MICHIGAN CITY — As I finished the question to Mason Kaletha, the Michigan City defensive back displayed a devious smile, as if he got away with stealing snacks from the proverbial cookie jar.
“Yeah, a little bit,” he said when asked if he’s been looking forward to Friday night’s Week 3 matchup between the Wolves and Chesterton at Ames Field.
The defensive back transferred to City from Chesterton for his senior year. No controversy, unlike some transfers, since — as Wolves’ assistant coach Roydon Richards put it — Kaletha’s dad lives “a 9-iron away from Ames Field” in Michigan City. But after Kaletha playing for the Trojans for three years — including on a Duneland Conference regular season champion as a sophomore — you know he’s been itching to face his former teammates.
“There’s no hard feelings,” he said. “I like everyone there, especially the coaches.”
Don’t misunderstand Kaletha. He likes his current coaches — specifically head coach Phil Mason and Richards — just as much.
“They put you in your place and they’re pretty funny,” he quipped.
After Kaletha opened the season with three sacks against Griffith — a rarity from a DB in one game — it’s been easy for him to transition from Trojan to Wolf.
“I think I’m fitting in pretty good,” he said. “My teammates don’t think I’m an outsider. I think they like me.”
Those three sacks that helped City hold off the Griffith offense enough for City to come back certainly helps endear himself with new teammates. Kaletha really wants to compete against his former teammates and maybe add to that sack total, though his motor will be going the same as any other game.
“I love the game, so when I step ion the field I play hard all the time,” he said.
• CHESTERTON (2-0) at MICHIGAN CITY (1-1)
Friday, 7 p.m., at Ames Field
Series over last 30 years: Chesterton leads 24-5
Skinny: Sure, the Trojans lead this annual Duneland Conference schedule opener for these two teams by a longshot, but all City fans remember is last year’s decisive 20-0 win at Chesterton. Like last year, the Trojans are 2-0, while City is 1-1 — not like last year — after a blowout loss at Homewood-Flossmoor. But this is when the real season starts with a conference title on the line, and we’ll see who learned the most in their two non-conference games.
Prediction: Michigan City 27, Chesterton 24
• Valparaiso (2-0) at La PORTE (1-1)
Friday, 7 p.m. at Kiwanis Field
Series over last 30 years: Valparaiso leads 19-14
Skinny: The Slicers have their work cut out for them because this isn’t the same Valparaiso team as in recent years. The Vikings have won two straight non-conference games to begin the campaign, against a perennial state contender in Penn (12-7) and against a sectional champion in Mishawaka (33-7). The Vikings’ defense is tough, so Nolan Lorenz and company need to be a lot better than last week’s loss to Hobart. Maybe another thriller like last year’s 39-38 win by the Slicers can be expected.
Prediction: La Porte 14, Valparaiso 13
• NEW PRAIRIE (1-1) at Andrean (2-0)
Friday, 7 p.m., at Father Eckert Field
Series over last 30 years: Andrean leads 7-2
Skinny: Before last season, the Cougars had never beaten Andrean, losing seven straight dating back to 2001. But New Prairie not only ended that streak in the third week of the regular season, but it also beat the 59ers in the sectional semifinal before losing the Hobart in the championship. Andrean has opened with two straight wins, including an impressive 42-13 victory at Merrillville in Week 1. Look for a very competitive contest between a pair of sectional foes.
Prediction: New Prairie 35, Andrean 34
• Calumet (0-2) at SOUTH CENTRAL (1-1)
Friday, 6:30 p.m., at South Central Field
Series over last 30 years: South Central leads 6-4
Skinny: The Satellites start conference play (yes, in football S.C. is part of the Greater South Shore Conference) with a home tilt against a Calumet team that has been up and down in recent years. In 2014 the Warriors went 9-3, but they’ve only won three games each of the last two years and are off to an 0-2 start this season, being outscored 89-24. South Central is looking to rebound off a 15-0 loss to Culver Community last week at home.
Prediction: South Central 20, Calumet 12
Reach sports editor Steve T. Gorches at email@example.com or (219) 214-4206. Follow him on Twitter @SteveTGorches.