Chesterton Tribune



Turnover bug bites Trojan Football in season opener

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Chesterton coach Mark Peterson put it simply following his team’s first game against Hobart: “How do you win with that many turnovers?”

Despite holding Hobart to 157 total yards, Chesterton was done in by five turnovers (three interceptions and two fumbles) and thus found itself on the wrong side of the scoreboard, falling 24-10.

“It’s been a crazy year with preparation, all of that stuff, it’s a factor for everybody,” Peterson said. “Both teams had miscues on offense, Game One blues. They always say the greatest gains are between game one and two.

“At the end of the day, it’s still football and we turned it over too many times and doing so, the defense wore out. The kids did really well and the defensive staff always does an awesome job. We just couldn’t get it put away.”

Chesterton (0-1) was strong out of the gate with a 12-play drive that took nearly seven minutes off the first quarter clock, punctuated by a two-yard sneak by junior quarterback Chris Mullen.

Mullen completed 18-of-31 passes for 165 yards and three interceptions as the Trojans’ air raid attack gets used to life without its top receivers from last year, Jake Warren and Ben Slatcoff.

Colby Bullock led the team in receiving yards with 51 on six catches. Ethan Troy added three grabs for 48 and Mitch McElfresh snagged five passes for 44 yards.

“We started a couple guys who were backups last year, it was their first starts,” Peterson said. “I thought Steve (Cunningham) did a couple really good things. If the first interception doesn’t get tipped (in the first quarter), that would’ve been a touchdown.

“We game planned based on what we saw from their defense to run some checkdowns. We feel great about the receivers we have. We don’t have a 4.5 40-yard dash guy, even Ben and Jake weren’t 4.5 guys, but they were great receivers. The kids are going to grow and develop as we progress here.”

Hobart coach Craig Osika said playing Duneland Athletic Conference schools like Chesterton, and then Merrillville, lets him and his team know where they really are early in the season.

“Chesterton’s a good team, it’s tough to play a passing offense in the first game, especially with some new guys who haven’t played before,” Osika said. “We told them at halftime it was a war of attrition and anybody’s game. We preached all week that the team that makes the fewest mistakes, is more physical, and more disciplined, is probably going to win.

“It could’ve easily swung their way. It helps having guys like Zach (Vode), Riley (Johnston) and Bobby (Babcock), especially when not where we want to be. They all made big plays.”

Vode, a Western Michigan commit, caught a 25-yard TD from Johnston and added two interceptions -- one of which he returned 97 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

“(Mullen) dropped back, I saw him turn his hips and was looking right at him,” Vode said. “He threw it and as soon as the ball was tipped, I was lunging after it. There was a guy right there that touched me a little bit, but as soon as I got away from him I tried to go as fast as I could.”

Peterson was more than impressed with the 6-foot-3, 210 lb. Vode.

“That pass went off (Jackson) Westmoreland, it wasn’t an errant throw,” Peterson said. “That was just a heck of a play by Zach. That’s why he’s going to Western.”

Chesterton will hit the road next week, travelling about an hour and 45 minutes to Royal Center to take on small-school power, Pioneer.

“We picked up Gavit, for about three days, and had a feeling that was going to happen (with Hammond closing), so we had some dialogue with people,” Peterson said. “We reached out to Guerin Catholic, Decatur Central, Center Grove and Warren Central. Pioneer got back to us in a half hour.”

Jackson Syren had a 27-yard field goal for the Trojans.

Hobart 24, Chesterton 10



Hobart 0 3 7 14 -- 24

Chesterton 7 0 0 3 -- 10


C -- Chris Mullen 2 run (Jackson Syren kick)

H -- Miki Djankovich 26 field goal

H -- Zach Vode 25 pass from Riley Johnston (Djankovich kick)

H -- Vode 97 interception return (Djankovich kick)

C -- Syren 27 field goal

H -- Marc Enslen 4 run (Djankovich kick)



First Downs 8 17

Rushes-Yards 38-131 33-76

Passing 2-11-0 18-31-3

Passing Yards 26 165

Total Yards 157 231

Penalties-Yards 6-46 4-20

Fumbles-Lost 1-1 2-2


RUSHING -- HOBART, Enslen 20-84, Bobby Babcock 6-30, Riley Johnston 10-24, Vode 2-(-7). CHESTERTON, Colby Bullock 11-32, Ethan Troy 5-25, Mullen 15-11, Jackson Westmoreland 1-5, Mitch McElfresh 1-3.

PASSING -- HOBART, Johnston 2-11-0-26. CHESTERTON, Mullen 18-31-3-165.

RECEIVING -- HOBART, Vode 2-26. CHESTERTON, Bullock 6-51, Troy 3-48, McElfresh 5-44, Westmoreland 3-26, Steven Cunningham 1-4



Posted 8/24/2020




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