Chardon football team adopts Thanksgiving Day practice as charity event – News-Herald

Football practice on Thanksgiving is a foreign concept to Chardon’s football team, but the Hilltoppers embrace it.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 football season was shortened to the point that the state championship weekend was November 20-21. So 2000 state champion Chardon Hilltoppers ended his title run before the holidays arrived.

This is not the case this year.

With a resounding 31-3 against Dover, Chardon advanced to the Division III State’s last four for the second year in a row. The Hilltoppers will face West Holmes in a state semifinal on Nov. 26 at Tiger Stadium in Twinsburg.

That means Chardon’s Thanksgiving football practice for the first time since 1998 – long before any of the current Hilltoppers were born.

“It’s exciting,” said elder Nathanael Sulka. “We couldn’t do it last year, but we’re looking forward to it.”

Chardon will train from 8:30 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning. They will do so with grateful hearts by opening Memorial Field to fans who wish to attend final training before the game against West Holmes.

Fans in attendance are asked to bring a donation of hats, gloves and socks for veterans and their families.

“Andy Fetchik and his wife (Julie) brought the idea to us,” coach Mitch Hewitt said of the Thanksgiving workout with a charity twist. “When Andy was at Mentor, Coach (Steve) Trivisonno was always doing that, bringing in alumni and having practice as an Army service project.

“What the military does is more than a game, but there is a symbolism of both in hard work and dedication and our children respect that. This is an opportunity for us to give back to them. »

Chardon comes off an impressive hammering from a Dover side that entered the game with a 12-0 record. The high-scoring Tornadoes were limited to just three points on a field goal to open the game. What’s more, Chardon’s defense put down Dover by keeping them to 186 total rushing yards – including 35 on the game’s first play.

“I think it’s a testament to our kids because we challenged them and really knocked them out last Saturday after the Canfield game,” said Hewitt, unhappy with the defense in the regional 27-14 win over the Cardinals. “We sped all week in training and the kids responded.”

Alex Henry rushed for 129 yards and a score. He also completed a pass for 19 yards. Over the past two weeks, Chardon has rushed for more than 500 yards, but thrown just 19.

“Our offensive line and running backs blocked so hard,” running back Sean Carr said. “We just wear people down.”

Carr ran for 60 yards and two touchdowns in the win over Dover. He is now tied with James Pettyjohn (a senior last year) for the most playoff points in program history with 78. Chardon kicker Nathan Tager is third with 76 points.

“It’s great, but I’m more focused on winning,” Carr said. “I spoke to James. He was at the game on Friday. He wants me to break him.

Next up for Chardon is a West Holmes side who are 14-0 and coming off a 31-21 win over Holy Name in the Region 10 Championship Game. The Knights are giving up an average of 18 points per game and six teams have scored 20 or more points against them, but they are catching up by averaging 39 points per game behind a fast offense and sophomore running back Sam Williams Dixon, who has scored 35 touchdowns this season.

“He’s an extremely talented kid,” Hewitt said. “They try to go as fast as humanly possible and run as many offensive snaps as possible. They won’t wait for you. It will be another great game.

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