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Turnover trouble Chester's title hopes end in 49-12 loss to Maroa

  • The Chester YellowJackets and the Maroa-Forsyth Trojans shake hands and congratulate each other following the completion of the Sweet-16 game of the 2018 IHSA Class 2A Football Playoffs.

    The Chester YellowJackets and the Maroa-Forsyth Trojans shake hands and congratulate each other following the completion of the Sweet-16 game of the 2018 IHSA Class 2A Football Playoffs.
    Jim Beers photo

 
BY JIM BEERS
Contributing Writer
updated: 11/7/2018 10:56 AM

Chester High School's march to the IHSA Class 2A state title came to an abrupt end as the Yellowjackets were unable to overcome a dominate second half from Maroa-Forsyth in the second round payoff game Nov. 3 at W.O. Smith Field.

After holding the Maroa-Forsyth to 9-point gap at halftime, the Trojans went on a 35-0 run in the second half to take a to back to take a 49-12 victory over the Yellowjackets and advance to the Class 2A Elite Eight.

Despite personal best efforts by Chester's Nick Meyers and Keith Kiner, the Yellowjackets were plagues by a total of six turnovers in the game, three from fumbles and three from interceptions of Meyer passes.

"Against a good team the ball has to bounce your way, and you can't turn the ball over, and that's what happened today," said Chester Head Coach Billy Belton.

The troubles started with the first play from scrimmage, when Chester fumbled the ball on quarterback Nick Meyers handoff attempt. Maroa-Forsyth recovered and had possession at their own 17 yard line.

It took the Trojans just two plays to score the first touchdown of the game when Trojan running back Gavin Clifton ran into the end zone from the Chester six yard line. Reilly Fitzpatrick kicked the first of what would be six extra points and the Trojans led, 7-0, just 34 seconds into the game.

Meyer turned right around and orchestrated a 75-yard drive on 13 plays. Facing 3rd-and-11, Meyer found Ethan Rayburn for a 22-yard touchdown pass with 5:56 to play in the first quarter, The conversion attempt failed. putting Chester down 7-6.

Chester's "Orange Crush" defense held tough, forced a fumble by the Trojans' Gavin Clifton. Chester's Ethan Bert recovered the ball on their own 2-yard line.

The Jackets could not move the ball off the two, however, and had to punt. Maroa began their next drive from the 24-yard line. With less than a minute left in the first quarter, the Trojans completed a four-play effort resulting in a Drew Hicks touchdown from three yards out. Fitzpatrick kicked his second extra point.

Chester started their next drive at their own 18-yard line. Meyer had difficulty moving the ball and faced 3rd-and-10. On the next play Meyer hit Ethan Bert for a 68-yard pass and Bert ran down to the Trojan ten yard line.

With 9:50 left in the half and facing a fourth down, Meyer threw a well-orchestrated fireball to Kiner, who was covered by the Trojan defenders in the end zone. Kiner leapt into the air and caught the ball for a YellowJacket touchdown. Kiner's touchdown brought the Jackets within two points, 14-12, and set a new personal-best record of 21 touchdowns in a season for him. Chester attempted a two-point conversion but failed.

The "Orange Crush" defense again stymied Maroa-Forsyth on their next possession and forced another fumble as they were driving toward Jacket territory. Chester's Devin Straight recovered and the Jackets had the ball once again at the Chester three yard line. CHS was unsuccessful moving the ball and Chester's Drake Bollman had to punt.

On the next possession, Maroa's Hicks caught the punt on the Trojan 39 yard line and got a great jump on the Chester defense and ran it back 31 yards to the YellowJacket 30 yard line. Four play later, Benner got the ball to the CHS 10-yard line. From there, Clifton scored a touchdown and Fitzpatrick kicked his third extra point. The Trojans led, 21-12 with 3:07 left in the half.

Maroa-Forsyth scored in the final in the final 3:07 of the first half to take and keep a 21-12 lead going into halftime.

The Trojans turned up the heat in the second half. Defender Cody Marsh intercepted Meyer midway in the third quarter to stop one YellowJacket drive. Marsh stuck again at the 7:26 mark in the third period, intercepting Meyer again to put the brakes on another Jacket drive.

