Christian Academy football coach Stefan LeFors calls Centurions running back Austin Chelf a downhill runner. As in, it’s all downhill for the opponent once he gets it going.
With CAL trailing 21-10, LeFors dialed up Chelf’s number several times in the second half and the Centurions (6-2) overtook DeSales 30-21 behind two of his touchdowns.
“He’s a load,” LeFors said. “Early in the year we had a pretty good rotation with him and Nick Payne. We kind of had to get away from that because he plays so much defense. But tonight, the way we were running a particular zone run play I wanted to give Nick a break and have a true downhill runner in there.”
Chelf scored first on an 8-yard run up the middle to bring CAL within four, then on a 52-yard run on the next series to give the Centurions the lead. They scored again on a 2-yard sneak by Nathan Christmas, then held off a late rally by DeSales when Chad Meredith intercepted Nathan Roush’s pass at his own 3-yard line and returned it to the 38 with 4:34 left to play.
DeSales struck first when Clay Crowdis blocked a punt attempt and ran 30 yards untouched into the end zone.
Christian Academy responded with 10 points in the second quarter. It got seven on a 21-yard run by Payne after Colton Talley recovered a muffed punt return, and it got three on a 20-yard field goal by Nathan Bader after Steven Rowland blocked a DeSales punt and Zach Passafiume came down with it.
DeSales took the lead going into halftime, though. Roush completed a 58-yard pass to Connor Shipley during a drive that was culminated with a 2-yard touchdown plunge by Adam Nord. The Colts led 14-10.
DeSales opened the second half by marching down the field with five straight runs, the last of which was a 5-yarder by Nord to give the Colts their 21-10 advantage.
That’s when Chelf took over. Payne gained 18 yards on a delayed draw, then LeFors decided to give Chelf a chance. He delivered with runs of 11, 4 and 8 yards for his first score.
The Centurions held the Colts to a three-and-out on the next possession, and Chelf looked like a runaway truck on the second play as he plowed through the first wall of defenders and then scampered 52 yards for the go-ahead score. The point-after attempt was blocked.
D-Crowdis 30 blocked punt return (Brothers kick); C–Payne 21 run (Bader kick); C–Bader 20 FG; D–Nord 2 run (Brothers kick); D–Nord 5 run (Brothers kick); C–Chelf 8 run (Bader kick); C-Chelf 52 run (kick blocked); C-Christmas 2 run (Bader kick).