It was a hard-fought game, but Chester opened the 2019 season with an 18-13 win over Edwards County Aug. 30 at W.O. Smith Field.
First quarter, 0-0
Edwards County got the ball on the opening kickoff and in spite of getting two first downs and two Yellow Jackets penalties (encroachment and holding), they could not capitalize. At the 8:28 mark the Lions lost the ball on a fumble by Murphy which was recovered by Chester's Jordan Merideth.
On Chester's first possession had a false start penalty and Chester's star runner, Ethan Bert tripped and fell. Chester turned the ball over on downs.
On defense the Jackets held the Lions to three-and-out and got the ball back with 3:27 to play. But CHS turned the ball over on downs with just seconds to play.
Second quarter, 12-6
Edwards County got a first down to open the quarter but on the next play, the Lions were called for a chopped block penalty and were set back 15 yards. A few more plays and ECHS punted, only to have it blocked by the Yellow Jackets who then recovered the ball.
CHS was facing 2 and 15 after a false start. Chester Quarterback Dylan Kelkhoff then ran a keeper but the Jackets were called for another 10-yard penalty. At the 8:31 mark Kelkhoff connected with Jordan Merideth for a three-yard gain. Facing 3 and 9 with the ball on the Lions 10-yard line, Kelkhoff connected with Ethan Bert for a 10-yard pass that Bert ran into the end zone for Chester's first score of the year. The extra point try failed.
On the next series the Lions moved the ball well, getting one first down. Chester's Brendan Murphy, Tyler Holm, Jacob Miller and Caleb Parker each made good defensive plays in the series to force an eventual Lions punt with 3:37 to play in the half.
Chester took over at the Lions 40-yard line and got seven yards on a Jordan Merideth run. Bert then got the first of two CHS first downs and Chester was on the 30 yard line at 2:37. Bert ran for another first down at 1:07 and Chester was on the Lions 17-yard line.
The next half-minute was a disaster, as CHS was called for two false starts. But with just 30 seconds remaining in the half, and facing 2 and 18, Kelkhoff found Ethan Bert and connected for a 25-yard touchdown pass. The extra point pass failed on a dropped pass that was right in the hands of Justin Clendenin.
Chester kicked off to the Lions with just 22 seconds remaining in the half. The Lions connected for a huge touchdown pass with 1.5 seconds left to play.
Third quarter, 12-6
The second half began much like the first with neither team able to capitalize. Ethan Bert received the kickoff and ran up to the CHS 43-yard line. He ran for two from scrimmage and Kelkhoff got five yards on a quarterback keeper. Facing a 3-3, Ethen Eggemeyer ran for a first down.
Kelkhoff connected with Ian Reith on a seven-yard pass for another Yellow Jacket first down and the ball was on Edwards County's 18-yard line. Then Chester was called for a holding penalty, and turned the ball over on downs with 7:16 left in the quarter.
The Lions got a first down, but then were stopped on good defensive plays by Jared Landeros, Ethan Bert, and Ian Reith. CHS then got a pass interference call with 3:45 to play. In spite of that, the Jackets were able to stall Edwards County and force a turnover on downs with 2:40 remaining in the quarter.
The Yellow Jackets could not get anything started in the final minutes.
Fourth quarter, 18-13
The final 12 minutes got exciting, as Chester used the first 3:13 to orchestrate a third touchdown. Bert and Kelkhoff combined for a first down after which Jordan Merideth scored a touchdown on a 5-yard run. For the third time in the game, the Jackets failed to convert for the extra point.
The next 1:11 was very productive for Edwards County. Senior Eli Grimes carried the kickoff to the 40-yard line and then made a huge run to Chester's 8-yard line. Two plays later the Lions scored on an 8-yard run and then made the extra point, making the score 18-13.
With 6:36 remaining, the Yellow Jackets did a great job of controlling the ball and burning clock. Kelkhoff completed a 10-yard pass to Ian Reith, Ethan Bert had a 9-yard run and Aidan Jany ran for two first downs.
Ethen Eggemeyer capped off the game with a final first and 10 with just 1:41 to play.
CHS: 18 first downs; 8 penalties for 90 yards; one fumble, but CHS recovered it. Had 303 total yards. CHS rushed for 226 yards and one touchdown; the team passed for 77 yards and two passing touchdowns.
ECHS: Nine first downs; 7 penalties for 39 yards; one fumble resulting in a turnover. Had 175 total yards. ECHS rushed for 115 yards and no touchdowns; the Lions passed for 60 yards and one touchdown.
Chester rushing leaders: Ethan Bert, 12 carries, 47 yards; Ethen Eggemeyer, 6 carries, 41 yards; Jordan Merideth 6 carries, 35 yards; Aiden Jany, 6 carries, 57 yards.
ECHS rushing leaders: Ryan St. Ledger, 9 carries, 55 yards; Marcus Stennett, 7 carries, 19 yards; Eli Grimes, 6 carries, 77 yards).
CHS receiving leaders: Ethan Bert (3 receptions, 37 yards and two touchdowns; Ian Reith, two receptions, 20 yards.
ECHS receiving leader: C. Cower, two receptions, 60 yards and one touchdown.
Chester QB Dylan Kelkhoff: Connected on 8 for 11 passes, for 77 yards and two touchdowns.
ECHS QB Marcus Stennett: Connected on 2 for 6 passes, for 60 yards and one touchdown.