Chesterton Tribune

CHS and Portage to play under Saturday Night Lights

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John Snyder faces the biggest problem a high school coach can this week.

“I think you always worry about not putting a big win behind you and moving on to the next game,” Snyder said as his team prepares to travel to Portage on Saturday night. “You come back to school and you get all the pats on the back and people keep reminding you about last Friday. But, when we go to practice, we try to get them to understand that the team you’re playing is more than capable of beating you.”

The Indians have been the epitome of an up-and-down team so far this season.

“Hopefully history doesn’t repeat itself,” Snyder said. “Portage got beat pretty good by Lake Central and then rebounded and beat Merrillville. Last week, they got beat pretty good by Crown Point. I don’t want them to come back and beat Chesterton.

“They are very capable of doing just that.”

The Trojans come-from-behind victory against Valparaiso last week put them in a tie for first place in the Duneland Athletic Conference with Lake Central.

“When you deal with teenage kids, you always worry about where their head is,” Snyder said. “The momentum, flow of the game and excitement of the game is a big factor. Very similar to last week against Valpo for us, we got behind early, made a big play and got back in the game.

“We just built on that the rest of the night.”

Chesterton may find themselves in the same position, on the other side, this week.

“Portage is a very emotional type of team,” Snyder said. “When they are playing well, they play really well. When they’re down, they let some things happen to them.”

Offensively, Portage will look a lot like the Indian teams of the past.

“The last couple of years, they’ve literally just created an extra gap for you to defend and sent extra people through it,” Snyder said. “If you don’t come and physically blow it up, we’re going to eventually break some big plays. They are doing similar things to that. They basically have a running back playing quarterback and they let him run around and look for a hole.”

And the Indians speed at wide receiver also causes some problems if they take to the air.

“They throw the ball just well enough to their speed receivers to make your secondary stay back and protect,” Snyder said. “Portage’s outright speed makes them a very dangerous team. If they get into our secondary, they’re gone.”

Defensively, Portage will also cause some problems for the Trojans.

“They move around a lot defensively,” Snyder said. “I think they’ll line up differently every play to try and confuse (quarterback) Chris (Katsafaros). Very much like Merrillville, they’ll commit extra guys to stop the run and man-up in the secondary with their speedy DB’s. They’ll try to force you to put long drives together.”

Chesterton’s offense did show some diversity last week as Katsafaros went to the air and completed 7-of-9 passes, including two long touchdown passes to Joe Troop.

“It’s always encouraging to have more balance in your offense and the ability to throw the ball,” Snyder said. “It forces them to have to stay back a little bit, and if we get a good push up front, Chris is pretty hard to stop in the option then.

“As long as we can continue to have that threat, things should fall into place for us offensively.”

Saturday night’s game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. kickoff at Portage High School and will be shown live on Lakeshore Public Television.

“We haven’t talked about the TV aspect of it,” Snyder said. “We’ve had TV cameras at games before, I just know that we have a game and it happens to be on Saturday night. The issue is how the kids spend their Friday night and all day Saturday. Will they run around and tire themselves out before we ever get to Portage?

“When you deal with high school kids, you just never know where their head is.”



Posted 9/23/2011