CHATHAM, NJ - The Chatham game plan was to contain Barringer's highly recruited quarterback, Zamar Wise.
The plan was working quite well for the Cougars until it all fell apart during an 80-second span in the fourth quarter. That's when a six-point deficit turned into 22-point hole that sent Barringer to a 32-17 win over Chatham at renovated Cougar Field on Saturday.
"They capitalized on our mistakes," Chatham coach Jason Izsa said. "Unfortunately we made mistakes in crucial situations. Hats off to them for capitalizing on what we did wrong."
Barringer held a 16-7 lead in the third quarter when the Chatham defense came up with a sack from linebacker Josh Smith and a tackle for a loss by Ben Herbert on consecutive plays to force a punt. A short Blue Bears kick gave the Cougars the ball on the Newark school's 47. Two key runs of 11 and nine yards by Max Schelling helped fuel a drive for Chatham that stalled inside the 3-yard-line. Junior Kristian Roos connected on his first varsity attempt by hitting a 20-yard field goal that sliced it to 16-10 with 1:14 left in the third quarter.
On the ensuing possession, Cougar lineman Sean Goodman tackled Wise for a four-yard loss, leading to another Barringer punt. But that's when the game went sideways for Chatham. With no one deep for the Cougars, Ahmad Johnson got off a kick that bounced its way untouched to the 3-yard-line - a 67-yard punt.
"We figured he didn't kick too well on the kick before, so we left everyone up," Izsa said. "That was my mix-up. That's on me."
On the very next play, Schelling was tackled in the end zone for a safety with 7:56 left in the fourth quarter. But it got worse after that. The safety forced Chatham to kick the ball back to Barringer and Davon Scott returned the kick to the Chatham 1-yard-line. On the next play, Wise took it into the end zone on a quarterback sneak and then threw the conversion pass to Scott, making it a 10-point splurge for Barringer in just 13 seconds.
Two plays later, Chatham fumbled the ball away and on the next play Wise hit Feenix Charls with a 3-yard TD toss. So, from a 16-10 lead with 8:02 left, Barringer ballooned its advantage to 32-10 with 6:42 to go.
"We were in the game whole way," Schelling said. "The safety and not coming back on the punt hurts, but you can't dwell on the negatives there. You have to execute, that's the bottom line.
"It's unfortunate the game has to end that way. Everyone was hustling. We had good offensive drives that we just couldn't finish them. That's what we're going to be working on, finishing them. The offense has to work on helping the defense out, so they're not starting at our 10."
Schelling's 2-yard TD catch from quarterback Andrew DesMarais and Roos' PAT gave Chatham its final points with 5:27 left in the fourth quarter.
"The expectations for their quarterback being one of the top recruits in the state as a junior, I think (the defense) did a real nice job not letting him throw the ball," Izsa said. "But, unfortunately, with his legs he's a dual threat. We took away his one thing (the pass) and he beat us with the other. With a kid like that, you can only hope to contain him. We put the defense in some tough spots."
Barringer took an 8-0 lead in the first quarter before Chatham put together a drive that covered 65 yards in 14 plays and ate up 6:28 of the clock. The march started in the first quarter and was culminated by sophomore Peter Schelling's 2-yard TD burst with 10:34 showing in the second period.
The big play of the drive was a "Schellings Left" play that gained 16 yards to the Barringer 12. Max Schelling took the snap at quarterback and pitched to his younger brother, who cut around left end for the first down. On the next play, Roos carried nine yards to the three. Two plays later, Schelling took it into the end zone and Roos added the PAT.
A blocked punt by Barringer led to a Wise touchdown pass that gsve the Blue Bears a 16-7 lead heading into the break.
COUGAR NOTES: For the second straight year, a Schelling scored the first touchdown of the season for Chatham. Last year, Max Schelling scored on a run to give the Cougars its first points of 2016. On Saturday, sophomore Peter Schellinig carried in for the first TD of the year in the second quarter ... Peter Schelling was credited with causing a fumble that was recovered by Chatham's Shane Carlin ... Christian Cuttita ended with six catches for 84 yards ... Max Schelling carried the ball 11 times for 75 yards and also caught five passes ... QB Andrew DesMarais completed 12 of 16 passes for 75 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception.
Chatham's Christian Cuttita pulls in a pass from Andrew DesMarais in the fourth quarter
Max Schelling catches TD pass from Andrew DesMarais in the fourth quarter for Chatham
Max Schelling takes the snap and keeps for a Chatham first down
Kristian Roos kicks a 20-yard field goal to cut the deficit to 16-10 for Chatham late in the third quarter