CHESTERTON | Defenses have slowed Chesterton's perimeter attack early in the season, at the expense of the Trojans' success running the ball inside.
Friday against LaPorte, Avery Beeks kick-started the pitch game, rushing for 145 yards and three touchdowns in Times No. 6 Chesterton's 35-20 Duneland Athletic Conference victory over the Slicers.
"The defense they were playing, they were crashing down," Beeks said. "We've run so much mid-line, they were keying on that, so the pitch was open. I love running the ball. I love catching the ball. Whatever the coaches tell me to do, I'll do it to the best of my ability. The line's been awesome all season. I get a little seam and I try to exploit it."
Beeks did just that on the TD that put the Trojans (3-1, 2-0) up for good, racing 60 yards on a pitch from Cole Teal right after the Slicers (0-4, 0-2) had gone in front 13-7 at the end of the first quarter.
"They did some nice things up front, stunting, moving inside, so we're reading things to try to get to the perimeter," Chesterton coach Mark Peterson said of LaPorte. "We worked long and hard with Cole this week to make sure we include all three phases of the triple option, and it's coming to fruition."
Chesterton extended its margin to 21-13 when Tyler Gillespie rambled 18 yards up the middle. Colin McEuen took a pitch 15 yards on a cutback for a touchdown in the third.
"When we get all four of them flowing (Teal, Beeks, Gillespie and Jon Horvath), we're going to be OK," Peterson said. "We become a true triple threat."
The Slicers drew within one score at 28-20 when Eric Mazany hooked up with tight end Luc McCarty from 11 yards with 9:49 left. LaPorte recovered a Teal fumble at its 9, but Mazany was promptly intercepted by Andrew Ralph.
"We were able to sustain drives and put some points on the board, but at the opportune time, we just couldn't get the key play," said LaPorte coach Bob Schellinger, who was down to his third tailback due to inujries to Charles Salary and Drake Sanders. "We wanted to try to keep them inside, but it's a catch 22. You take away one thing, they go to another. That's what good teams do."
Beeks went in from the 5 to seal the deal with less than two minutes left. Chesterton rushed for 272 yards.
"I feel like teams don't know what we're going to do next," Beeks said. "We can run inside, Cole can keep it, pass, he can pass. We can do everything."