Troy’s highlight interception propels Chesterton to Duneland win over MC
By CJ PETERS
CHESTERTON – Just how Ethan Troy drew it up, right? With Chesterton hanging on to a tenuous 14-13 lead Friday and Michigan City nearing midfield in the fourth quarter, the Trojans were looking to make another play defensively. Troy, a sophomore linebacker, ended up in the right place at the right time for the Trojans. The 6-foot, 185-pounder then turned into Odell Beckham, Jr. reaching up with one hand and snagging an interception out of the sky, halting a City drive. “I went up with the right hand and it kind of just came down and dropped into my hands,” Troy said. “It was a mixed coverage, Gage (DeMarco) and I were scrambling. We switched spots luckily and I dropped on the two, saw the ball, and just went up for it." The ensuing drive led to a Chesterton TD, proving to be all the insurance it needed in a 21-13 Duneland Athletic Conference win. “There was amazing energy on the sideline after that and people were telling me the TD was because of me, it was awesome,” Troy said. “It’s hard to get five turnovers in a game, so it’s opportunity and kind of luck at the same time. Some of those were just them needing to hold on to the ball a little better, but we were able to get our hands on them and we fed off of that.” Having lost to high-quality opponents in Hobart and Pioneer, Chesterton (1-2, 1-0) got a win it desperately needed. “It was crucial, especially from an energy and positivity standpoint,” Chesterton coach Mark Peterson said. "It was one of those opportunities for our defense to hang a feather in our hat. We gave up some stuff, but that’s a darn good offense. “Unfortunately, we gave up some points, but at the end of the day, we got some turnovers and created ourselves some opportunities, so that was huge for us.” Troy, who Peterson calls a ‘multi-spot performer,’ has seen time at the running back spots, starts at linebacker and according to Peterson, could probably play free safety, too. “That was a pretty darn athletic play,” Peterson said of the Troy interception. “We have not shied away from using him on both sides. He had a ton of reps the last couple weeks and this week we had the opportunity to keep the ball in Colby (Bullock’s) hands and from that, we didn’t need him offensively. “We needed him on defense and he really stepped up.” Peterson even referenced Gordie Lockbaum, one of the last full-time two-way players in college football, having starred at Holy Cross in the 1980s. “He’s an offensive talent. He can play any one of the three positions on offense to a strength,” Peterson said. "He’s an offensive performer, but right now he’s playing on defense and doing a really great job.” For Troy, who was playing only his third varsity game, he said the biggest difference has been that the hitting is ‘way, way harder.’ “I did alright my first game, in the second one, I didn’t do well at all,” he said. “In this game though, I came out and redeemed myself pretty well, at least I hope I did.” Patrick McLaughlin also came up big for Chesterton defensively, falling on a Jonathon Flemings fumble as City drove near the red zone with under two minutes to go in the game. Dane Snemis also had a pickoff and DeMarco had a fumble recovery. The Trojans also recovered a fumble on a short kickoff that was mishandled by the Wolves. “(Michigan City) scored 44 and 41 in its first two games, and we held them to 13,” Troy said. “That’s an awesome scoring offense and we were able to hold them up.” Chris Mullen threw for 210 yards and two scores, both coming in the first quarter, connecting with Bullock on a 2-yard touch pass and Jackson Westmoreland on a 12-yard corner route. Westmoreland had four catches for 88 yards, with Bullock totaling three catches for 63 and three carries for 30 yards.
“Offensively we saw the fruition of really what we worked on for the last six weeks,” Peterson said. “Jackson is really coming into his own and Colby is doing some nice things, too. I think Chris was pressing a little in the first couple weeks, and I only say that because he’s taken all the responsibility on his shoulders those weeks.
“When you throw the ball as much as we have, you need some opportunity and some time to get your timing and developing that, and I think we saw that (Friday). We talked about being focused, having fun and just flying around this week. There have been some mistakes, but we’ve tried to ignore that, get over those and accentuate and focus on the positives.”
Michigan City (2-1, 0-1) was paced by Jonathon Flemings, who ran for 14 times for 80 yards and two scores, adding six grabs for 65. Omarion Hatch ran nine times for 72 yards.
Giovani Laurent threw for 126 yards, adding 63 on the ground.
“Taking nothing away from Chesterton, it took advantage of what it needed to take advantage of and played how it needed to play,” City coach Phil Mason said. “We made a decent adjustment at half and went to another part of our package that seemed to work well for us, but maybe it was too little, too late.
“We had a couple turnovers that just killed us and we had to make a play down here late and didn’t. We gotta get better in the red zone, no doubt about it.”
In a game that saw several squandered opportunities, Mason made it a point to his team to not let it linger.
“We’re too good and talented of a team to let this drag down the season,” Mason said. “Chesterton didn’t turn the ball over. We had five turnovers and you can’t win with five turnovers, even though we almost did, you just can’t do it.”
Chesterton 21, Michigan City 13 Michigan City 0 7 6 0 – 13 Chesterton 14 0 0 7 – 21 INDIVIDUAL SCORING First Quarter C – Colby Bullock 2 pass from Chris Mullen (Jackson Syren kick), 9:01 C – Jackson Westmoreland 12 pass from Mullen (Syren kick), 1:07 Second Quarter MC – Jonathon Flemings 1 run (Andrew Oleksiuk kick), 11:56 Third Quarter MC – Flemings 20 run (Kick failed), 7:50 Fourth Quarter C – Mullen 1 run (Syren kick), 10:02 TEAM STATISTICS MC;CHES First Downs:16;13 Rushes-Yards:36-221;25-57 Passing:11-18-2;11-29-0 Passing Yards:126;210 Total Yards:347;267 Penalties-Yards:4-40;5-45 Fumbles-Lost:4-3;1-0 INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS RUSHING – MICHIGAN CITY, Jonathon Flemings 14-80, Omarion Hatch 9-72, Giovani Laurent 11-63, Kaydarious Jones 2-6. CHESTERTON, Colby Bullock 3-30, Ethan Pickering 7-22, Chris Mullen 16-5. PASSING – MICHIGAN CITY, Laurent 11-18-126-2. CHESTERTON, Mullen 11-28-210-0, Pickering 0-0-0-1 RECEIVING – MICHIGAN CITY, Flemings 6-65, Esau Haynes 4-45, Omarion Hatch 1-16. CHESTERTON, Jackson Westmoreland 4-88, Bullock 3-63, Mitch McElfresh 1-27, Jude Mochen 2-19, Jordan Hughes 1-14.
RECORDS: Chesterton 1-2 (1-0 Duneland), Michigan City 2-1 (0-1).