The Merrillville Pirates have beaten Lake Central 16 straight times. This includes a week 8 nail biter in which Merrillville held off LC.
The good news and bad news is this game will be held at Lake Central's field. The swamp know as the burial grounds has been hit hard the last few days and should be awful playing conditions.
Lake Central has put together another successful campaign going 8-2 under Coach Brett St Germain. The Indians are led by Purdue recruit Gelen Robinson. The younger brother of Michigan standout Glen Robinson Jr and son of the "BIG DOG" Glen Robinson. The youngest Robinson has had another outstanding season playing defensive end and linebacker. He also has played a little bit of running back.
The Indians defense has been solid all year allowing just over 10 point per game. Other Indian defensive standouts are DT C.J. Lessentine, LB K.J. Singleton and DB Brian Rice.
The concern is on offense where the Indians have been inconsistent. They are now starting their third quarterback. Sophomore Ethan Darter is now at the helm after injuries to Purdue baseball recruit Alec Olund and then sophomore Colin Studer. Junior running back Brandon Scott and senior receiver Antwan Davis will need to have big games for the Indians to win.
An interesting newcomer to the Indians is that of junior kicker Jilian Doan, who was recruited off the girls soccer team. Her extra points vs Chesterton and field goal vs Crown Point were the point difference for the Indians in close wins.
Merrillville again has put up another impressive season going 9-1. Their lone loss was to Class 3A # 1 ranked Andrean. Pirate Head Coach Zac Wells has a 76-24 record in his eight seasons.
Sophomore quarterback D.J. Wilkins has had a huge initial year as starting signal caller. He will be a heavily recruited athlete in both football and basketball.
Senior running back Bryant Isabell has had a huge senior year. Receivers Jonathan Robinson and Diante Montgomery have given the Pirates some deep threats. The key for the Pirates will the offensive line led by Thomas Scolaro and Jeff Colby.
The defense is led by safety Ryan Neal (6-1, 170). The younger brother of the Packers Mike Neal has had a great career at Merrillville and is a very underrated player as far as recruiting goes.
Defensive tackle Shawn Streck is one to watch.
This one could be a dandy played in the mud. My pick Merrillville 14 Lake Central 7