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Jackets fall 36-14 to Fighting Lions, earn playoff berth

 
BY JIM BEERS
Contributing Writer
updated: 10/22/2018 2:28 PM

The Chester YellowJackets went into their final game of the season Oct. 19 riding a five-game winning streak and virtually assured of a spot in the IHSA Class 2A playoffs.

The Jackets traveled to Albion to take on the Fighting Lions of Edwards County, who came in with a 5-3 record and needed a win to stay in the battle for a playoff spot in Class 1A.

In the end, the Lions proved hungrier and ended Chester's win streak with a 36-14 victory over the Jackets. Despite the loss, Chester earned a 10th seed invite to the IHSA dance and will travel to Warrensburg to face Number 7 seed Latham in round 1 of the IHSA Class 2A Playoffs at 1 p.m. Oct. 27. Edwards County earned a 12th seed berth in the Class 1A playoffs and will face Number 5 seed Madison in the first round.

As for the game, CHS Head Coach Billy Belton said the YellowJackets "didn't capitalize on our opportunities.

"The defense played well but the offense just couldn't find the end zone," he added.

The stats back him up as Edwards County totaled 284 yards compared to Chester's 89 yards. The Fighting Lions had one primary work horse in Cade Rivers, who rushed for 148 yards on 25 carries.

The Fighting Lions lit up the scoreboard right away early in the first quarter with a two-yard touchdown run followed by a two-point conversion by Rivers. A short time later, Rivers struck again with a 35-yard touchdown run to increase the Fighting Lion's lead to 14-0. The two-point conversion failed.

On the ensuing kickoff, Chester's Ethan Rayburn did what he has done so well as of late, taking the return 80 yards for a touchdown to answer the Fighting Lions early lead.

"Ethan Rayburn had another kickoff returned for a touchdown, this time an 80 yard return. That gives him three for the year," Belton said.

The CHS two-point conversion failed, but the Jackets trailed by eight points, 14-6 to close out the first quarter.

The YellowJacket offense got busy in the second quarter and tied the game at 14 when CHS running back Drake Bollman took the ball into the end zone on a three-yard run. Bollman ran the ball across the goal line for the two-point conversion.

The Jacket defense then went to work and held the Edwards County offense the rest of the half. The score was tied, 14-14 at halftime.

Nothing seemed to go right for the YellowJacket offense in the second half. Edwards County capitalized on that to push ahead with a 21-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter to extend their lead to 20-14. The two-point conversion failed. The Lions put more points on the board in the fourth quarter, scoring on a four-yard touchdown run by Martin Schmittler. Cade Rivers scored the two-point conversion and ECHS led by 14 points, 28-14. Another Lions touchdown in the fourth made the final score 36-14.

For the night, CHS quarterback Nick Meyer was just 5-of-16 in passing for 46 yards. ECHS threw 8-of-11 for 82 yards and one touchdown.

Chester's leading rusher was Ethan Rayburn with two carries for 12 yards. Drake Bollman ran four times for 11 yards and Nick Meyer ran 11 times for 10 yards. For the game, the Jackets ran 23 times for just 43 yards.

Edwards County ran 53 times for a total of 204 yards and three touchdowns and three touchdowns. Cade Rivers led the Fighting Lions with 25 carries for 148 yards and Martin Schmittler ran six times for 23 yards.

Ethan Bert led the Jackets in pass receptions with one for 25 yards. Keith Kiner III followed with four receptions for 21 yards. The Jackets did not score any touchdowns with the pass.

Edwards County's J. Richards led the Fighting Lions in pass receptions with two-for-22 yards, but a corps of receivers caught eight passes for a total of 82 yards and one touchdown.

Edwards County ran 67 plays compared to Chester's 44. CHS recorded 89 total yards while Edwards County had 284 yards. Of those yards ECHS had 82 passing yards and 202 rushing yards. Chester had 46 passing yards and 43 rushing yards.

Chester could muster only five first downs for the night while ECHS had 17 first downs. CHS had just one turnover and the Fighting Lions turned the ball over twice, all due to fumbles. The Jackets were called for four penalties for 35 yards while ECHS was called for just one penalty for 20 yards.

Chester's Chase Colvis led the team in tackles with five solo tackles and two tackle assists. Ethan Bert recorded four solo tackles and Drake Bollman, Tristin Hobeck, Ethen Eggemeyer, and Keith Kiner III each had three spool tackles apiece. AS a team Chester had 29 solo tackles and 26 tackle assists.