Behind a big-play
passing attack and ferocious pass rush, Merrillville overwhelmed Chesterton
on Friday night 34-10 in each teams’ final tune-up before sectionals.
“We just had too
many miscues,” Chesterton coach Mark Peterson said. “Both on defense and
offense and even on special teams -- we were able to get a field goal
through but there were some miscues there, too. From that perspective,
that’s a darn good football team (in Merrillville) and hats off to them,
coach (Brad) Seiss is doing a great job.”
quarterback Angel Nelson completed 10-of-12 passes for 295 yards and three
touchdowns -- two of which went for 50-plus yards.
JoJo Johnson led
the Pirates dynamic receiving corps with five catches for 125 yards,
followed by Paris Hewlett’s four for 88 yards and Marcus Hardy Jr.’s two
catches and 87 yards. All three had touchdowns for the Pirates (7-1, 5-0
Duneland Athletic Conference), who racked up 444 total yards.
“They have some
dudes,” Peterson said. “Having a group of players as speedy and talented as
they are, that makes you have to be at a higher level of execution. I felt
like we had some opportunities and while it was 34-10, we could have had 17,
20 points if we took advantage of some situations that we didn’t.
the best team we played all year, in a variety of ways. For us to still walk
out of this thing with an understanding of where we’re at and where we need
to improve, I feel good about our guys, but we can’t sit back and be
satisfied by any means. We gotta raise the level of expectation amongst
ourselves, both offensively and defensively.”
The Trojans (4-4,
4-2) scored their lone touchdown in the third quarter when Chris Mullen
connected with Colby Bullock for a 24-yard TD. Bullock had eight catches for
62 yards and was matched in yardage by Mitch McElfresh whose lone catch set
up Jackson Syren’s 21-yard field goal in the first quarter. Jackson
Westmoreland added four grabs for 60 yards.
While Mullen threw
for 233 yards, the junior struggled to find a rhythm for much of the night
as the Pirates racked up eight sacks -- including five from Bowling Green
commit Dierre Kelly.
“Mullen’s a great
player,” Merrillville coach Brad Seiss said. “Not only does he hit his spots
and make his throws, on top of that he’s kind of (Ben) Roethlisberger-esque
in the way he’s moving around, but his eyes are up. That puts a lot of
pressure on the cover guys because they gotta cover longer.”
have next Friday off before hosting Penn (5-4) in the first round of
sectionals on Oct. 30.
“We really gotta
focus on the little things,” Peterson said. “Penn is gonna be solid across
the board -- they’re gonna be disciplined, have great execution, take care
of the ball -- all of those things. Watching from afar and seeing stats,
(quarterback Ronnie) Powlus has been doing a really good job down the
All four of Penn’s
losses have come to teams ranked in the top five of their respective classes
-- three of which were by less than four points.
SCORING BY QUARTERS
Merrillville 13 0 7
14 -- 34
Chesterton 3 0 7 0
M -- Lavarion Logan
2 run (Austin Pupek kick), 9:35
C -- Jackson Syren
21 field goal, 6:48
M -- Paris Hewlett
11 pass from Angel Nelson (Kick missed), 5:17
C -- Colby Bullock
24 pass from Chris Mullen (Jackson Syren kick), 7:33
M -- JoJo Johnson
56 pass from Nelson (Pupek kick), 5:47
M -- Logan 2 run (Pupek
M -- Marcus Hardy
Jr. 61 pass from Nelson (Pupek kick), 2:48
First Downs 12 10
Passing Yards 295
Total Yards 444 263
MERRILLVILLE, Paris Hewlett 5-76, Lavarion Logan 20-59, Phillip Roche 2-10,
JoJo Johnson 2-4, Angel Nelson 3-0. CHESTERTON, Chris Mullen 15-18, Ethan
MERRILLVILLE, Nelson 10-12-0-295. CHESTERTON, Mullen 18-37-1-233.
MERRILLVILLE, Johnson 4-125, Hewlett 4-88, Marcus Hardy Jr. 2-87.
CHESTERTON, Colby Bullock 8-62, Mitch McElfresh 1-62, Jackson Westmoreland
4-60, Ethan Troy 3-30, Ethan Pickering 2-19.