CHATHAM, NJ - The Chatham football team is still working on balancing out the run and pass production of its offense in the early part of the season.
But Cougar head coach Dan Czepiga didn't mind that his offense leaned toward the running game last Friday at Millburn. All the equilibrium he needed was provided by running back Peter Schelling.
"He has incredible balance," Czepiga said. "He can make a cut, but he can also knock somebody over. He manages to stay up on the first hit, he never goes down on first contact. He always takes a couple guys with him."
Those qualities gave Czepiga reason to call Schelling's number often and the junior responded with 200 yards rushing on 29 carries and scored two touchdowns in Chatham's 23-7 win over Millburn, which also gave Czepiga his first career head coaching victory.
The win snapped a seven-game losing streak for Chatham that dated back to last October.
Peter Schelling is the Hawk Allstate Chatham Athlete of the Week.
"I feel Peter can get yards, whether it's the big play or four or five yards per carry, that's what he's getting," Czepiga said. "He's a grinder, he's a workhorse."
Schelling's longest run of the game was for 24 yards. The 6-0, 175-pounder averaged 6.9 yards per carry and accounted for 211 yards of offense (2 catches for 11 yards), which accounted for 77 percent of Chatham's yards gained in the game.
"It feels good to win again," Schelling said. "Usually, I like to have the breakout runs. I had more 10-yard runs, but that worked out okay. Every time I got the ball, I wanted to run as hard as I could and get as much yardage as I could. The offensive line did a great job."
The offensive linemen who opened the holes for Schelling included Will Duff, Sean Aul, Owen McCaffrey Mason Agostinelli, Lucas Reasons, Jeremy Pollard and Ben Baker.
"When we're all blocking for him, once that hole is there, he's quick enough to get through it," center Agostinelli said. "He's so elusive that the smallest hole opens and he takes it. He doesn't go down easy. It takes one or two tacklers to get him down."
Schelling has taken over the No. 20, following in the footsteps of his father, Steve, and his brother, Max, who was a senior captain on the 2017 Chatham team.
"My dad was No. 20 in high school and college and my brother was No. 20, so when he left I took it over," the 17-year-old said.
Steve Schelling was a standout fullback/linebacker on the 1980 state championship West Essex High team. He led the Knights in touchdowns and was second in tackles when West Essex was ranked No. 1 in New Jersey by The Star-Ledger.
"My dad started us off early and we both liked it," Schelling said.
Schelling turns the corner for a 24-yard gain vs. Millburn
Editor's note: The Hawk Allstate Chatham Athlete of the Week is sponsored by the John Hawk Agency. John and his team have been protecting local families and business owners for over 12 years. Call them at 973-635-9494 for a new auto, home, life and business insurance quote this week and if you mention the Hawk Allstate Chatham Athlete of the Week they will make a $20 contribution to the Chatham Booster Club! To learn more, visit the agency website.