CHESTERTON | It looked bleak for Chesterton, middle of the night dark.
Down 21-0 to Valpo early in the second quarter Friday, the Trojans looked like they were going to be an epic fail on the big stage.
Not so fast, my friends.
"It was only one quarter," Chesterton quarterback Chris Katsafaros said. "In our mindset, it was 0-0."
Two long scoring strikes to the electrifying Joe Troop (62 and 78 yards) got the Trojans (4-1, 3-0) within seven at the half. They dominated the second pair of quarters in classic option football style, grinding out three clock-killing drives that produced 17 points and a 31-21 Duneland Athletic Conference triumph.
"Being down seven instead of 14 or 21 changed the halftime speech," coach John Snyder said. "It got the crowd excited and the kids believing. These kids know how to win. That's the attitude you want kids to have."
Zac Jenks plunged in from the 2 to cap a lengthy march starting the third, tying the game at 21. After a Valpo three-and-out, its only possession of the third period, Chesterton played some more keepaway, going up 24-21 early in the fourth on a 24-yard Kyle Schmidt field goal.
"We had to control the ball to keep their offense off the field," Snyder said. "When their offense got back out there, they were out of rhythm."
Valpo (2-3, 2-1) was stopped on downs at the Trojans 40 and Katsafaros applied the finishing touches with a 7-yard TD. After wounding Valpo with his arm in the first half, he applied the death blow in the second with his legs, rushing for most of his 170 yards after the break.
"I like to run," he said. "When I see someone look at my eyes instead of my hips, I look right and my hips are going left. They were putting people on Joe outside and that opened it up for me."
The Vikings raced to a 21-0 lead with Stephen Simms scampering 51 yards to the end zone starting the second, but they had little go right from there.
"The two long passes let them back in the ball game," coach Mark Hoffman said. "We worked against that all week and we got burnt. We left their best player wide open. Inexcusable. They spread out a little more in the second half and we couldn't get off blocks. They've got good athletes, a lot of skill. They're better than us right now."