Parade, music, sea of red and black and on a Friday night? Must mean one thing. Chardon High School homecoming football game! As soon as you hit Chardon, you could feel the excitement. Cars were lined up to see the Hilltoppers take on the Madison Blue Streaks! As we parked, you could see the flecks of blue in the crowd. Everyone was ready to see these two undefeated teams hit the field. So were we.
On the field before the game, the 2014 Homecoming Court was announced. Each member of the court was escorted down the 50 yard line with their parents. Kelly Turk was crowned this year’s queen. The king would be announced at the dance on Saturday night.
Chardon started off the game by kicking it off to Madison. It was a great kick giving the Blue Streaks little to work with. The Hilltoppers took this advantage to show exactly what their defense was going to do. On the opening drive, the Streaks were held to 4th down and 21 yards to go. They were forced to punt the ball to the Hilltoppers. Patrick Sullivan was back to receive the ball. Unfortunately, the ball bounced in Madison’s favor and went into the end zone giving the Toppers the ball at the 20 yard line. Just like Madison, they were unable to come up with any points.
Actually, the entire first half was filled with punts. Both schools came to play and their defenses showed it. It was a battle of turnovers, missed passes and sacks. Madison was having trouble getting the ball snapped to the quarterback and punter, and Chardon knew it. Putting pressure on the Blue Streak quarterback is what they continued to do. They played all the way up to the whistle ending the half. Both teams hit the locker rooms to try and figure out exactly how they were going to score in the next half.
How close are these two schools? Both marching bands started out with Queen’s Crazy Little Thing Called Love. Madison gave us their show filled with songs by the popular band while Chardon gave us a preview of their Queen show that they will be premiering next week. I can’t tell you which school played it better. I can tell you that Chardon has awesome Marching Bells. They have red light bars on them that give that extra little flare. You can’t help but to pay attention to what the marching Hilltoppers are performing. The Chardon Krazies came alive and that meant one thing, the Chardon Varsity football team was ready to take the field.
Chardon received the second half opening kickoff on their 30 yard line. They weren’t able to make anything out of it and were forced to punt. The Chardon defense did exactly what they started in the first half. This time, they weren’t able to hold Madison scoreless in the quarter. Madison’s Jarrad Lasko took the ball into the end zone on a 69 yard touchdown run. David Albert’s kick was good, giving the Blue Streaks a 7-0 lead. With only four minutes left on the clock, Chardon tried their best to keep Madison out of the end zone and make some points of their own. Madison held them and took the ball into the fourth quarter.
With Madison having the ball to start out the final quarter, you could tell Chardon was ready. They knew what they had to do. Unfortunately, mistakes on multiple sides led to a Madison touchdown. Connor Smith took the ball in on a 1 yard touchdown run. Albert’s kick was good, giving the Blue Streaks a 14-0 lead with 11 minutes in the game. The Hilltoppers weren’t able to answer back but they were able to stall Madison’s tempo holding them scoreless for the rest of the game. That is something to be proud of.
Even though the Hilltoppers lost on Friday night, there are many things they should be proud of. They held a team that has had an average of 42 points per game before this matchup to 14 points. They sacked the Blue Streaks Connor Smith 4 times for a total loss of 26 yards. This just wasn’t their night.
One more thing that the Hilltoppers should be proud of is Riley Tatonetti. Not sure if you noticed, but I never used the word boys when it came to the Chardon Hilltoppers. That’s because you can’t use that word with this team this year. Why? Because Riley is a female. She is the Hilltoppers’ kicker. With this being her senior year, she decided to step out of her comfort zone and play a sport she loves. The school loves her too. We were standing by the cheerleaders and Krazies when she came on the field and that may have been the loudest we had heard them so far in the night. It was great to see a school and team beat the traditions and welcome her to the play as a 2014 varsity football player.
Chardon is a town that loves to play football. I know they will bounce right back this week as they head to Willoughby to take on the Willoughby South Rebels in a conference matchup. You know you want to see this game! As for us, we will be in Chardon watching NDCL take on Lake Catholic at home. See you there!
You can read about more Chardon sports and school happenings on their school page.
Click here to see more photos from the game.
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