It took a while,
but the Chesterton football team solved the puzzle.
At least in part.
The Trojans dropped
their Duneland Athletic Conference regular season finale 27-20 to Class 6A
No. 7 Merrillville on Friday night.
“I’m really proud
of our guys for the fight that we showed tonight,” Chesterton coach Mark
Peterson said. “We haven’t seen a team like that with the size, speed and
athleticism all year.”
a 6-0 lead in the first quarter and led 13-9 at the half, despite the
Trojans having two possessions that reached the Pirates’ 1-yard line.
frustrating,” Peterson said. “We felt like he got in on two of those plays.
We’re all playing the same game, on the same field with the same people. It
is what it is.
“Their pass rush in
our face in the first half caught us off-guard and put us on our heels.”
The Trojans finally
got on the scoreboard in the third quarter when Chris Mullen found Gunner
Burkhart from 15 yards away to cap a five-play, 32-yard drive.
immediately answered with a seven-play, 20-yard drive that was set-up by a
64-yard kickoff return for a 20-7 lead.
Chesterton punt, the Pirates pushed the lead to 27-7 before Chesterton
mounted a late comeback.
explosiveness their offense has, it’s not realistic to think you’ll come in
and shut them down,” Peterson said.
The Trojans needed
just two play to cut the lead to 27-14 as Ben Slacoff caught a 21-yard pass
from Mullen and then the sophomore QB found Jake Warren from 18 yards out
for the touchdown. Seth Conway’s point-after-touchdown was good.
a punt on the ensuing possession and needed just six plays before Mullen
found Colby Bullock in the end zone to cut the lead to 27-20.
“I thought Chris
played a great game and made some great check downs,” Peterson said. “He
made a great play to Colby for the touchdown in the corner. What a great
catch and throw. Jake (Warren) and Ben (Slatcoff) did some nice things too.”
20-of-42 passes for 289 yards and three touchdowns. Bryce Pickering caught
seven passes for 77 yards with Bullock catching four passes for 80 yards.
Slatcoff made six receptions for 73 yards and Warren tallied two catches for
finished the regular season 6-3 overall.
“This is about six
months of buy-in,” Peterson said. “We went through a really tough offseason
with a lot of soul searching and tough conversations. When you look at the
growth and development of the seniors and the way our juniors and sophomores
have bought in, you feel so good about how we’ve closed up that gap.
“One of my true
beliefs is team, team, team. The strength of the team will carry the pack.
We have a ton of guys that are really trying to win for each other and
open IHSAA Class 6A Sectional play on Friday, Nov. 1 at home against Warsaw.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
“Monday it’s back
to work to get ready for Warsaw. They are a great team and they’ll be geared
up to play,” Peterson said. “We’ll have to be ready to go in two weeks at