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Lake County Sentinel
Focus not a problem for Chardon in shutout of South

           BY JUSTIN LADA
ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR
In football or any sport, there won't always be an external force or bulletin board material to help a player or a team stay focused and motivated for the game ahead. Programs and its players foster that kind of culture from within. Despite a playoff-point driving, and conference shifting win over Kenston in Week 7, Chardon knew that with South coming off of back-to-back losses to two ultra-tough Western Reserve Conference foes, this game had to be just as important as the last one. Chardon's 42-0 win over South is a showcase at how seriously the Hilltoppers take each game, no matter the week behind, the weeks ahead and whatever is happening outside the locker room or off the field.

A kind of game the Hilltoppers should file a trademark for, they got off to a 14-0 lead by keeping their offense on the field with a lead. They only allowed the Rebels to run 20 plays in the first half while only needing 25 offensive snaps to head into the half up 28-0.

DJ Bowman took control of the show with all four of Chardon's (6-2, 4-1 WRC) touchdowns in the first half. He scored from six yards out on the Hilltoppers first drive, added his second touchdown on the next drive, another six yard run on the third drive and then to cap it off, hauled in a 41 yard pass from quarterback Joey Trivisono to go up 28-0 with just a minute to go in the first half.

Bowman said that the Hilltoppers knew they needed to give everything they had to come out and win this one from the start.

​"We knew we had to win. We had to put everything we had on the field. That's what we did," Bowman said.

He also added that he'd never had a four touchdown game as a member of the varsity team, but accomplished the feat his freshman year.

Chardon coach Mitch Hewitt is pleased with where his football team is at through eight weeks and how they handled a South team coming off of two tough games and got a little healthier from last week, getting Justin Grosel back at quarterback.

"It's the biggest rivalry we have with the exception of Madison, who we have coming up this week," Hewitt said of the win over Kenston in week seven. "As a coach, I get concerned following games like that. You can lose focus. The energy in the school and even among the parents, wasn't the same as last week. No decorations, this, that or the other. Our kids had to realize this game was bigger than last week and clearly they got that."

In its two previous weeks, South (4-4, 1-4 WRC) had a lead on Kenston and played Mayfield close at half. Against Chardon, it fell victim to not taking advantage of their time with the ball, which the Hilltoppers are very good at limiting for any team.

"They got a lot of momentum early and did what they do," South coach Matt DUffy said. "They ate a lot of clock. They make your offensive possessions extremely important. Every play you have to play clean or that happens in a hurry against a team like this. We're going to work on getting better. We have the right mindset. We have football games to win and that's what we're going to do."

After getting off to a 4-1 start including a win over rival Eastlake North, South has fought injuries through the meat of the schedule and hasn't been able to put together a complete game during that stretch.

"We've played three good ones, but that's no excuse," Duffy said. "The conference isn't changing. We have to put together four quarters. We were doing that early against good football teams. We're not right now. I'll take that on me and we'll find a way to get better and put something together for the kids to play four quarters next week."

South and Chardon were both hit with several penalties in the first half, most of which were pre-snap penalties and holding calls. Even after a 42-0 conference win, the Hilltoppers had to pay the piper for all those penalties by running sprints before Hewitt's post game speech.

"Our team loves to get better every minute of the day. It's fun for us," Bowman said of running after the win.

It wasn't all Hewitt telling his squad to line up. The players know the routine and the expectations at Chardon.

"I was maybe going to let them slide a bit," Hewitt said of the running. "But they held me to it and said 'coach, we have to run.'"

Chardon hosts 3-5 Madison in week nine while South hits the road to take on a Brush team still in search of its first 2019 win.
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​POSTED 10/18/2019 23:00