ELKHART -- Whether
you believe in momentum or not, Chesterton appeared to have it on its side
after three quarters of Friday’s Class 6A Sectional championship game at No.
Ten yards from a
potential two-score lead, the Trojans wound up losing yardage and turning
the ball over to the Lions who had been held relatively quiet offensively
having entered averaging 44.8 points per game.
points when it counted though as it capitalized on the interception with a
nine-play drive ending in a TD that proved to be the difference-maker,
remains in search of its first sectional title.
“We had our
chances,” said Chesterton coach John Snyder, who was acting head coach for
consecutive weeks. “I’m sure nobody thought we’d be in this game at all, let
alone with a chance to win it. That’s a tribute to the kids, they have
really done a great job practicing and they believed -- that’s half the
“We talked about it
all week -- we were underdogs (last week) against Penn and we were gonna be
underdogs the rest of this tournament, so let’s play with that underdog
mentality. Our kids fought hard.”
To no one’s
surprise, Elkhart (9-0) took to the ground early and often, running 48 times
for 252 yards, paced by 34 carries and 214 yards and a TD from Derrick
uncharacteristically, Chesterton chose to employ a ball-control style of its
own, totaling 33 carries for 173 yards.
“(Elkhart) is so
explosive on offense that you have to be able to run some clock and have
some success doing it, you can’t just do it, you gotta have success doing
so,” Snyder said. “Running the ball hadn’t been a strength of ours
throughout the year, but we kind of found some things. Linemen relish
running the ball and took that to heart and told me ‘coach, we can do this’
and they did.”
“We were gonna run
it as much as we could, but then you still gotta mix it up. No. 99 (Penn
State commit and defensive end Rodney McGraw) is a difference maker and
forces you to not run his way and then they do great things opposite of
Colby Bullock was
the bellcow for the Trojans with 16 carries for 139 yards and a touchdown,
adding 17 yards on three catches.
“The game plan was
to slow them down a little bit, keep the ball in our hands and try to run
the clock and put some points on the board,” Bullock said. “I don’t think we
were meant to be in that game based on where Elkhart was ranked and all
that, but we played really well as a team. We knew how good they were and we
knew were underdogs coming in and we just wanted to do our best.
“It’s a real tough
one to swallow. We’ve never won a sectional before, so it’s kind of a loss
for words to get that close.”
Snyder said Bullock
is someone that Chesterton might have to find a way to feature more next
year in what will be his senior season.
Also standing out
for the Trojans was receiver Jackson Westmoreland (six catches for 66 yards)
and Patrick McLaughlin (two interceptions).
On a team that
potentially returns quarterback Chris Mullen, Westmoreland, and Ethan Troy,
among others, the Trojans could be poised to make that next step in 2021.
“We have a nice
balance of kids coming back,” Snyder said. “As disappointed as I am for the
seniors, I guarantee our juniors are gonna be getting ready to go. It’s
tough to replace great character kids, but hopefully our program is about
building character and stepping on the field and giving our team a chance to
“It’s what coach
Pete has preached and he’s changed the culture here because at one point it
wasn’t as good as it needed to be. You change culture with great character
kids and weed out ones that don’t go along and if you gotta dwindle then you
do, but you go with the kids that you trust.”
CHESTERTON, Colby Bullock 16-139, Chris Mullen 13-21, Ethan Troy 2-10, Ethan
Pickering 2-3. ELKHART, Derrick Woods 34-214, Cameron Wiltfong 10-28, Jaiven
Sharp 2-10, Tyren Mason 2-0.
CHESTERTON, Mullen 9-22-1-83. ELKHART, Wiltfong 4-10-2-64.
CHESTERTON, Jackson Westmoreland 6-66, Bullock 3-17. ELKHART, Donovan
Johnson 1-38, Donye Higgins 1-20, Woods 2-6.