It’s the hardest thing to coach against in sports – looking ahead.
That’s the job Chesterton football coach John Snyder has had this week
heading into Friday night’s Duneland Athletic Conference contest at LaPorte.
“I hope we aren’t looking ahead,” Snyder said. “Our focus needs to continue
to be on us getting better because there are still things we need to do
better. We all know what we have ahead.
“The players know. The coaches know. The fans know and I just hate that
The Slicers will bring a sophomore-laden lineup that has struggled early in
“LaPorte is a very young team,” Snyder said. “I’ve had teams like this and
it’s hard because they aren’t quite ready to compete physically and
mentally. They play hard though. They’ve been in two of their three games
until a big play happens.
“That tends to happen to young teams. They hang their heads a little and
another big play and it gets away.”
That means the Trojans need to get off to a fast start, something they’ve
struggled with in all three games this season.
“We need to jump on them quick,” Snyder said. “Our focus this week is on
getting off to a better start. I haven’t been happy with our first quarter
in any of our three games so far. I don’t know why. Offensively, our goal is
to have a fast start.”
Chesterton is averaging just over seven yards a play on the season. On the
ground, the Trojans have amassed 820 yards (7.01 per rush) and 430 through
the air (11.94 per completion).
The biggest problem for the offense has come in turnovers as they’ve
struggled putting the ball on the ground.
“It’s supposed to rain,” Snyder said. “We’ve struggled with our snap some.
We have to protect the ball and if you give a young team a chance early,
they get excited and they can play with you.
“Hopefully, we’re experienced enough to keep that from happening.”
Defensively, the Trojans should be able to dominate their fourth consecutive
opponent and get some rest for their starters.
“Defensively, we have some guys that are pretty banged up,” Snyder said.
“We’ve had four or five guys that have missed at least one practice this
week. This may be a week where we can play some backup guys and get them
some experience. We’ll find out where our depth is at this point in the
The Trojans have allowed just 3.44 yards per play and only 1.94 per carry on
“We have 10 starters back and the front seven are as good as we’ve ever
had,” Snyder said. “It doesn’t surprise me that we’re containing the run
that well. In a week, we’re playing two All-Area, if not All-State, running
backs on the same team.
“Portage has three. LC has two guys back there. Crown Point has a kid that
ran all over us last year. Merrillville always runs the ball well, so we
know what’s coming.”
Coming off their first shutout of the season, the Trojans starting defense
has still yet to give up a point this year.
“Defensively, I continue to be happy with the intensity they play with,”
Snyder said. “Teams have gotten close to scoring against our number one’s
and they stood up to the challenge. We know somebody’s going to score. It’s
not a matter of will they or won’t they, but our defense is fighting to not
allow it to happen.
“That’s exciting for me.”
The Slicers do have some big play ability in the passing game and in the
return game that concern Snyder.
“LaPorte’s kickoff return team is good,” Snyder said. “They returned one
against Valpo last week and almost two. They had one against New Prairie and
we’ve given up some big returns. Our kickoff team has to cover better and
make a tackle.
“They have a wide receiver that had over 200 yards against New Prairie
because he broke tackles. They’ve got some playmakers that we have to be
concerned with and know where they are.”