VALPARAISO | The Valparaiso Quarterback Club provided the pre-game fireworks Friday at Viking Field, and Times No. 1 Chesterton took over the pyrotechnics from there.
Chris Katsafaros hit Joe Troop for a 69-yard touchdown pass on the fourth play and the Trojans (5-0, 3-0) were off to the races, dismantling the Vikings, 48-14, in the Duneland Athletic Conference.
"They were playing man (defense) and I had the feeling no one could cover Joe," Katsafaros said. "When we get going, we're hard to stop."
Run dominant to this point in the season, Chesterton opened it up with Katsafaros and a surgical quick passing game in the first half, when he went 12-of-14 for 166 yards and two scores. He went 8-for-8 for 72 yards through the air on a 13-play, 81-yard drive he capped with a 7-yard keeper.
"They started dropping their corners back," Katsafaros said. "Quarterback coach (Tom) Holba works on passing with me every day in practice. Our perimeter blocking was really good, and when we get on the outside, we're gone."
Katsfaros also floated a 22-yarder to Troop to make it 28-0 and hit Jacob Andrews for a 27-yard TD to start the second half quickly.
"Valpo did a number of things against Carmel that caught them off guard, and they did some similar things," Chesterton coach John Snyder said. "We just took what they gave us. We felt with our skill on the perimeter, we could do some things and we've got some size on the perimeter as well. When Chris has a challenge, he steps up the challenge. Valpo brings out the best in our kids."
The Trojans' defensive line continued to be a wrecking crew, stuffing Valpo (2-3, 2-1) on minus-5 yards rushing on 14 carries in the first half. Julian Raudry got in on the scoring, toting an Andrew Kittridge fumble 30 yards for a touchdown. Ryley Harlow sacked David Hittinger twice.
"(The defense) wasn't happy with the way they played last week, and they came as prepared to play as any group I've seen," Snyder said. "They did the extra things it takes to be a great team. We showed the kind of team we're capable of. Hopefully everybody will say we're rid of the cream puffs on our schedule."
The Vikings' cause was further hindered by the loss of running back Stephen Simms to an undisclosed injury on the first possession. Simms didn't return.
"The wheels kind of came off a little bit," Valpo coach Dave Coyle said. "It's certainly disappointing and not indicative of the last four weeks. Chesterton's got a lot of speed, and we made some crucial mistakes early on. Statistically, they don't throw much, but they found a weakness and they took advantage."