Finally, Maroa put a dagger in the YellowJacket's offense another time with just 1:08 remaining in the third quarter as another Trojan defender, Noah Halthaus, intercepted Meyer again to close the door on the third period.

Offensively, the Trojans' Benner threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to senior Hayden Mitchell at the 8:31 mark in the third quarter. Senior Reilly Fitzpatrick kicked his fourth extra point and Maroa led, 28-12.

Maroa would score yet again in the third period when sophomore Bryson Boes, a 208 pound running back, barged his way through the YellowJacket defense to score on a 12-yard run. Fitzpatrick kicked his fifth extra point and the Trojans led, 35-12 to close out the third quarter.

With 8:07 remaining in the game, Maroa quarterback Ian Benner threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to senior Max Davenport and Fitzpatrick kicked his sixth extra point of the contest. Maroa-Forsyth led, 42-12.

By this time, Maroa Head Coach Josh Jostes, had substituted his son Wade Jostes at quarterback. The younger Jostes proceeded to score one final touchdown when he threw a perfect pass to junior wide receiver Dalton Torbert. Fitzpatrick completed a perfect day in kicking his seventh extra point of the day to give the Trojans a 49-12 lead at the 4:33 mark.

No. 2 Maroa-Forsyth will face No. 3 Tuscola (10-1) next week in the Elite Eight. The No. 10 Yellowjackets season ended with a record of 7-4.

For the game, Chester ran more plays that Maroa (64-57). The Yellowjackets recorded 244 yards compared to the Trojan's 438 yards. Of those yards, Chester had 211 passing yards and just 33 rushing yards. The Trojans recorded 160 passing yards and 278 rushing yards.

Meyer threw 23 passes and connected on 16 of them for 211 yards and two touchdowns. Meyer's last touchdown to Kiner at the 9:50 mark of the second quarter set a personal-best record for him with 21 touchdowns for a season.

Maroa's Benner was 12-of-17 in passing for 121 yards and three touchdowns. Jostes threw one pass and connected with Dalton Torbert for a touchdown adding insult to injury to the Yellowjackets.

Drake Bollman led the Jackets in rushing with 15 yards on 10 carries. He was followed by Ethan Bert (three carries for six yards); Ethan Rayburn (six carries for six yards); Eathan Thompson (one carry for five yards); and Nick Meyer (12 carries for one yard).

Maroa was led by Gavin Clifton who carried the ball 12 times for a total of 100 yards. Quarterback Ian Benner carried the ball 10 times for 87 yards. Bryson Boes, a sophomore, carried the ball six times for 63 yards.

In the receiving category Chester was led by Ethan Bert who caught six passes for 104 yards. Keith Kiner III caught six passes for 59 yards and one touchdown. Ethan Rayburn caught a pair of passes for 26 yards and Chester's other touchdown while Drake Bollman caught two passes for 22 yards.

Chester's Drake Bollman led the team in tackles with eight solos and three assists. Keith Kiner III recorded five solo tackles and three assists. Ethan Bert, Eathan Thompson and Erik Cowell each had three solo tackles and Thompson added four tackle assists.

The Trojans were led Noah Holthaus who recorded five solo tackles and three assists. Justin Livingood had four solos and four assists. Stone Sowa and Tucker Klein each added three solo tackles for the Trojans.

After the game CHS Head Coach said, "I'm so proud of the boys! They fought in every game. We had our first playoff win in four years. They are one of the few teams in Chester history to win a road playoff game."

"We had great senior leadership this year from each of our senior football players including Drake Bollman, Chase Colvis, Erik Cowell, Tristin Hobeck, Kaleb Hughes, Dayton James, Keith Kiner III, Nick Meyer, Hunter Munie, Devin Straight, Eathan Thompson, and Cody Wahl. This is one of the hardest working groups I have been around."

Belton continued, "This team started workouts last November and worked all season long. Their work ethic and leadership helped this year's team to a 7-4 record. I cannot say enough about this group of seniors. I know they will all go on to do great things!"

Finally, Belton said, "I want to thank all of our fans. This is a great place to play. I want to thank our seniors, our parents, our paint crew that makes our field great and of course all of our hard working coaches."

Turnover trouble

Chester falls to dominant Maroa offense, 49-12