Kelly Weese // Staff Writer
After dropping a crucial game against Iowa Western, the Chaps football team recovered last Saturday against Ellsworth Community College. The 17-9 win over the visiting panthers kept the Chaparrals in contention for a Midwest Football Conference championship and a post season bowl game.
COD (3-2) played well on both sides of the ball, despite a missed field goal early in the game. On the ensuing possession the Panthers had a touchdown called back due to a holding penalty. The game would continue at this slow pace. The first quarter would remain equal until Ellsworth opened the scoring with a 27-yard field goal at the end of the quarter.
The offense got off to a bad start after being unable to convert in the red zone. Quarterback Lamont Toney was intercepted twice and the Chaps offense was missing a passing game. The rushing game would prove vital to the teams’ success.
With 11:26 left in the second quarter, cornerback Duke Robinson stopped a long Panthers drive by intercepting the ball in the end zone. The interception shifted the momentum to the Chaparral sideline. On the next play from scrimmage, running back Dontrel Chance would get lost in a mass of lineman before finding daylight and finishing off an 85-yard touchdown run.
The Chaps would own the second quarter. A 34-yard field goal by kicker, Nick Bartolotta, put them up 10-3. On the following Ellsworth drive, Chaps linebacker Alex Malandro would intercept the Panthers quarterback and return it 22-yards for a touchdown.
Dontrel Chance was a workhorse on the ground for COD. While rushing for over 100 yards, Chance jumpstarted the Chaps scoring. “It was an ugly win but we’ll take the win,” Chance said. “The line gave me huge holes and made my job easier.”
The defense, once again, proved it is the heart of the team. The Chaparral D held Ellsworth under 10 points and forced three interceptions while sacking the quarterback five times. After the game, defensive end Chuck Tigue said, “we played good as a defensive unit. We got the win.”
Ellsworth would add a final score in the third, but it would be all for nothing as a scoreless fourth quarter sealed the 17-9 victory for the Chaps. “They were a tough team. The kids played good but we have to get better and keep working on fundamentals,” coach Foster said.
The win keeps the Chaps in second place in the Midwest Football Conference.
Now halfway through the season, the Chaparrals have reached their bye week, which comes at an excellent time. The team will be able to assess their strengths, weaknesses and improve on their fundamentals.
The Chaps next game is in two weeks against Olivet Nazarene University, which is an NAIA team. Facing an opponent like the Tigers will give the team a different look. Until now, the Chaps have only been playing other community colleges. This gives them the opportunity to play a university that is allowed to recruit and offer scholarships. The game will be played Monday, Oct. 14 under the lights at the COD football stadium. This will be a great test for how the rest of the season will shape up for the Chaparrals.