Chesterton QB Mullen puts on a show in win over LaPorte
By CJ PETERS
LAPORTE – Already possessing some of the best ‘arm talent’ in the Region, Chesterton junior quarterback Chris Mullen showed he's more than just a big right arm on Friday.
“He’s for sure a dual threat, he can hurt you in and out of the pocket,” LaPorte coach Jeremy Lowery said. “He’s a very nifty runner and a very nice looking football player.”
Mullen’s full arsenal was displayed to the tune of six total touchdowns – three passing and three rushing – in a 45-21 Duneland Athletic Conference win over the Slicers at Kiwanis Field.
“He was exceptional, no question about it,” Chesterton coach Mark Peterson said. “This kind of game is what we’ve known about Chris. He had a couple games last year like this one, some breakout-type game;
“His ceiling is unlimited right now and we still see Chris as being in the developmental stages, too, so that’s exciting to see what he did. When he’s getting 80 yards on the ground, too, that certainly helps.”
In total, Mullen was 14-for-23 for 277 yards and ran for 88 more. His highlight reel 44-yard run in the second was part of a string of 31 unanswered points by the Trojans, with Mullen ducking four LaPorte tackles before taking off up the middle.
“We didn’t punt in the first half, so we were able to keep the defense off the field and keep them in good positions,” Mullen said. “We’ve been practicing all week getting it into our heads about not slowing down. I think we did a really good job of that tonight and I’m proud of the guys
“LaPorte’s a good team and it’s a DAC team, so they’re gonna be tough. If we can keep our defense in good positions and put the ball in the end zone, we’ll be solid going forward.”
Mullen connected with Jackson Westmoreland for eight and 66 yards in the first half, and finished with a 25-yard toss to Colby Bullock in the fourth.
“When we couldn’t work on the physical part of things in the winter, we were working on the mental stuff,” Mullen said.
Chesterton's Chris Mullen accounted for six touchdowns in Friday's win over La Porte. (Photo by Jay Anglin)
“The receivers and I are all really tight. We almost know what we’re doing before it even happens.
“It’s just understanding what is happening each play, and that has been big. Stuff we’ve been working on in practice is working in the games, and that’s good to see.”
Westmoreland led the Trojans (2-2, 2-0) with five catches for 124 yards. Bullock had six grabs for 115, adding nine carries for 46 yards. Bullock’s TD catch came on fourth and 15 as Mullen escaped the pocket, eventually finding Bullock who powered his way the last five yards.
“If you’re gonna go throw the ball, you better be able to get yourself open in a scramble set,” Peterson said. “We work on that. That’s a situation where you certainly wanna be able to get the ball downfield, but if Chris is tucking and running, we’ve been turning and blocking.
“From that perspective, guys are clicking together really well. That’s gonna be key for us to win football games throughout the season.”
Collin Bergquist toted it 25 times for 146 yards and two touchdowns for the Slicers (0-4, 0-2). Jayden Parkes had two catches for 82 yards – with 80 coming on a fourth quarter TD from Jack McGuire – also running nine times for 41 yards.
“He’s a horse, a really good player,” Lowery said of Bergquist. “We gotta get the ball in his hands any way we can. It complements our normal packages pretty well when we run direct snap to him.”
For a team still searching for win No. 1, Lowery said the message is to keep building.
“We do some really good things and then turn around and self-destruct at times,” he said. “We gotta be more consistent and stop shooting ourselves in the foot. The turnover ratio is still beating us up.
“We’re disappointed obviously but we’ve made some serious strides. We can’t blink and we gotta go back to work, that’s all we can do.”
Chesterton's Jackson Westmoreland breaks loose behind Robbie Kiner on a 66-yard touchdown reception in Friday's Duneland Athletic Conference game. (Photo by Jay Anglin)
Chesterton 45, LaPorte 21
Chesterton 14 21 3 7 – 45
LaPorte 7 0 0 14 – 21
C – Jackson Westmoreland 8 pass from Chris Mullen (Jackson Syren kick), 9:36
LP – Collin Bergquist 56 run (Jack Doty kick), 7:43
C – Mullen 8 run (Syren kick), 4:24
C – Mullen 44 run (Syren kick), 10:43
C – Mullen 2 run (Syren kick), 8:20
C – Westmoreland 66 pass from Mullen (Syren kick), 5:45
C – Syren 27 field goal, 6:24
LP – Bergquist 1 run (Doty kick), 11:44
C – Colby Bullock 25 pass from Mullen (Syren kick), 6:41
LP – Jayden Parkes 80 pass from Jack McGuire (Doty kick), 6:31
RUSHING – CHESTERTON, Chris Mullen 12-88, Colby Bullock 9-46, Bryce Thoma 3-17, Ethan Pickering 5-16, Ethan Troy 2-4. LAPORTE, Collin Bergquist 25-146, Jayden Parkes 9-45, Jeremiah Ruiz 2-2, RJ Anglin 4-1, Jamaal Salary 2-(-2).
PASSING – CHESTERTON, Mullen 16-23-0-277. LAPORTE, Anglin 3-10-1-52, Jack McGuire 1-1-0-80.
RECEIVING – CHESTERTON, Jackson Westmoreland 5-124, Bullock 6-115, Troy 2-30, Mitch McElfresh 1-8. LAPORTE, Parkes 2-82, Grant Ott-Large 1-40, Evan Cizewski 1-10.