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Lake County Sentinel
Chardon’s defense remains untoppable in fourth quarter in 10-7 win over Madison​
           BY JUSTIN LADA
You have to go back 51 weeks to find a football team that put up a single point on Chardon's defense in the fourth quarter. That was a first round playoff game in 2018 against Akron East, in a loss for Chardon. The streak of strong defense and untoppable fourth quarter defense continued for Charon in a physical battle of a win over Madison, 10-7, at Memorial Stadium on Senior Night.

With the win, Chardon (7-2. 5-1 WRC) will find itself back in Week 11 in 2019, trying to keep its defensive effort going.

John Dinko, Vince Ferrante and Myles Mendeszoon all keyed big stops for the Hilltoppers as the Blue Streaks (3-6, 2-4 WRC) made a final push to tie the game up in the fourth quarter.

Chardon kicker Keaton Ziegenfuss nailed a 36 yard field goal with 3:42 to play to put the Hilltoppers up 10-3 and force the Blue Steaks to get into the end zone for the first time all night to tie the game and be the first team in 2019 to score a point on their defense in the fourth quarter.

On fourth-and-one on the Madison 32, quarterback Alex Dragas got loose for a run down to the Chardon 21 yard line with 36 seconds to play.

Madison pushed to pick up nine yards in its final effort to score but wound up falling inches short of picking up a first down with 31 seconds to play. Chardon took over on its own 21 after the stop to ice the game, keep its defensive streak intact and celebrate what looks like a playoff sealing win.

"They smacked us in the face and we had to refocus at halftime and not allow this to happen," Medneszoon said of the defensive effort. "They knew about our defense and tweeted about how strong it was. That motivated us and we punched our ticket to Week 11. "It feels amazing. We have to focus on beating North and then worry about Week 11. We were just saying we have to keep our minds right and do our job. If we do our job and everything will go the way we need it to."

It wasn't the prettiest offensive effort as both teams combined for seven penalties in the first quarter, most for false starts and holding.

Madison had the only offensive momentum early on the heels of an interception by Dragas late in the first quarter that wound up leading to a CJ Kessler field goal for the Blue Streaks, going up 3-0 with 7:07 left in the first half.

​Finally, Chardon running back James Pettyjohn got loose for a 24 yard touchdown run with 3:44 left in the half to put the Hilltoppers ahead.

The defensive slugest by both teams led the Chardon inserting Drew Fentchik in at quarterback in the fourth quarter to give Joey Trivisono a breather. The Hilltoppers didn't score with Fentchik at the helm, but they held steady and with Trivisono back in for their final drive, they got in range for Ziegenfuss, no stranger to nailing critical field goals, to put them up by a touchdown.

"Nine weeks without a point given up in the fourth quarter," Chardon coach Mitch Hewitt said. "We needed it tonight more than ever before. Offensively we had too many self-inflicted mistakes. That's my fault. Clearly I'm doing something wrong Monday through Thursday, so I need to get better there. We punched our ticket to Week 11. I think what makes us really unique because it's the second week in a row we've used second string, we played our third string quarterback in the fourth quarter. Most teams if they lose their starting QB, their season is over. We just put another guy in there and find a way to get it done. Triv does a lot for us. He takes 110 snaps a game. In a game like this, at some point we have to give him a blow."

After the Kessler field goal in the second quarter, Madison didn't find much success offensively until that final drive where it just came up inches short of keeping the game alive and the Blue Streaks had no doubt that if they converted it, they could have pushed the game into overtime.

"I thought our defense played well," Madison coach Tim Willis said. "Our kids played well and we had a chance to win at the end of the game. But we missed a first down by half an inch. I think if we get that first down we're probably going to score. A couple inches and calls here and there make a difference. I thought we had the first down, obviously we didn't. We were already calling the next play. I guess it wasn't. I feel bad for our kids because they came to play. We had to make plays and we didn't make them. You have to score more than three points to win the game."

Chardon finishes out it 2019 regular season at North, 364 days after it allowed its last points in the fourth quarter. 

Madison will host Brush in Week 10.​

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​POSTED 10/26/2019 01:08
Photo by Justin Lada
Chardon's defense stops Madison on 4th down to clinch win.