MENDHAM, NJ - When the Chatham offense catches up to its defense, things will look a lot brighter for the 2020 CHS football team. But right now, a cloud of frustration has been hanging over the Cougars.
That was evident on Friday night when Chatham could get no closer than 41 yards from the end zone in a 21-0 loss to Mendham.
"We're just not clicking," Chatham coach Dan Czepiga said. "On offense, repetition builds muscle memory, repetition builds success and we just have to keep repping every practice and get as much in and hope that it goes on the field. We just have to keep going."
In comparison, Mendham's offense was clicking from the start, taking the kickoff and marching 71 yards on 10 plays for a touchdown, culminated by quarterback Frank Kontely's 35-yard TD strike to Sean Bierals.
Mendham (1-2) followed by recovering an onsides kick, but Chatham tackle Lucas Reasons and linebacker Owen Walewander made consecutive tackles behind the line of scrimmage to force a punt and give the Cougars the ball for the first time with 5:38 left in the period.
Still, it was a long first half for the Cougar defense, which was on the field for 41 plays while the Chatham offense ran 21.
"They were just converting on third downs," Czepiga said. "It's something we talked about last week. We were 2 for 11 on third down and 1 for 4 on fourth down. When you get off the field as an offense quickly they get the ball, it doesn't benefit the defense. I thought the defense, considering the score, played a helluva game.
"Coach Pic (Defensive coordinator Evan Picariello) called a good game and a couple plays we were in a position and they just made the plays over our guys. That's what football is, it's one-on-one battles. We need more guys to win those one-on-one battles."
Czepiga tried to jump-start the offense by using two quarterbacks, senior Luke McAloon and sophomore Giovanni Del Re.
"We felt we'd get benefit from two different styles on the field at the same time," Czepiga said. "We can run some inside plays with Gio and we were trying to get a spark going.
"We're just not executing. Again, it goes back to the amount of practice. I'm not making excuses (there was a 2-week break because of Covid-19), but you can see guys are unsure of what they're supposed to do on a play and that comes down to coaching and we need to get better."
After an interception, Mendham covered 42 yards on nine plays to score on a QB sneak by Kontely (see below) and take a 14-0 advantage.
Sean McArthur returns a kick 34 yards for Chatham
Chatham tried to get a spark on offense by using two quarterbacks with senior Luke McAloon and sophomore Giovanni Del Re (see below) taking snaps
COUGAR NOTES: Chatham will go after its first win 2 p.m. next Saturday when it plays host to Montville (1-2) ... junior defensive end Emmett Hynes blocked a Mendham field goal attempt in the fourth quarter for Chatham ... the closest the Cougars got to the end zone in the game was the Mendham 41 ... Mendham gained 274 yards in the game while Chatham was limited to 91 yards.