Chesterton Tribune



CHS Football falls to No. 7 Merrillville

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It took a while, but the Chesterton football team solved the puzzle.

At least in part.

The Trojans dropped their Duneland Athletic Conference regular season finale 27-20 to Class 6A No. 7 Merrillville on Friday night.

“I’m really proud of our guys for the fight that we showed tonight,” Chesterton coach Mark Peterson said. “We haven’t seen a team like that with the size, speed and athleticism all year.”

Merrillville built a 6-0 lead in the first quarter and led 13-9 at the half, despite the Trojans having two possessions that reached the Pirates’ 1-yard line.

“That was frustrating,” Peterson said. “We felt like he got in on two of those plays. We’re all playing the same game, on the same field with the same people. It is what it is.

“Their pass rush in our face in the first half caught us off-guard and put us on our heels.”

The Trojans finally got on the scoreboard in the third quarter when Chris Mullen found Gunner Burkhart from 15 yards away to cap a five-play, 32-yard drive.

Merrillville immediately answered with a seven-play, 20-yard drive that was set-up by a 64-yard kickoff return for a 20-7 lead.

Following a Chesterton punt, the Pirates pushed the lead to 27-7 before Chesterton mounted a late comeback.

“With the explosiveness their offense has, it’s not realistic to think you’ll come in and shut them down,” Peterson said.

The Trojans needed just two play to cut the lead to 27-14 as Ben Slacoff caught a 21-yard pass from Mullen and then the sophomore QB found Jake Warren from 18 yards out for the touchdown. Seth Conway’s point-after-touchdown was good.

Chesterton blocked a punt on the ensuing possession and needed just six plays before Mullen found Colby Bullock in the end zone to cut the lead to 27-20.

“I thought Chris played a great game and made some great check downs,” Peterson said. “He made a great play to Colby for the touchdown in the corner. What a great catch and throw. Jake (Warren) and Ben (Slatcoff) did some nice things too.”

Mullen completed 20-of-42 passes for 289 yards and three touchdowns. Bryce Pickering caught seven passes for 77 yards with Bullock catching four passes for 80 yards. Slatcoff made six receptions for 73 yards and Warren tallied two catches for 44 yards.

The Trojans finished the regular season 6-3 overall.

“This is about six months of buy-in,” Peterson said. “We went through a really tough offseason with a lot of soul searching and tough conversations. When you look at the growth and development of the seniors and the way our juniors and sophomores have bought in, you feel so good about how we’ve closed up that gap.

“One of my true beliefs is team, team, team. The strength of the team will carry the pack. We have a ton of guys that are really trying to win for each other and that’s huge.”

Chesterton will open IHSAA Class 6A Sectional play on Friday, Nov. 1 at home against Warsaw. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

“Monday it’s back to work to get ready for Warsaw. They are a great team and they’ll be geared up to play,” Peterson said. “We’ll have to be ready to go in two weeks at home.”

Merrillville 27, Chesterton 20



First Downs 15 12

Rushes-Yards 22-2 33-238

Passing 20-42-1 9-14-0

Passing Yards 289 91

Total Yards 291 319

Penalties-Yards 3-30 14-98

Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0


Chesterton 0 0 7 13 -- 20

Merrillville 6 7 0 14 -- 27


M -- Schultz 3 run (kick failed)

M -- Rodriguez 74 run (Pupek kick)

C -- Gunner Burkhart 15 pass from Chris Mullen (Seth Conway kick)

M -- Rodriguez 5 run (Pupek kick)

M -- Schultz 10 run (Pupek kick)

C -- Jake Warren 18 pass from Mullen (Conway kick)

C -- Colby Bullock 25 pass from Mullen (kick failed)




Posted 10/21/2019




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