By Justin Rodriguez
Section 9 Football Insider
Chester — Aidan Wittekind still remembers all the hype leading up to Chester’s Class D state championship game in 2014 against Randolph at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse.
Of course, Wittekind, a freshman at the time, had a rooting interest in the game. His older brother, Dan, was a star two-way lineman on the team. The buildup to the game was certainly worth it, even if Chester lost a heartbreaker, 48-41.
Aidan Wittekind was in awe of the Dome and knew he wanted to one day be like his brother.
“It was a big deal going up there and it was a lot of fun,” Aidan Wittekind said. His brother, Dan, a sophomore, enters his second year as a starting offensive lineman at Marist College. “I really wanted to play up there, maybe one day. It was high expectations with the team back then, but I have high expectations for this team as well. I think we can make a big statement this year.”
Wittekind is one of four Chester seniors who had big-name brothers who made an impact at the school in the last five years. The last names of Anthony Battiato (fullback/safety), Dan Burke (guard/linebacker) and Josh Delgado (running back/safety) are familiar to Section 9 fans. Their brothers, Dan Wittekind, Owen Burke (defensive back), Chris Battiato (running back) and Justin Delgado (tight end/defensive lineman) were all Class D all-state players and participated in state championship games for the Hambletonians.
Chester, which now competes in Class C, were Class D state runner-ups in 2011, 2013 and 2014.
“It’s big shoes to fill, but you just have to practice and be as good as him,” said Anthony Battiato. His older brother rushed for nearly 1,600 yards and 19 touchdowns as a senior in 2014. “It’s cool to follow him after watching his career. We are just working hard. Last year, we had a young team, but we have much more experience this season. We really think we can better every week.”
Added Chester coach Ron Stover: “I’m sure that they hear about who they are following at home. It’s kind of tough, but I think it’s understood. I don’t think that they are overwhelmed, they have watched this for 10 years now. They can handle it.”
Chester opened the season last week with a 36-13 win over Class B Highland. Josh Delgado and Anthony Battiato each scored touchdown runs. Chester plays at Ellenville last year. The Hambletonians moved up from Class D to Class C last season, losing to Millbrook 36-22 in the semifinals of the playoffs. Chester plays Ellenville on Friday night.
“I think we are surpisingly a good team,” Stover said. “I don’t mean that as a negative. Go to most schools and you might hear this grade is no good, that grade is no good. This team kind of had that unfair rap on them. We disagree. We think they are very good. We have some great skills on this team.”
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