Chesterton Tribune

 
 

Undefeated Trojans face Portage for Homecoming tonight

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By TR HARLAN

Interesting.

That’s the first word that comes to mind when thinking about Friday night’s Homecoming Showdown between the Chesterton Trojans and the Portage Indians.

The Trojans have dominated everyone on their schedule on their way to a perfect 5-0 start. Portage has struggled to a 1-4 record.

Should be easy. Should’ve been last year too.

“You would think so,” Chesterton coach John Snyder said. “But, I’ve not been as happy this week as I was last week with our practices and our preparation. It’s a little disappointing at this point of the season with how well we’ve been playing that we don’t always come with the mindset of getting better.

“We have an ultimate goal that is much bigger than this, so we shouldn’t ever rest on being good enough.”

Last year, the Trojans had won three straight games, including a victory over Valparaiso, when they headed to Portage and lost.

“Last year is a prime example of what can happen if you don’t do what you’re supposed to,” Snyder said. “It’s not so much a let down as it is not realizing that Portage has some very talented kids. You have to respect that and regardless of their record, they can beat you.”

The biggest threat to the Trojans on Friday night will be the blinding speed the Indians possess.

“Defensively, their speed allows them to prevent the big play,” Snyder said. “They’ve given up a little bit here and there, but it causes you to have to sustain drives and be efficient. Offensively, they’ve got three guys faster then anybody we have on defense.

“We’ll have to be solid, good and fundamentally sound.”

A fast start by the Trojans would also go a long way toward a victory.

“A good start will be huge for us,” Snyder said. “Last year, we moved the ball all over the field against them and didn’t score any touchdowns. When you play a team that’s struggled some, you can’t give them a reason to get excited and stay in the game. We did that last year and we got beat late.”

Offensively, the Trojans were able to get on the perimeter with their running game and quick passing game last week against Valparaiso. This week, it may be more of a smash-mouth effort.

“When you play a team with great speed, you’re better off running right at them,“ Snyder said. “We have to prove we can do that anyway. I think we’ll have to keep three fullbacks in the rotation and maybe see Chris (Katsafaros) like we did last week, if they give us that. We’ll have to do what we do and get off the ball better.

Defensively, the Trojans have an ultra-aggressive defense that has only given up 900 yards of offense through five games (180 per game).

“The difficult thing about Portage is that they find a weakness and attack it differently each week,” Snyder said. “(Portage head coach) Wally (McCormick) has a big bag of tricks, so to speak, and we just can’t over-pursue. We are very aggressive to the point of attack, but our backside people have to stay at home. If Portage makes a cut or bounces off a tackle into an opening, they’re gone.”

McCormick, a former Trojan assistant, will be returning to Chesterton as a head coach for the first time.

“Wally’s a great coach and master motivator,” Snyder said. “He’ll use anything he can to get his kids going and ready to play hard Friday night. He knows there is talent there and now they just have to overcome some of the little things and put it all together. They are more than capable of beating anybody, including us.”

 

 

 Posted 9/21/2012