Burke Catholic survives Chester to clinch top seed in Class C playoffs

By Justin Rodriguez
Section 9 Football Insider
Burke Catholic running back David Ross rushed for 204 yards and two touchdowns against Chester on Friday night.

Leading Chester 21-0, John S. Burke Catholic appeared headed to a walkover in a showdown that was supposed to be competitive.

From there, things became wild and and tense, before the defending Section 9 Class C champs escaped with a 28-24 Division II win. As it turns out, Burke Catholic vs. Chester lived up to its advanced billing.

“It was just a great high school football game,” Burke Catholic coach Aaron Hasbrouck said. “Just when you thought the game was out of reach, Chester came back, then we stole the momentum. I know we had the game circled on our calendar and they had the game circled on their calendar. It was just a gritty game. Hats off to Chester. They don’t quit.”

With the win, Burke Catholic (6-1, 3-0 Class C Division II) clinched a bye in the quarterfinals of next week’s playoffs. David Ross rushed for 204 yards and two touchdowns for the Eagles and quarterback Heath Hoovler threw for 199 yards and two touchdowns, hitting Ross and Matt Ehret for scores.

“I think this was the undercard to the Marlboro-New Paltz game, but it might have been a better game,” Hoovler said. “It was a crazy atmosphere at Chester tonight. It was just a great Class C football game and I’m happy that we won. I’m glad that we could pull it out.”

Chester (5-2, 3-1 Class C Division II) reeled off 16 straight points to pull within 21-16 off the Eagles with 4:16 left in the third. However, Ross answered with a 30-yard touchdown run to make it 28-16. Chester came right back when Kevin Stein picked off a Hoovler pass and returned it 45 yards for a touchdown.

Chester converted a two-point conversion to make it 28-24, but Burke Catholic held off the Hambletonians from there.

“It was a classic game,” Chester assistant coach Ryan Stover said. “It was what high school football is about. We will lick our wounds and get ready for the playoffs.”

Follow Justin Rodriguez on Twitter at jrodsportshs