Playoff match-ups have been set in Indiana prep football, but region teams are still gearing up to finish the regular season on a high note. The Region Sports Network has previewed the top four games in Week Nine, beginning with a match-up of the team that has been the best in the area all season long against the team perhaps playing the best right now.
No. 5 Lowell is riding a five-game win streak and will look to follow-up on an impressive triumph over Munster with a trip to No. 1 Andrean tonight. The 59ers have won 23 in a row, making tonight's match-up at Father Eckert Field the best one of the night.
"It’s safe to say that Lowell’s Ike James is no longer flying under the radar. The Red Devils’ 0-3 start this season didn’t garner James much attention. But the junior running back piled up 362 rushing yards and six touchdowns against a good Munster defense last week. James now has 1607 yards and 26 touchdowns for the season against what has turned out to be a pretty tough schedule," the RSN's Dennis Churilla writes. "Keeping Andrean off the field and out of the end zone are two different things. The 59ers average 41 points per game and have big-strike capability. Trevor Berg has rushed for 1,249 yards this season and has scored 19 times, while many times playing sparingly in the second halves of games. Receiver Jamie Johnson averages over 18 yards per reception and has eight touchdown catches. The 59ers are averaging a stingy 13 points per game defensively."
Churilla is predicting an upset in this tilt, selecting Lowell as a 24-22 winner. Live RSN coverage can be heard on 90.5 FM WRTW and video on regionsports.com. See full RSN preview here.
Munster, who dropped four spots in the RSN poll following their lopsided loss to the Red Devils last week, will no doubt look to get back on track hosting Kankakee Valley tonight at "The Marsh Lands." Kankakee Valley is also coming off a disappointing loss, dropping a 34-18 decision at Highland last week.
Churilla wrote that Munster had looked sharp all season and we’ll chalk last week up to an off night. We think the Mustangs will rebound from last week a little better than the Kougars do and regain their momentum this Friday."" See full RSN preview here.
The first and last week of the season are often reserved for rivalry games, and this year's final regular season tilt between city rivals Hammond (5-3) and Clark (4-4) is no different. Clark head coach Eric Schreiber looks to pull off an unexpected winning season, especially since the Pioneers began the 2014 campaign 0-4 and are now riding a four-game win streak. To get above .500, he will have to beat his former team, Hammond, where he was 3-0 against Clark as head coach of the Wildcats.
"There’s going to be a lot of emotion in this game and you know the Wildcats are going to be fired up playing their former coach, but the prediction here is that the combo of the Pioneer defense playing as well as it is along with an offense that has more versatility gives Clark the win and leaves both teams at 5-4 entering the post-season," the RSN's Nathan Laird wrote, predicting a 22-16 victory for Clark. See full RSN preview here.
A pair of smaller schools who have had successful seasons are at it tonight as Calumet pays a visit to No. 9 Wheeler.
"We know both of these offenses can move the football, so the difference in this one is going to be which defense makes more plays," Laird wrote, saying Wheeler should come out with a 34-21 win. See full RSN preview here.
Don't forget to check out the RSN's "Around the Region" feature, which provides a short glimpse on all of tonight's games that weren't previewed in full. Among the interesting match-ups in "Around the Region" this week are Highland at Hobart (The favored Trojans look for their first-ever win over tthe Brickies); Merrillville at Chesteron (Pirates look to avoid first losing season since 2002); Lake Central at Valparaiso (Indians can secure first outright DAC title in school history with win) and Crown Point at Michigan City, where a Wolves upset would mean only the third winning season for City since Elston and Rogers merged in 1995. See the RSN's "Around the Region" rundown.
The RSN Week Nine Top 10
1. Andrean 8-0, 5-0
2. Lake Central 7-1, 6-0
3. Crown Point 7-1, 5-1
4. Rensselaer Central 8-0, 5-0
5. Lowell 5-3, 4-1
6. Munster 6-2, 3-2
7. Morton 7-1, 2-0
8. Whiting 8-0, 6-0
9. Wheeler 7-1, 5-1
10. Highland 5-3, 2-3