Chatham Snaps 23-Game Football Losing Streak, 33-0, over High Point; Happy Birthday Nestler

Chatham players kneel while tri-captain Mark Kellstrom is being attended to on the field. Kellstrom had to leave the game with a knee injury in the third quarter.   Credits: TAP Chatham

SUSSEX, NJ  - As Matt Nestler finished his 15-yard run by barreling into the end zone, a teammate yelled out: "Happy Birthday Nestler."

The junior running back/linebacker didn't have to close his eyes and blow out any candles to make his wish come true, he made it happen on the football field.

Nestler celebrated his 17th birthday by scoring two touchdowns, intercepting a pass and forcing a fumble to highlight Chatham's 33-0 victory over High Point on Friday, ending the Cougars' 23-game game losing streak. Chatham hadn't won a football game since a 10-7 playoff victory against Bernards in 2011.

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"It feels unbelievable," Nestler said. "I've played since 2011 and we haven't won a game. To be a part of this, I can't ask for much more on my birthday.

"It was a lot of fun. We stuck to our game plan. I did what I had to do and everybody did what they had to do. Luckily I came out with some stats. It's truly a team game. If my boys (offensive line) aren't doing the job, I'm not going to have a good game."

Matt Nestler talks about the long-awaited victory in video below

Chatham quarterback Alex Sands made some bruising runs of his own on keepers and Justin Hayes gained big yards by getting to the outside while the defense didn't allow High Point (0-3) to get near the end zone. Linebacker Ryan Barnett recovered a fumble in the end zone for a TD to get Chatham started in the second half.
"It's the best feeling I've ever had," Sands said. "Our line was killing it. We played for Mark (Kellstrom). We played angry and we played strong. We had the holes, We ran hard. Hopefully, we start a new streak Thursday against Montville. This is the start of something great."
Justin Hayes breaks off a big chunk of yardage in video below

"You end one streak and you start a new one," Chatham coach Jason Izsa said. "We can't be complacent. We have a short week with Montville on Thursday.

"It feels very good. It came with a little bit of a cost when Mark (Kellstrom) went down. We played well in all aspects of the game. They just did a great job in practice this week. They were focused, ready to go and they knew their assignments."

Chatham (1-2) had moved the ball well in the scoreless first quarter, but broke through with its first points by putting together a 60-yard march in the second quarter. Luke Sukiennick bolted for a16-yard gain and Hayes broke consecutive bursts of 16 and 13 yards. After a four-yard keep by Sands, Nestler ran six yards to the one. 

Nestler had two tries from the one stopped short of the end zone before Sukiennick carried in standing up. Tim Adams added the PAT for a 7-0 lead with 4:05 left in the half. Brian Brady intercepted a pass to regain possession for Chatham before the Cougars took its 7-0 lead into the break.

Barnett made his TD fumble recovery less than two minutes into the second half. Later in the quarter, Nestler's hit forced a High Point fumble that was recovered by Brian Weber. That put the ball at the High Point 30. Nestler ran for five and Sukiennick gained seven, sandwiched around runs of eight and seven yards by Hayes. Nestler scored his first TD by crashing in from the three for a 20-0 lead with 15 seconds left in the third.

Nestler's interception preceded his 15-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Adams went in at quarterback late and put the finishing touches on by scoring seven points. The sophomore's 24-yard run was stopped at the one. He sneaked in from there and then kicked the placement with 2:41 to go.








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