STEVE HANLON: Katsafaros is the Comeback Kid

2011-09-16T22:00:00Z 2012-08-30T23:54:19Z STEVE HANLON: Katsafaros is the Comeback KidBy Steve Hanlon Prep Beat nwitimes.com
September 16, 2011 10:00 pm  • 

CHESTERTON | Knute Rockne didn't come down and make a speech. Mike Ditka didn't walk down on Chesterton's new turf field and throw anything at the Trojans' quarterback. But boy it seemed like someone should've said something.

Valparaiso took a 21-0 lead with 10:55 remaining in Friday night's Duneland Athletic Conference showdown against Chesterton. You could almost hear car keys jingling on the home side of the field.

The parents of Chesterton quarterback Chris Katsafaros didn't touch their keys. Neither did Trojans head coach John Snyder.

"I really didn't say too much to him," Snyder said.

The game that was ruled "over" by many in the stands was not even close to ending. Katsafaros put on a show that few will forget, leading his Trojans back from the precipice, scoring 31 straight points to give his team a 10-point DAC win.

"We came in knowing they were going to be a tough team," Katsafaros said. "Even when we were down 21-0 we knew we were in this game."

First came a 62-yard touchdown throw to Joe Troop to get some juice flowing. Then, a 78-yarder to Troop to pull the Trojans to within seven at the half.

"The first pass let us know we were still in the game," Katsafaros said. "The second pass let us know we were going to win the game."

No. 7 for Chesterton shifted gears in the second half. He stopped flying in the air and started pounding on the ground.

Chesterton had ten first downs in the third quarter. Valpo ran three plays. The time of possession changed and so did the game.

"He's a great athlete and we didn't have an answer for him," Valpo coach Mark Hoffman said. "He was the difference in the second half."

In a season where the region is still looking for a jaw-dropping running back or a D-I darting wide receiver, it is apparent that this is the Autumn of the Quarterback. Every game these eyes have seen has been decided by the kid under center.

Katsafaros put on the best show. So far, anyway.

He rushed 27 times for 170 yards and one score. He was 7-of-9 for 173 yards and two dances in the end zone.

This junior-laden Chesterton team got a game it needed. It remained alive in the league derby and showed everyone in Northern Indiana that when the Trojans are down, they are not out.

Most importantly, Katsafaros showed the kind of class we all would like to see more of. His first sentence after a huge win had nothing to do with himself or his team.

It was a shout-out to Vikings injured running back Bryon Duncan, who injured his knee last weekend and underwent season-ending surgery this week.

"My prayers, our prayers, go to Bryon Duncan," Katsafaros said. "That's a big loss to Valparaiso. He's a tough kid and a great competitor. I wish him the best in his recovery."

Snyder wouldn't rank this win afterward. But there is one thing he knows is true. Because of Katsafaros, Chesterton's Comeback Kid, this team remains dangerous as the winds turn colder and the light continues to disappear.

"Let's see if we can make a run now," Snyder said.

Katsafaros, who doesn't have the years on the sideline, did rank the win against last November's semistate qualifying program.

"This is probably the biggest win ever," Katsafaros said. "Against Valpo, our biggest rival, it is our biggest win."

And it doesn't happen if not for you.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at steve.hanlon@nwi.com.

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