That’s not the way you want to count if the smallest number is points.
The Chesterton football team was called for nine penalties, turned the ball
over eight times and scored just seven points as they dropped their regular
season finale at Merrillville 31-7 on Friday night.
“We had way too many missed opportunities,” Chesterton coach Mark Peterson
said. “Eight turnovers is at least seven missed chances. We overthrew some
receivers. We dropped some balls.
“We’re at that point where we have to come out of this tailspin and find a
way to give ourselves a chance to win a ballgame.”
Merrillville opened the game’s scoring with a three-yard touchdown run by DJ
Wilkins, but the extra point try missed wide left.
The Trojans’ fumbled the ensuing kickoff, but an interception by Jaycee
Jensen gave the ball back to CHS.
The offense then put together a 7-play, 50-yard drive that culminated in an
11-yard touchdown run by quarterback Cole Teal as the second quarter began.
Nate Needham’s extra point put the Trojans on top 7-6.
After trading punts, the Pirates took over with 4:53 on the clock and moved
40 yards on 10 plays before Bryant Isabell scored from three yards away. The
two-point conversion failed and Merrillville led 12-7 at the break.
“Defensively, our kids really did a nice job,” Peterson said. “We sure
didn’t help them out offensively by giving them a short field to defend.
From that perspective, you have to be proud of the kids and the progression
they’ve made from week one to now.”
The Trojans came out of the locker room and put together their best drive of
the night with a 73-yard drive that took nearly six minutes off the clock,
but Teal’s fumble at the Merrillville 1-yard line into the end zone was
recovered by the Pirates.
“I think a lot of our turnovers are guys pressing to really make things
happen,” Peterson said. “We’re almost trying too hard sometimes and [need
to] just relax and take advantage of what’s given to us.”
After trading interceptions, Merrillville took advantage of another Trojan
fumble and capitalized.
Isabel carried the ball in from 15 yards away for a 19-7 lead. A Trojan
interception was followed by a 3-yard TD run by Tyrie Fuller.
Fuller also scored the game’s final touchdown on a 35-yard run to set the
The Trojans amassed just 269 yards of offense (133 rushing, 136 passing) and
turned the ball over on all six possessions in the second half (4
interceptions, 2 fumbles).
“We have to overcome some of this adversity and if we can do that I still
think we have an opportunity to do some good things,” Peterson said. “I’ve
got a great group of kids here.”
Chesterton will open IHSAA Sectional play on Friday night when they host the
Valparaiso Vikings with kickoff set for 7 p.m.
“We have to focus this week on us,” Peterson said. “We need to worry about
Chesterton Football and take care of the ball. Valpo will be ready and
they’ll play well. We have to do that too.”