EAST HANOVER, NJ - During the course of the 2019 season there might have been times that the Chatham football team wished it could get some extra help from on high.
As it turned out, that moment came Friday night when the coaches overlooking the field from the booth made the call down to head coach Dan Czepiga with Chatham clinging to a three-point lead in the fourth quarter against Hanover Park.
"Up in the booth they noticed that they were kind of stacking the box," Czepiga said. "Give credit to them because they were the ones who spotted it. We motioned Peter (Schelling) out and that left the middle of the field open and we hit (Jack) Powers down the middle of the field. Great play and a great look by the coaching staff."
Quarterback Ryan Coughlin's pass to Powers turned into a 69-yard touchdown play (see the video below) with 4:45 left in the fourth quarter, stinging the Hornets and allowing the Cougars to escape the Hive with a 38-35 victory.
It was the second touchdown reception of the game for Powers, who managed to steal some of the spotlight away from the star of the game - Peter Schelling, who ran for three touchdowns and also threw his first career TD pass when he hit Powers with a 4-yard option pass with 4.3 seconds showing in the first half.
"We had a little play drawn up, a Schelling Special, where he just gets the ball and he throws it," Czepiga said.
Schelling also broke a 90-yard kickoff return in the second quarter (see below) for his fourth scoring kickoff return of the season.
"I'm really happy for the kids," Czepiga said. "We have a two-game win streak here, which is great. They worked really hard to get these results. I told them we always want to be working to make that last play, that last score. We managed to get that last score with Powers and I'm super proud of them."
Jack Powers, Ryan Coughlin and Peter Schelling talk about the key plays int he win
Schelling also broke a 45-yard touchdown run for Chatham (3-6), winner of two straight, in the first quarter to open the scoring (see below).
The Cougars took a 28-14 lead into the break, but Hanover Park (3-6) scored to slice the deficit to 28-21 in the third quarter. Quinn Kelly's 35-yard field goal with 3:26 left in the third (see below) staked Chatham to a 31-21 advantage.
Coughlin's TD pass to Powers boosted Chatham's lead to 38-28, but the Hornets couldn't be waved away. A touchdown with 1:59 left pulled Hanover Park to within three. But Coughlin's keeper for the first down with 1:39 to go allowed Chatham to run out the clock.
COUGAR NOTES: Remarkably, Peter Schelling's 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the second quarter was his fourth scoring kickoff return of the season. He also returned a kick 80 yards for a touchdown in the season opener at Morris Hills, returned one 95 yards for a score at home vs. Millburn and bolted 82 yards against Hackettstown ... Schelling also threw the first touchdown pass of his career when he hit Jack Powers with a 4-yard option pass with 4.3 seconds left in the first half ... Senior wide receiver Powers has three TD catches in the last two games, both victories ... Sophomore linebacker Owen Walewander recovered a fumble for the Cougars in the fourth quarter ... Senior Liam High intercepted a pass in the third quarter, setting up Quinn Kelly's 35-yard field goal. Kelly's 34-yard field goal attempt in the second quarter easily had the distance but hit off the left upright.