood at 12:30 p.m. at Fairfield.
All four teams have relatively winnable matchups, so Kosciusko could be weighed down with some hardware this Saturday. Also, good luck to all of the cross country teams and individuals running at semi-state races this weekend.
Going back to volleyball really quick, Tippecanoe Valley and Wawasee played a fantastic game Thursday night with the Lady Warriors coming out on top. Now, Wawasee played tough and earned the win and blah, blah, blah, effort, blah, blah, blah. I’m going to tell you all why Wawasee really won.
It was because of the magnificent hair on head coach Jeff Phillips’ face. It’s so great that I even provided a photo. He only looks angry because he is tired of being the only head coach in the county with epic facial hair now that Viking look alike Jeff Shriver is only an assistant.
Last Week: 6-3
High School Football Sectionals 10/24
Leo (7-2) at Wawasee (6-3), 7 p.m.
The Scoop: Leo came into Syracuse last year for a first round sectional contest and received a challenge from the underdog Warriors in the first half but would end up running away for a 35-7 victory. The Lions did that by rushing for more than 400 yards. 400. That number should be more than enough to get the Warriors fired up for Friday’s game. Wawasee’s defense will play a big role, but it is Leo’s defense that is receiving a lot of attention.
The Lions surrender just over eight points a game, chalking up three shutouts along the way. Now, those shutouts were against smaller teams with losing records, but it will still be a challenging matchup for Wawasee. If the Warriors can do the obvious things, they will win. Things like protecting the ball, establishing the run and just getting the ball in Clayton Cook’s hands.
Can Wawasee do all of that? Of course. The Warriors, along with four other teams in this sectional, have the right pieces to make a deep postseason run. I believe whoever wins this sectional will end up in semi-state and probably Indianapolis. This game is one of those “prove it” games. I have to see the Warriors win a game like this before I can feel safe with the pick. Wawasee has stepped up a few times this season, but can the Warriors rise to the challenge this week? We’ll see.
The Pick: Leo 20, Wawasee 16.
Carroll (9-0) at Warsaw (5-4), 7p.m.
The Scoop: I need to debunk a few myths right now. In the past week I’ve heard several people say,”Fort Wayne football is down” and, “Carroll is undefeated, but the wins aren’t that impressive” or my favorite, “Carroll is not as good as its record shows.”
Okay, if a team goes 9-0, that team is as good as its record shows. Some teams can stumble into four, five or even six wins. Once a team hits that seven, eight and nine win terrace, it’s a solid bet that the team is good.
Let’s not beat around the bush, Tiger Nation. This matchup is rough. There are three other teams in this sectional and Warsaw drew the one team that it definitely did not want. Yes, the Tigers can be fueled by playing at home and avenging last year’s sectional title loss in Fort Wayne, but is that enough to knock off Class 6A’s No. 5 team? Well, maybe.
Carroll has a strong defense, surrendering just 13 points per game. The offense has not done anything stellar, but it is still productive. Turnovers will be key. Warsaw will need to be +3 in the turnover department, or better, in order to win this game. Carroll knows how to win close games and handle adversity, so, one or two turnovers won’t rattle this team. But, this is another “prove it” game. I’d love to be proven wrong on this one.
The Pick: Carroll 27, Warsaw 13.
Whitko (6-3) at Bellmont (5-4), 7 p.m.
The Scoop: Hey look, another rematch from 2013! Yes, Bellmont trounced Whitko 35-13 in the opening round of the sectional last season. I don’t expect that to happen again.
Whitko has done well this season, thanks to a fantastic rushing attack and opportunistic defense. Bellmont will be one of the best teams Whitko will see all season, right behind Rochester and Wawasee. I like Whitko, I like the side of the bracket the Wildcats are in, but I don’t like this particular matchup.
This is my final “prove it” game for the week. I’m not trying to take the easy road out on any of these picks, just being honest. Definitely a winnable game for Whitko, but the Wildcats are a one-trick pony and that won’t cut it against a Braves team that plays in a competitive Northeast Hoosier Conference.
The Pick: Bellmont 28, Whitko 17.
Tippecanoe Valley (1-8) at Culver Academy (3-6), 7:30 p.m.
The Scoop: CMA already beat the Vikings once this season. A 36-13 season-opening thrashing for the Eagles sort of sets the tone for this pick. Sure, teams have avenaged blow-out losses in the postseason before. But typically those teams are ones that have more than one victory.
This Vikings play hard, a lot harder than what you’d expect from a 1-8 squad, but this just isn’t a game I see Valley rallying together to win. Would I be totally shocked with a Viking win? Okay, yeah I would be.
The Pick: Culver Academy 31, Valley 20.
Triton (2-7) at South Central (3-6), 7:30 p.m.
The Scoop: I don’t know anything about South Central except that the school mascot is a Satellite. Yes, I reiterate that every blue moon when I discuss South Central, but I still don’t know why a team from Nowhere, Indiana has a satellite as a mascot. I NEED TO KNOW.
Moving on, I like Triton in this game. I don’t really have number to back this up, I just have a good feeling about the game. I feel Triton is due for a sectional win. It’s going to take some offensive output from the Trojans, the season average of 13 points per game will not cut it here. But, I’m seeing a nice, productive night from the Trojans.
The Pick: Triton 26, South Central 20.
NFL Week Eight 10/26
Chicago (3-4) at New England (5-2), 1 p.m.
The Scoop: Great news, Bears fans, your team is going to win this Sunday. Yes, the Bears are going to beat the Patriots, in New England. Do you know why? Because I am not picking the Bears to win.
I have had terrible luck picking against and picking for Chicago this season and that will probably continue this weekend. There are reports of turmoil in the Chicago locker room, I’m not 100-percent sold on that quite yet, but I do think there are some unhappy people and that will lead to total collapse or a huge rebound win. I’m going with the former.
The Pick: Patriots 38, Bears 24.
Indianapolis (5-2) at Pittsburgh (4-3), 4:25 p.m.
The Scoop: I picked against the Colts last week, Indy responded by having literally its best all-around performance of the Andrew Luck-Chuck Pagano era. The defense was dominant, the offense was stellar. The special teams unit was on par. Even friggin’ Trent Richardson had his best game as a Colt. It was beautiful.
However, I am picking against the Colts here. Only because historically the Colts have not fared well in the Steel City. Now, this is a new era of Colts football. Maybe Luck will have better, well, luck in Pittsburgh than Peyton Manning or Jim Harbaugh (friggin’ Aaron Bailey) had.
Don’t get me wrong, this is a completely winnable game for Indy, I’m honestly making this pick based on past results. Probably not a very smart move, but I’m sticking by this one.
The Pick: Steelers 27, Colts 24.