Steve T. Gorches’ preseason sectional predictions
By STEVE T. GORCHES 314-3797 or firstname.lastname@example.org August 22, 2013 10:04PM
Jeffrey D. Nicholls/Post-Tribune Post-Tribune sports writer Steve Gorches
Updated: September 24, 2013 6:46AM
Unlike my colleague, I actually love making early predictions. When I was a kid I loved climbing trees, so going out on a limb comes naturally. And if you want to hold me accountable, please use cooked Ramen noodles for the lashing (pork and oriental flavors are my favorite). I’m also known to be a region homer and I’m going to stick with that going into another Northwest Indiana high school football season.
Sectional 1: Good luck to Lafayette Jeff in the first year of Class 6A. It’s put in a group of four with Duneland defensive dandies Crown Point, Lake Central and Merrillville. That means a low-scoring sectional. Usually in that case you go with the best offensive team, which will likely be Merrillville. But I’m betting on Lake Central coach Brett St. Germain helping the Indians win their first sectional title since 1999.
Sectional 2: On the surface, this looks like a lock for region pain-in-the-neck Penn to walk away. Valparaiso and Chesterton both have myriad graduation losses to replace, and it may be too much to expect Wally McCormack to have Portage ready to win a sectional in his second year. So count on the Kingsmen to add another to a long list of reasons to hate them.
Sectional 9: This is that unusual odd-numbered sectional in which two teams have to play an extra game. Even if the play-in game is Mishawaka-South Bend Adams, I don’t think LaPorte, MC or Munster are good enough to dethrone Mishawaka, which pains me to say because of my homer status.
Sectional 17: The Post-Tribune preseason top 10 shows how much we like West Side and its stack of talent this year. Head coach Jason Johnson has the Cougars going in the right direction with structure and numbers — the Cougars have a bigger roster than some suburban schools known more for football. The obvious choices in this group are Lowell or Morton, but like my colleague, I’d like to go with an underdog. So he’s picking a Gary team. I’ll go with East Chicago to win that city’s first ever sectional title.
Sectional 18: The distance traveled in this sectional over three weeks could be a lot depending on the draw. The two local teams in the group (Hobart and KV) look like the favorites, though I wouldn’t forget about former Griffith coach Russ Radtke and his New Prairie Cougars. Anyone who has read my columns over the years know I’m a coach guy. I think coaches make a big difference in all sports, but especially in high school. The right coach can turn a down-trodden program into a sectional contender. And that’s what Radtke is doing in just his second year. As for the sectional, though, I think Ryan Turley has Hobart back on track to return to its glory years and that means the first sectional title since 1997.
Sectional 25: It’s a different class and sectional for Andrean, but should be the same result. Mishawaka Marian won’t be easy, but the 59ers have plenty of talent back in key positions.
Sectional 33: Bowman’s Laron Golden boldly predicted his team would go undefeated and win a sectional title. I wish I could agree with him on the sectional part, but I’ll agree with Mike Hutton, instead. Kirk Kennedy makes a world of difference at North Judson, which could go much further than reaching regional.
Sectional 41: Remember, I’m Mr. Homer, so that means I’m going to lean toward one of the three local teams in this group even though a region team has won this sectional only once in the last 16 years (South Central in 2010). I’m going for a repeat effort from the Satellites.