They did it! The Volcanoes took a great season and turned it into their BEST season since 1983. Chester High School’s football team claimed the Northern Section Division 5 Championship title when it beat the Fall River Bulldogs 50-26 on Nov. 22 in front of hundreds of excited spectators in the stands and surrounding the field.
The weather was downright friendly compared to the freezing temperatures the Vols endured during their 28-16 win over the Biggs Wolverines in the playoff game Nov. 17. There was still snow on the sidelines of the field Nov. 22, but the weather was like an evening in Palm Springs.
The Volcanoes made their intention clear as they were first to score in the historically significant championship game.
“Chester scored first and converged two points,” said Michelle Burt. “Then Fall River did the same. My son Justin Burt (21) scored before halftime.”
The Chester Volcanoes were ahead at halftime 24-14 and showed no signs of letting up. In the lead-up game against the Wolverines a few days before, the Volcanoes suffered what appeared to be a kind of identity crisis.
After winning a place in the championship bracket the team had practiced for two weeks, late into freezing nights, learning new plays to try to shake things up for the Wolverine defense. When the team got on the field, they seemed unsure.
In the second half of the Nov. 17 playoff game, the Vols turned it around to earn a solid winning ticket to the final championship game.
The team on the field Nov. 22 was not that team. The Volcanoes knew what worked for them, and they worked it. Solid confidence is what the Vols brought to the field and it really did a number on the Fall River Bulldogs.
With seven minutes left in the second half, Volcano senior John Longacre made a spectacular run into the end zone widening the Chester lead to 30-14. The crowd went crazy with the chance of victory in sight.
Seniors Tony Rogers and quarterback Sawyer Durkin worked together play after play. Rogers was all over the field: offense, defense and special teams, as he has been all season. Doing his best to get the win for the Volcanoes and with 9:40 left in the game, Rogers scored a touchdown increasing the Vols lead to 36-14. The crowd went wild.
The Bulldogs were not finished. The Fall River fans continued to cheer for their team and got really excited when the Bulldogs made a spectacular run for the goal line and scored. The score was 36-20 with 7:25 left in the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs inched closer. The Fall River fans were right there cheering. There was plenty of time for the Bulldogs to turn things around.
Volcano Isaiah Estacio made an incredible catch and ran all the way past the goal posts bringing the Volcano fans to their feet. Estacio’s touchdown, with 5:34 left in the championship game, earned the Vols a 42-20 margin. But those Bulldogs fans kept on cheering; they weren’t giving up.
The Bulldogs heard them and completed a spectacular pass and run into the end zone. The Fall River fans went nuts. They weren’t done yet, 42-26.
The Volcanoes disagreed and proved it when they scored another touchdown and completed a two-point conversion for the final score of 50-26. The individual stats weren’t available as this newspaper went to press.
The Chester Volcanoes won the Northern Section Div. 5 Championships; the first time they have won their section since 1983. They were happy. Chester alumni filled the stands. The crowd was effervescent, and coach Duane Davidage got soaked with a bucket of ice water.
“I’ve been watching these boys play for four years,” said President of CHS Boosters Matt Bereznak, “and at the beginning of the year they knew they were going to be the Division 5 champions.”
Reflecting on what he has seen in the past, Bereznak said, “Some of the teams have been able to play as good as these boys do on the field, but this team is made up of winners off the field, too. … They are just really good boys.” Bereznak’s son Michael was injured during the Vols second game of the season. The good news is Michael is a sophomore.