Michael Kellstrom and the rest of the Chatham High School football team’s offensive line doesn’t score touchdowns or grab the headlines, but they do get a strong sense of satisfaction watching the game film.
They sure loved watching the West Essex sectional semifinal film.
And they hope to get even more enjoyment when they break down the film of the Cougars North 2 Group III state final game against Cranford at Kean University Friday night at 7 p.m.
“What we did against West Essex … we need to do the same thing against Cranford,” Kellstrom said.
If the Chatham line can block Cranford the way it did in the 45-6 win against West Essex, the Cougars might be celebrating late into Friday night — and for the rest of their lives.
Chatham’s line was completely overwhelming against West Essex. Kellstrom and the line pushed the visiting Knights defenders all over the field, right into the offseason.
“It was awesome,” Kellstrom said. “It’s like what (quarterback) Alex Sands said in the paper after the game. We punched them in the mouth.”
Time after time, Chatham guards Nick Zack (5-10, 200) and Colin Ness (6-0, 280) pancaked defenders on traps and sweeps. Tight end Ryan Barnett (6-3, 235) and tackles Graham LeMon (6-6, 300) and Jahanzab Khan (6-2, 230) either picked up West Essex blitzes or created ample running room.
And then there was Kellstrom (6-0, 270), the center, who made his presence felt at the line or in the secondary.
“One play, I think it was a trap,” he said. “I blocked their nose guard about five yards downfield and laid him out. I think (Chatham running back) Justin Hayes got 10 yards on the play.”
It was that kind of euphoric afternoon for Chatham.
Said coach Jason Isza, “Our five linemen don’t get much credit, but we have 3,000 yards of offense and 2,000 of those are rushing. So the line must be doing something right.”
When the shoulder pads are put away, Kellstrom will put on a singlet and hopes to be one of the top heavyweights in Morris County this winter.
“My goal is to be a district champion,” said Kellstrom, fourth in District 10 last year. “It’s been elusive to me the last two years. It’s been a goal since my freshman year. Hopefully, I can get to Atlantic City.”
But first, there is the matter of toppling undefeated Cranford (11-0), which is returning to the sectional final after losing to Parsippany Hills at MetLife Stadium last year.
The work of the Cougars line is one of the keys to the Cranford game. If Chatham can dominate the way it did against West Essex, the Cougars are capable of scoring a lot of points. And if they can control the clock and the ball, Cranford’s high-powered offense (nine games scoring over 35 points this year) will be kept on the sidelines.
Kellstrom believes it is very possible.
“They’ve never seen an offense like ours before,” he said. “A lot of teams they have played had nine guys in the box and they’d just go for it. Cranford likes to use a three-man or a four-man front. Either way, we’d like to open up holes and get to the next level.”
If they do that against Cranford, a state championship banner could find its way into Chatham’s gym. And the game film will be mighty fun to watch.