The Chatham High School Football team only had four days of practice with full shoulder pads due to COVID-19 limitations before its season-opener against Morris Hills. And the rust showed as the Scarlet Knights handed the Cougars a 33-13 defeat Saturday afternoon at Cougar Field on Senior Day.
Chatham (0-1) was in the game after senior quarterback Luke McAloon connected with senior wide receiver Duncan Torkelson, who shed a Morris Hills’ would-be tackler and bolted for a 35-yard touchdown to slice the deficit to 12-6 with less than a minute to play in the first half.
But just seconds later, the Cougar defense allowed Scarlet Knights running back Josh Babe to get outside and break it off for a 75-yard TD scamper and an 18-6 lead. Senior running back Charlie Rex followed with a two-point conversion rush to give Morris Hills (2-0) a 20-6 lead with 38.4 seconds to go in the half.
The Scarlet Knights did not let up in the second half, though, as Babe hit paydirt on a 20-yard running TD, his second of the contest, for a 26-6 advantage with 5:32 remaining in the third quarter.
Next, in the fourth period, senior Morris Hills running back Joseph Dawson punched one in from the one-yard line with an extra point making it 33-6 with 8:15 left in the game.
In at quarterback for Chatham, backup Giovanni Del Re scored on a 54-yard touchdown rush, but a penalty nullified the play. A few downs later, however, Cougar sophomore Peter Boyd ran it in for a 28-yard touchdown, making it 33-13 after a successful extra point with 3:50 to go in the tilt.
Scarlet Knights’ senior Justin Ladino and Rex accounted for their first two TDs of the contest.
Overall, Chatham had some positive takeaways in the game. Boyd, a third-string running back, complied 61 yards on 11 carries with a score, while Senior Sean McArthur recovered an onside kick and also pounced on a fumble. Del Re added a different element behind center, displaying quickness, as he ran for a first down and completed a pass on the same drive that ended with Boyd’s TD rush. And punter Sam Smith enjoyed a solid game, with a 57-yard boot that senior Andrew Romaine-Martin downed at Morris Hills’ one-yard line.
— Jerry Del Priore