Last year, the
Chesterton football team proved the adage that defense wins championships.
They did it again
on Friday night.
The Trojans managed
just 89 yards of total offense, but won the other phases of the game
decidedly and beat Class 5A No. 6 Kokomo 14-7 to open the regular season.
“Defense came up
huge,” Chesterton coach Mark Peterson said. “We had a bunch of faces to
replace and the kids that went in there did a tremendous job of stepping up
and doing that.”
Kokomo struck first
when Keenan Wheeler broke lose up the middle for 54 yards and a 7-0 lead for
Trojans struggled throughout the first half with four punts and a fumble on
their first six possessions. Chesterton managed just three first downs
“From an offensive
perspective, we were pretty dismal,” Peterson said. “We did some good
things, but just didn’t make the big play when we had a chance to. We need
to execute better and some of that is inexperience. We can’t use that as an
“We have to raise
our level of execution and expectations.”
The Trojan defense
made a stop on a fourth-and-two on the first possession of the third
quarter, but went three-and-out themselves offensively.
The defense came up
big again on the next possession and forced a punt. Mason Kaletha broke
through and blocked the punt. Zack Johnson picked it up and scampered 35
yards for a touchdown.
Campaniello’s point-after-touchdown tied the game at 7-7.
“The blocked punt
and then to pick it up and return it for a touchdown was a huge momentum
shifter,” Peterson said.
On the ensuing
kickoff, Valshawn Stewart batted the ball back into the field of play on a
pooch kick toward the Chesterton sideline. Logan Scott recovered to give the
ball to the Trojans.
With Lyric McFarrin
the third Trojan quarterback of the night now taking the snap, Chesterton
went 35 yards in six plays for a go-ahead touchdown.
the ball on the first five plays for 17 yards and found Rhett Rondinelli
over the middle for the final seven yards. Campaniello’s PAT pushed the lead
“We made the shift
to Lyric and it was a definite plus for us,” Peterson said. “It’s not a
permanent decision necessarily, but it is something that we’ll have to look
at. We’re going to do what’s best for the team and work on the whole
The Trojan defense
continued its domination from there and the Wildkats only crossed midfield
one more time. On the night, Chesterton intercepted four passes and allowed
212 yards of offense.
“I didn’t know if
we could start defensively in week one at the same level we were at last
year, but we did,” Peteson said. “I really like the guys in the places we
have them. Matt Krugman has stepped up. Anthony Kurek back after a year off
has given us a big lift. Brett Roeske in his first leadership role was
great. Brant Wilder and Zack Johnson up front along with Adam Nilson did a
phenomenal job. Our veteran secondary with Valshawn Stewart and Mason
Kaletha did some great things too. That upperclassman leadership was huge
“I thought we would
have to play our way into success, but I think it’s really about having
great leadership on that side of the ball.”
The Trojans take to
the road next Friday night when they travel to Munster for a 7 p.m. kickoff.