There was a time Chatfield and PEM played each other routinely in football. The last time it happened was 2012, as the Gophers won a “stepping stone” game over the Bulldogs 28-21. That year ended in a section runner-up for Jeff Johnson’s crew. A year later, they were state champs. Since, re-districting and such happened, leaving the old TRC foes playing elsewhere. To begin 2019, PEM hosted the Gophers. It was an emotional night for the home Bulldogs. They honored the death of classmate Aidan Miller. With the game’s first play, the Bulldogs lined up ten guys (Miller’s right guard spot vacant) and took a delay of game penalty (which Chatfield declined). With the second play, Kaden Lamb hit Leo Silha on a 68-yard TD pass. With two-point run, PEM led 8-0. But the Bulldogs then wouldn’t score again until the games second to last play. In between, Chatfield controlled the trenches (particularly defensively) and utilized a balanced offense. Gopher freshman Sam Backer scored on a 6-yard TD run early in the second to make it 8-6 PEM. A series later spawned an interesting sequence. Chatfield’s punt snap went way over Max Aug’s head. He calmly fielded the punt and booted an excellent kick. PEM was also flagged for roughing the kicker, giving the Gophers a first down. On the next play, Reid Johnson hit Aug on a 35-yard TD pass, making it 12-8 Gophers. In the third quarter, Chatfield made it a two possession game. A S-Backer 41-yard run set up a Johnson to S-Backer 15-yard TD pass. The Gophers led 18-8 heading to the fourth. PEM was turned away in the red zone mid-quarter. With 0:15 left in the game, Bulldog Blake Herber returned a punt 42-yards to pay-dirt. The two-conversion succeeded making it 18-16 Chatfield. PEM’s subsequent onside kick went out-of-bounds, leaving the Gophers winners 18-16. Johnson (10-15, 136 yards, 2 TDs passing), S-Backer (13-109, TD rushing; TD reception), Aug (TD-reception), Ben Roline (11-58 rushing), and Chance Backer (4-51 receiving) did offensive work for Jeff Johnson’s group. The Chatfield defense held to PEM to less than 50 yards rushing and yielded a trio of turnovers (S-Backer INT, Corey Ericson INT, Jonathan Frank FR). The Gophers are 0-0, 1-0.
About Paul Trende