How much of a grind was Friday night’s 24-17 Homecoming victory over
Chesterton coach John Snyder didn’t even know his son had scored the
“He did,” Snyder said after being informed that AJ had scored the
game-winner. “I couldn’t see anything from where I was. I thought it was a
safety. I’m happy for him. But, I’d have been just as happy had it been
anybody at that point.”
The Trojans were much less than the dominant 5-0 team they’d been one week
earlier, but found a way to get it done.
“The hard part is that you feel awful after a win,” Snyder said. “Give
Portage a lot of credit for a great game. For most of the game, I thought
their defense outplayed our offense. Our defense bent a little bit, but kept
us in it. That’s what our hopes are. We’ve got a lot of guys on that side of
the ball that can make plays. They continue to do just that for us.”
With the game tied 17-17 and just 5:42 to play, the Trojans took over at
their own 37-yard line. After three running plays, Snyder elected to go for
it on fourth and one from his own 46.
“The kids found a way to get it done,” Snyder said. “I didn’t want to go for
it on that fourth down, but the kids wanted to and I’ll put it in their
The Trojans would end up punting with 1:52 to play, but Chris Katsafaros’
punt was down at the Portage 1-yard line.
“We came up with a big special teams play and field position play,” Snyder
said. “Give Jake (Andrews) a lot of credit for getting down there to down
it. If that ball goes in the end zone, that last touchdown never happens.”
One play later, Portage quarterback Gage Pearman mishandled a snap and
muffed the handoff to Hashim Simpson where AJ Snyder was waiting to recover
“We’re lucky,” Coach Snyder said. “They’re high school kids, but the
experience we have probably came through tonight. Nobody lost their
composure or doubted we would win. We were smacked in the face and got woken
“We probably needed that.”
Portage took an early 7-0 lead with a nine-yard touchdown run by Simpson.
The Indians controlled the clock with their ground game as they rushed the
ball 36 times for 142 yards.
Katsafaros evened the score on the final play of the first quarter as he
broke loose on a fourth and two play for 30 yards and a touchdown.
Katsafaros was the leader on the ground for the Trojans with 20 carries for
93 yards, while Jon Horvath rushed for 55 yards on 15 carries.
“We’ve been able to get some teams out of position for the most part,”
Snyder said. “Portage’s speed is so good, that they just don’t get out of
position and can recover when they do. I knew we weren’t going to break a
play and we had to be more physical up front.
“They were more physical than we were.”
Horvath’s one-yard touchdown run in the third quarter pushed the Trojans to
a 14-7 lead, but the Indians responded with a 10-yard TD pass from Pearman
to Rahsaan Coleman.
After trading field goals, Chesterton’s was a 38-yarder by Nate Needham,
both defenses dominated the fourth quarter, including the game-winning
“We have to move on,” Snyder said. “We had some leaders step up in the
huddle after the game and say we can’t let this happen. That’s what leaders
First Downs 17 10
Rushes-yards 36-156 42-186
Passing yards 134 31
Comp-Att-Int 10-17-0 3-10-1
Total Yards 290 217
Penalties-yards 9-65 7-52
Punts-avg. 3-29.7 5-31.2
Fumbles-lost 2-2 0-0
Portage 7 0 10 0 -- 17
Chesterton 7 0 10 7 -- 24
P -- Hashim Simpson 9 run (Nathan Johnson kick)
C -- Chris Katsafaros 30 run (Nate Needham kick)
C -- Jon Horvath 1 run (Needham kick)
P -- Rahsaan Coleman 10 pass from Gage Pearman (Johnson kick)
C -- Needham 38 FG
P -- Johnson 29 FG
C -- AJ Snyder fumble recovery (Needham kick)