Chesterton Tribune

Making believers: Trojans beat Crown Point 20-7; Chesterton football earns share of Duneland Conference Title

Back to Front Page

 

 
 

 

 

By TR HARLAN

Nobody believed it.

Without quarterback Aaron Knight, there was little chance the 7th-ranked Chesterton Trojans would beat two-time defending league champion Crown Point on the road.

But, nobody convinced John Snyder, Andy Miller and the rest of the Trojans.

Chesterton scored touchdowns on its first two possessions and rode another stellar defensive performance to a 20-7 victory and a guaranteed share of the Duneland Athletic Conference title.

“What I did was decide to go back to the option and do it program-wide,” coach John Snyder said of his summertime decision to leave the spread offense of the previous four years. “I just decided we were going to go back to something I felt comfortable with and we were going to get really good at it. I wanted to put us in a position to win.”

And that certainly has happened.

The Trojans forced a three-and-out on Crown Point’s first possession of the game and turned the offense over to Miller in his first career start at the CHS 10-yard line.

After a pair of runs by Sloane Malay up the middle, Snyder emphatically told Miller to keep the ball on the option around the left end and the senior scampered for 52 yards.

“The play he ran was the play I called before and he changed it at the line,” Snyder said. “So I called the same play again and yelled at him not to change it.”

That appeared to calm Miller down and sent the Trojans on a 10-play, 90-yard drive that resulted in Ryan Knarian’s 17-yard run and a 6-0 lead.

“I came into here nervous, but once I got settled into pre-game they went away a little,” Miller said. “After that first big run, everything went away and I felt like Aaron Knight for a second running there.”

“For a kid to come into his first varsity start in a game that really was for the conference championship, I couldn’t be more proud of a young man than I am of Andy Miller,” Snyder said. “He did what we needed him to do to win.”

Another three-and-out from the defense on a great tackle from Greg Nowak on fourth and one gave the Trojans the ball back at their own 49-yard line.

Chesterton put together another touchdown drive this time that took seven plays and covered 51 yards. The big play was a 36-yard completion from Miller to Phil Frech. Frank Raudry pounded the ball in from one yard out for a 13-0 lead.

“Andy made some great throws in the first half,” Snyder said. “When Aaron was out there we ran plays for him. Tonight, we ran some plays where the intent of it was different. Andy does a nice job of reading and we showed the rest of the guys that we can win with him in there.”

The Trojans would put a huge touchdown on the board just before the end of the first half as John Thanos blocked a punt and Cheserton took over at the CP 13-yard line. Raudry again scored from one yard out for a 20-0 lead at the half.

“I think the first half my performance was pretty strong,” Miller said. “I heard about Aaron last Saturday and I couldn’t study or sleep or anything this week. I was shaking all day at school. After that first run, it felt like going through practice.

“The way coach (Snyder) lined us up, everything was exactly the way he said it would be and we took advantage of it.”

The Trojans racked up 201 yards of offense in the first half, while the defense allowed Crown Point just 28 yards of offense through two quarters.

“Our defense and our seniors played an outstanding game,” Snyder said. “It’s great to watch our defense come up and make big plays for us. We talked all week about ‘defense wins championships.’

“The last four weeks, the defense has been unbelievable.”

Crown Point finally got on the scoreboard with a 7-play, 35-yard drive as Marcus Shrewsbury scored on a 5-yard scamper.

“Our defense was great,” Miller said. “They only gave up one score and that was my fault because I couldn’t get a drive going.”

The Chesterton offense struggled in the second half with just 48 yards of offense, but had a stingy defense to make big plays.

“I was really disappointed that we couldn’t get a couple of first downs and run the clock out ourselves,” Snyder said. “We have to get better at that. We tried to get our offense together on the sideline in the second half to get things going.

“Other than they just played harder, I didn’t think Crown Point did anything different to stop us. We just were shooting ourselves in the foot.”

Crown Point threatened to get back in the game when on a third down and two at the Chesterton 11-yard line, David Raffin dragged Shrewsbury down by the jersey. On fourth down, an incomplete pass ended the threat.

“We can’t put our defense in that type of situation,” Snyder said. “The defense stepped up and made some huge plays. David Raffin grabbed Shrewsbury by the shirt or they may score. Frank Raudry had some monster hits and plays. Those types of things are huge.”

Miller led the Trojans’ ground game with 79 yards on eight carries and also completed 5-of-9 passes for 75 yards.

“To finally get out here and play after four years, this is the greatest night of my life,” Miller said.

C CP

First Downs 9 5

Net Yards Rushing 174 75

Net Yards Passing 75 67

Total Yards Gained 249 142

Passes att/comp/int 9/5/75 13/6/67

Fumbles/lost 1/0 2/2

Penalties/yds. 5/34 3/25

Punts/avg. 5/39.8 3/46.5

SCORING BY QUARTERS

Chesterton 6 14 0 0 -- 20

Crown Point 0 0 7 0 -- 7

INDIVIDUAL SCORING

C – Ryan Knarian 17 run (kick failed)

C – Frank Raudry 1 run (Kyle Schmidt kick)

C – Raudry 1 run (Schmidt kick)

CP – Marcus Shrewsbury 5 run (Mike Lipton kick)

 

Posted 10/13/2008