NEW PARIS – Led by three touchdowns and 102 yards from Trey Maxwell, the Chestnut Ridge Lions overcame a slow start and moved to 3-0 by knocking off the Somerset Golden Eagles 26-7 in front of a large crowd Friday night.
“We started out slow, I think we thought we were a little better than we are,” Maxwell said.
“The guys started hitting their blocks well and giving me holes like I knew they would.”
“He played on the offensive line last year,” Chestnut Ridge head coach Max Shoemaker said about Maxwell. “He gives us some size that we needed in the backfield as a fullback, and he can set the edge when he blocks.”
The Golden Eagles got the ball to start the game and picked up only one first down before being forced to punt the ball over to the Lions.
Jarrett Flitchcraft boomed a 50-yard punt, but the Lions’ Matt Whysong returned the ball 37 yards down the right sideline to set Chestnut Ridge up just past midfield at the Eagles’ 43.
Somerset’s defense stood strong and held the Lions on fourth down deep inside their own end to give the ball back to the Golden Eagles offense.
After a three-and-out, the Lions got the ball back and went to the air. Chestnut Ridge quarterback Logan Pfister completed two long passes before a reverse to Trevor Weyandt went 28 yards to give the Lions a 7-0 lead.
After Somerset went three and out again to start the second quarter, Chestnut Ridge went to the ground game handing the ball off six times in the drive to the senior Maxwell, who finished it with a 1-yard plunge to give the Lions a 13-0 lead at the 9-minute mark of the second.
The Golden Eagles finished off a long 14-play drive with a 6-yard pass from Bradley Barndt to Riley Zylstra with only 7 seconds left in the first half to cut the Lions’ lead to 13-7.
Chestnut Ridge needed four plays in the second half before Maxwell broke loose again up the middle shedding several Somerset tacklers to score from 23 yards out; shifting the momentum back to the Lions as they extended their lead to 19-7.
“We scored just before the half and I thought we gained so momentum there,” Somerset coach Bob Landis said. “But to their credit they came out in the third and set the tone with a quick strike. We are a young football team and will get better.”
Somerset found the sledding to be tough on their opening possession of the second half as the Lions defense time after time broke into the backfield to hold Golden Eagles runners in check, or forced the Somerset quarterbacks to get rid of the ball early.
Chestnut Ridge took the ball late in the third quarter and mounted a strong 12-play drive that was capped off on the opening play of the fourth when Maxwell added his third touchdown of the game powering his way in from 2 yards out, and setting the final at 26-7.
“The kids refocused there at halftime,” Shoemaker said. “We have to clean up the things we can control. A lot of penalties tonight. A sloppy win, and we didn’t play with as much energy as in the prior games. We will need to play better next week to beat a team like Westmont.”