HACKETTSTOWN, NJ - After losing two straight games at home by lopsided shutout scores, Chatham football fans had to be wondering what was in store for them Friday night when Hackettstown scored a touchdown just 27 seconds into the game.
But that turned out to be the only downside to this game as Chatham responded by scoring the next six touchdowns on its way to a 42-14 win over the Tigers.
"We're road warriors right now,' Chatham coach Dan Czepiga said of his team's second straight road win. "I just told those guys I was proud of the defense."
The Chatham offense wasn't shabby either as it produced the most points it has scored during Czpegia's two-year stint as the head coach.
Making his first start, senior quarterback Ryan Coughlin threw two touchdown passes for Chatham, which received another brilliant game from running back Peter Schelling, who ended with three touchdowns and a fumble recovery.
After Hackettstown (1-6) took the early lead just 27 seconds into the game, Chatham (2-6) needed just 14 seconds to even the score with Coughlin throwing behind the defense to hit Jack Powers for a 58-yard touchdown play. Quinn Kelly's PAT tied it at 7-7 and the Cougars were on their way.
Chatham seniors Ryan Coughlin, Jeremy Pollard and Peter Schelling talk about the win
Schelling's 11-yard touchdown run (see video below) in the first quarter put the Cougars in front, but Chatham put the game away by scoring three touchdowns over the final 6:41 of the first half to take a 35-7 advantage into the break.
Coughlin connected for his second touchdown pass of the game when he threw cross field to Chase Carlin, who made a shoestring catch at the 10 and took it home the rest of the way for a 36-yard scoring play. Hackettstown challenged the catch and, after a video review, the touchdown stood.
Schelling, playing both ways, grabbed a fumble out of the air and returned it 35 yards to the Hackettstown 33. Ryan McArthur's 10-yard gain on a screen pass form Coughlin (see below) put the ball at the 20, where Schelling took it in for the touchdown with 3:18 showing.
The Cougars scored again in the final minute of the quarter, sparked by Schelling's 30-yard burst to the one (see video below) before quarterback Luke McAloon sneaked in for the score with 26 seconds to go (see below).
Schelling received the second-half kickoff and returned it 82 yards for a touchdown that boosted the Chatham lead to 42-7 (see below).
COUGAR NOTES: The kickoff return for a touchdown was Peter Schelling's third of the season. He returned a kick 80 yards for a touchown in the season opener at Morris Hills, and returned one 95 yards for a score at home vs. Millburn ... Chatham travels to Hanover Park for a 7 p.m. Friday matchup to close out the regular season. The Hornets topped the Cougars last year, 39-14.