DAC title up for grabsIndians coach Brett St. Germain shows his disapproval of the call against his team by the referees.| Jim Karczewski ~ For Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 12, 2011 9:52PM
The start of the IHSAA football playoffs are a week away, but there’s still a lot at stake in Week 9.
Lake Central and Merrillville will share the Duneland Athletic Conference title if the Indians (7-1, 5-1) beat Valparaiso (4-4, 4-2) in coach Mark Hoffman’s last regular season game and the Pirates (5-3, 5-1) beat Chesterton (4-4, 3-3).
An LC loss with a Merrillville win, gives the Pirates the DAC title outright and vice versa.
A Valparaiso win over LC and a Pirates’ loss forces a three-way tie.
“We haven’t talked to our kids about a conference championship,’’ Merrillville coach Zac Wells said.
Part of the reason is, earlier this season the Pirates spent some time looking ahead.
“We just wanted the kids to focus on what their jobs were within each individual group — offense, defense and special teams,’’ Wells said. “We’ve really just concerned ourselves with improving each week and our next game. It’s proven to be a real good formula for us.’’
Lake Central coach Brett St. Germain admits winning a title is one of his team’s goals. That could help his team this week as they try to recover from a 27-24 loss to Merrillville.
“What we’ve done is what we’ve always done — told the kids to have a short memory, win or lose,’’ St. Germain said. “We’ve done the best we can to put it in the rear view mirror and told the kids all our goals are still in front of us.’’
Fancy meeting you again: In the IHSAA’s ‘blind’ draw, LC and Merrillville were paired up again in the first round of the playoffs.
“Sometimes, I think it’s kind of fishy how this happens,’’ St. Germain said. “It really makes you wonder sometimes if it really is a blind draw. What are you going to do? You have to play who they tell you to play. Should they start to seed this thing? Yeah, I think they should.
“I think it’s great that everybody is in, but there should be some reward or benefit to having a great regular season. The teams that don’t, shouldn’t really reap the benefits as the teams that do.’’
And if the IHSAA did seed the postseason?
“It would still be Christmas, because everybody’s in the tournament, but you might not be liking the presents you’re getting,’’ St. Germain said.
How does Wells feel?
“It’s definitely a blind draw,’’ he said. “There’s no rhyme or reason for it. If Chesterton beats Michigan City in the first round, we could (by beating LC again) possibly end up replaying weeks eight and nine of the regular season.’’
Work, work, work: All their lives all they wanted was to be Brickies.
Unfortunately for Hobart coach Ryan Turley’s first group, that’s meant winning their first game (33-6 win over West Side) before losing seven straight times.
“I know our record doesn’t show it, but we’ve made some significant improvements,’’ Turley said. “We’re definitely playing better than we did at the beginning of the year. The kids are giving us the effort we’ve asked. Hopefully, that can transfer into a ‘W’ for us (against Highland) Friday night and we can get that snowball effect going and carry it into the playoffs.’’