Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Trojans to face No. 1 Penn for Football Sectional Title

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By TR HARLAN

Someone has to be the first.

The Chesterton football team will try to bring home the first Sectional Championship in school history as they travel east to take on Class 6A No. 1 Penn tonight.

Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. (Chesterton time)

“It’s a real big deal especially with the new 6A classification,” Chesterton coach Mark Peterson said. “It’s an exciting time. I know people are picking us to lose and I don’t mind having the David vs. Goliath mentality.

“We truly believe that we can not only compete, but win this game if we play the way we are capable of.”

The Kingsmen are 10-0 with two victories over Portage and one each over Valparaiso and South Bend St. Joseph’s. The Trojans lost to all three of those teams during the regular season.

“How are we going to match-up with a program of this caliber?” Peterson said. “We truly believe we aren’t walking into this like a 4-6 team, but more of a team that could be a 7-3 or 8-2 team. Limit some turnovers in several of those games and our record could look very different. We beat ourselves in a lot of those games, but never did we think we were getting handled by somebody.

“We know that it was what we were doing wrong that was the problem.”

The Trojans will continue to play ‘revolving door’ at running back as Avery Beeks and Tyler Gillespie will be sidelined on Friday night. That means Colin McEuen and Jon Horvath, along with quarterback Cole Teal, will be counted on heavily.

“We’ve had the revolving door at running back and the next guy has to step up,” Peterson said. “Next man up is the motto the senior class has had all year and last week we saw a great performance from Colin. Cole has been a focal point for us this year as the go-to guy and at times he’s pressed and maybe tried too hard to make some plays. Last week he showed how well he can play when he lets it come to him.”

No matter who carries the ball, the load of the offense falls on the shoulders of the offensive line.

“Across the board, we go as our offensive line goes,” Peterson said. “Against Valpo, we really executed up front and dominated play in those positions.”

They will have their work cut out for them with an aggressive Penn defense that is really talented in the front seven. The Kingsmen have allowed just 39 points through 10 games.

“They have a really good nucleus up front and do some nice things,” Peterson said. “Their linebackers are really aggressive and we need to take advantage of that. They’ve shut out five of their 10 opponents.

“We’ll stay within a game plan similar to the regular season. We will continue to use the option game to our advantage as we have throughout the season particularly in those games that we won.”

Defensively, the Trojans will focus on quarterback Zachary Oakley who rushed for 183 yards and two touchdowns against Portage last week.

“We have to take the ball out of the quarterback’s hands,” Peterson said. “How he goes, they go. That’s the primary focus for us. He’s got a great arm and they throw the ball down the field, but if we can get pressure and throw off his timing we’ll have a great chance to limit their passing game.”

The Trojan defense has come under fire at times this season, but has played very well after replacing 10 of 11 starters from the previous year.

“The unfortunate thing for our defense is that offensively we put them in some really bad positions deep in our own territory,” Peterson said. “Last week, we didn’t do that and they played great. They’ve held strong in some of those situations and you have to give Coach McCoy, his staff and the kids a lot of credit.”

The determining factor may come on two fronts Friday night Ð the start and special teams.

“The tempo of the ballgame will be set early on and we need to be the one that establishes that,” Peterson said. “If we give ourselves a chance to move the ball and score some points early, that would be huge. It’s not something that has to happen because it will be a tough four-quarter game. If we can withstand early momentum swings, create a couple of turnovers, we’ll give ourselves a great shot at getting a win.

“I love our attitude, no matter how the game has started, we believe we are going to win.”

On special teams, the Kingsmen have made a living in the past scoring and changing field position with big plays.

“We’ve been working on the special teams this week a lot in practice,” Peterson said. “We need to turn up the pressure and execute at the highest level because those groups could play a defining part in the outcome of the game.”

 

 

Posted 11/1/2013