Somebody forgot to send the script to Merrillville.
The Chesterton football team turned the ball over five times and dropped
45-21 season-ending decision to Merrillville in the IHSAA Sectional
semifinals on Friday night.
“This just wasn’t our night,” Chesterton coach John Snyder said. “You get to
this point in the season and you can’t turn the ball over. That’s what
happened tonight. They only lost to two teams all year. One was us and one
was Warren Central.
“Tonight, they did to us what they’ve done to everybody all year.”
Everything looked good at that start as the Trojan defense forced a
three-and-out by the Pirates and took over at their own 43-yard line.
A 45-yard pass from Chris Katsafaros to Mitch Kobitz on Chesterton’s second
offensive play set up an eventual one-yard touchdown run by Katsafaros for a
Merrillville responded with an eight-play, 77-yard drive that culminated in
a Bryant Isabell one-yard run to tie the score at 7-7 after on quarter of
After the teams traded turnovers, the Pirates put together another eight
play drive that Isabell capped off with a three-yard run.
Chesterton would tie the score later in the quarter when Katsafaros found
Joe Troop down the middle of the field for a 72-yard touchdown. Katsafaros
finished 17-of-25 through the air for 258 yards, but did throw three
“(Merrillville) did a couple things differently from the first game and
mainly they just didn’t over-commit on defense,” Snyder said. “They did once
early and we hit a big play. After that, they played just stayed back and
kept things in front of them.”
Merrillville took control of the game late in the second quarter as
quarterback Jake Raspopovich engineered a 14-play drive that resulted in a
25-yard field goal from Matt Warren.
After forcing a three-and-out by the Chesterton offense, the Pirates got a
one-yard touchdown run by Raspopovich with .7 second left in the half for a
24-14 lead at the break.
“It was disappointing how the half ended, but we were still in the game,”
Snyder said. “We had the ball and went three-and-out. Then it just got away
The Pirates would get third quarter touchdowns on a three-yard pass from
Raspopovich to Joey Cowser and an 80-yard run by Dylon Collins. Both came
off following interceptions.
The final Merrillville score came on a five-yard TD run by Raspopovich early
in the fourth quarter.
“We over-pursued on defense being to aggressive sometimes,” Snyder said. “We
went after them a little more with some blitzes and they hit some screen
stuff on us. And we didn’t tackle well.”
Katsafaros added a 12-yard touchdown run with 5:40 to play, but it was too
little, too late for a magical comeback.
“I said it at mid-season and I still feel like it today,” Snyder said. “I am
so proud to take the field with this team each and every week. We gave it
everything we had and tonight it just wasn’t enough. Everything this year
with the senior class has been tough because it was always a last time doing
something with them.
“This is the last of all of them and that’s what’s hard.”
First Downs 19 17
Rushes-yards 36-134 37-218
Passing yards 258 247
Comp-Att-Int 17-25-3 18-29-1
Total Yards 392 465
Penalties-yards 3-25 9-55
Punts-avg. 5-33.4 4-34.8
Fumbles-lost 4-2 2-0
Chesterton 7 7 0 7 -- 21
Merrillville 7 17 14 7 -- 45
C -- Chris Katsafaros 1 run (Nate Needham kick)
M -- Bryant Isabell 1 run (Matt Warren kick)
M -- Isabell 2 run (Warren kick)
C -- Joe Troop 72 pass from Katsafaros (Needham kick)
M -- Warren 25 fg
M -- Jake Raspopovich 1 run (Warren kick)
M -- Joey Cowser 3 pass from Raspopovich (Warren kick)
M -- Dylon Collins 80 run (Warren kick)
M -- Raspopovich 5 run (Warren kick)
C -- Katsafaros
12 run (Chris Pabon kick)