Chesterton Tribune



Chesterton Football opens season with 14-7 win

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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 the Wildkats.

Offensively, the Trojans struggled throughout the first half with four punts and a fumble on their first six possessions. Chesterton managed just three first downs before hafltime.

“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 excuse anymore.

“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.

Sammie 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.

McFarrin carried 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 to 14-7.

“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 package.”

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 for us.

“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.

Chesterton 14, Kokomo 7



First Downs 9 6

Total Net Yards 212 89

Rushes-Yards 34-163 30-39

Passing-Yards 49 50

Comp.-Att.-Int. 11-21-4 7-15-1

Penalties-Yards 6-43 8-75

Fumbles-Lost 2-0 1-1

Punts-Avg. 2-43.5 30.3


Kokomo 7 0 0 0 -- 7

Chesterton 0 0 7 7 -- 14


K -- Keenan Wheeler 54 run (Max Waltenmaeth kick)

C -- Zack Johnson 35 blocked punt return (Sammie Campaniello kick)

C -- Rhett Rondinelli 7 pass from Lyric McFerrin (Campaniello kick)


Posted 8/22/2016




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