Chesterton Tribune


Chesterton Football heads to LaPorte tonight

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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 feeling.”

The Slicers will bring a sophomore-laden lineup that has struggled early in the year.

“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 year.”

The Trojans have allowed just 3.44 yards per play and only 1.94 per carry on the ground.

“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.”



Posted 9/7/2012