NEWTON, NJ - Any momentum the Chatham football team carried from last week's thrilling victory over West Essex on "Cougar Night" was definitely gone by the end of first quarter against Newton on Friday night.
Less than a week after Timmy Adams capped Chatham's comeback with his TD and extra point with 18 seconds left in the upset win over West Essex, the Cougars came out against Newton in the first quarter and looked like a team that was lost.
Newton running back Chase Cramer ran through, around and over the Chatham defense on the way to an astounding 304 yards, scoring three touchdowns as the Braves won their fifth game of the season, 54-21.
"Our performance was not as it was last week," Chatham coach Jason Izsa said. "I'm not sure if last week was an emotional thing, if it was Cougar Night, the hype or being hyped up, but we just came out flat. Hats off to Newton. The kid's a good back. All week long we preach that we have to stop him and we didn't execute."
On his first carry of the game, Cramer ran for 46 yards, setting up his 5-yard TD run. He followed that with a 44-yard scoring sprint. By the end of the first quarter, Newton had a 27-0 lead that Chatham (2-4) never was able to challenge. Cramer had a lot to do with that, averaging more than 20 yards on his 15 carries.
Chatham was missing tri-captain and two-way player Pat Cosgrove, who is out with an injury. and Adams was less than 100 percent. That put junior Max Schelling in as the main passing quarterback for the game in his first start at the position.
"We knew that last week coming in [Cosgrove would sitting]," Izsa said. "It wasn't a surprise that he was out. We practice the formations with all the personnel. I don't know if it's a lack of experience or us not being ready to play. It could be on us as coaches, I don't know. We don't know what the problem is."
Schelling played more than well whenever he was on the field. He scored Chatham's first touchdown on a three-hard run in the second quarter and threw a 52-yard touchdown pass to Adams, who caught the ball and ran past everybody, in the fourth quarter. Adams also ran for a score in the third quarter.
The offense wasn't the problem. Chatham picked up its game on both sides of the football from the second quarter on. The problem was Cramer, who just wouldn't be tackled, especially in the first quarter.
"It's hard to come back from 30-something points," Izsa said. "Teams are not going to say, these guys beat West Essex and roll over. You have to play the game on the field."
COUGAR NOTES: Christian Cuttita blocked an extra point for Chatham in the first quarter. Schelling has thrown for two touchdowns in his stints calling the signals this year.
Max Scheling gains a first down for Chatham vs. Newton on Friday
Max Schelling picks up a chunk of yardage on this run