Story by Eli Ruiz
With a win on homecoming evening, Eldred would have improved its league record to 2-0 and clinched a spot in the Section IX Class D title game.
However, Chester, which sewed up its place in the title game with last week’s 47-0 win over Roscoe, had other plans. The Hambletonians showed Eldred whose boss in Class D at least for now with a dominating 41-0 win at Eldred.
“[We] didn’t expect to dominate like that at all,” said Chester Head Coach Ron Stover. “It’s a rivalry game and we know they’re always very tough, as are the games against them. In this kind of game, it really doesn’t matter what the records are.
But as far as the Class D playoff picture is concerned, records do matter. Eldred is now 1-1 and must defeat Roscoe this week to wrap up second place in the division and earn another shot at Chester in the Class D championship game.
This game against Chester was preceded by all the pageantry inherent in most homecoming football games, with proud parents handing roses to their senior children.
Chester waited little time in asserting control. On its first play, Lawrence Young broke a 25-yard run. A few plays later Justin Delgado barreled in from three yards out and just like that Eldred was in a hole.
The two teams exchanged stalled drives, but Eldred looked to put some points up on their third drive as tough running from QB/RB Anthony Margarum and Nick Banghart got Eldred all the way to the Chester 13-yard line. But but the Yellowjackets could not capitalize, eventually giving the ball up on downs at the 10.
After a false start penalty moved Chester back to its own 5, Young got loose again, this time, racing down the left sideline for a 95-yard touchdown. Another good extra point kick gave Chester a 14-0
“My line did it all for me today and I have to give them 100 percent of the credit because without them those big holes would not have been there for me to run through,”said Young.
Eldred showed som resiliency, mounting another promising drive to the Chester 16-yard line. But again, on 4th and short, the Hambletonians made a big defensive stop, sacking Margarum and taking over on downs.
“We had some opportunities there in the first half that we just let slip away,” said Eldred coach Patrick Kean. “We got into that red zone twice and at one point were inside their 10. We just can’t let opportunities like that slip away and expect to win.”
On the third play of its next drive, Chester quarterback Vinny Aloi connected with a streaking Delgado for 70-yard score to take a commanding 21-0 lead into the locker room.
“I told the guys at halftime that we can’t let anymore scoring opportunities slip away,” said Kean. “We could have gone into the half down 21-14 instead of 21-0 and that really hurts. We could have come out receiving the second half kick off with all the momentum on our side, it’s just tough.”
Unfortunately, Eldred team came out of the halftime break looking deflated and although they never gave up, they wouldn’t threaten the Hambletonians again, who scored three more TD’s in the second half.
“We really felt Mike’s [Donnelly] loss today,” said Margarum of the team’s running back, lost to injury two weeks ago in Eldred’s defeat to Tri-Valley. “Then to top it all off we lost Nick [wide receiver Nick Dilles] against Liberty, and with our numbers it’s just hard to replace two players like them. It’s impossible.”
About their playoff chances, Kean said, “Well, if we can beat Downsville/Roscoe next week I’m not sure, but I think we can still slip in. It’d be nice to see these guys [Chester] again in a few weeks.”
That is confirmed a victory over Roscoe will give Eldred another chance to play Chester in the Section IX title game.