Chester's 7-0 after Ellenville rout
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With the field surface completely muddy and saturated from rain, it was expected that Chester and its star running back, Saxon Smith, would be nervous about the playing conditions before the game.
It took just one carry to quell those concerns.
Smith, Section 9’s leading rusher, burst through the line for 67 yards and a touchdown on Chester’s first offensive play against Ellenville. It was the first of five scores for Smith in a 47-16 victory over the Blue Devils.
“I’ve been coaching for 30 years and he’s one of the fastest kids I’ve ever been around,” Chester coach Ron Stover said. “He makes life a lot easier when he can take it to the house on almost every play.”
Against Ellenville, Smith seemingly took it to the house on every play. He carried the ball just 17 times, five going for touchdowns. Smith rushed for 319 yards total and had 297 yards and four scores in the first half alone. His first half scoring runs covered 67, 24, 10, and 35 yards. He only carried the ball once in the second half, a 22-yard touchdown.
“He’s always been the fastest guy in our grade,” lineman Zach Larkin said. “He’s ridiculously good and he’s easy to block for.”
Besides being easy to block for because of his speed, Smith is easy to block for due to his personality and work ethic. Every one of his teammates admires the type of player he's become.
“It’s great playing with him, everyone is so happy to see him doing well,” fullback Michael Pia said. “He’s always giving the offensive line credit, he keeps us loose on and off the field; we love him.”
“He’s a great kid, he doesn’t carry himself like a superstar, he works hard in practice every day,” Stover said. “He’s that type of kid. He’s great to be around.”
Smith’s totals for the season now include 25 touchdowns on the ground, five more through the air or on special teams, and a Section 9-leading 1,598 yards rushing yards.
Next week, Chester will get a crack at Ticonderoga (4-2), the favorite in Class D up in Section 7/10 (North Country). The game will be played in Section 2’s Schuylerville. It will be a steep test for the Hambletonians.
“I told the kids if they have any state aspirations, they’re going to get a taste of it this week,” Stover said. “We’re going up against a good team that we don’t know anything about. They’re going to be tough.”
With Smith running the football, Chester is hoping it won’t be that tough.
“We have to come out strong like we did today,” Smith said. “It’s the biggest game of the season so far.”
Email John Malone at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MSGV_Malone
CHECK BACK this week for an article about Chester’s tight-knit senior class and their season’s main goal, beating Tuckahoe in the state playoffs