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Written by: Billy Splain on Saturday, April 24th, 2021
Last week when we had to announce the United X game was cancelled due to a covid situation at Truman, nobody was happy. Not the players, Not the coaches. Not the fans. Nobody. When we made the decision to give the trophy ball to Chester, coach Ladontay Bell was NOT happy to accept it. “No way man, we need to play for this thing.” So we made the decision in a conference call with Truman coach Ben Johnson, on the field that morning, to give the ball to Chester with the caveat that if we can make the game happen, the ball is back up for grabs. I’m EXTREMELY excited to tell you THE GAME IS BACK ON!!!
Not the face of a coach that wanted the trophy without playing. LaDontey Bell.
Well, through some research, many phone calls and determination, the Chester and Truman school districts came together and worked it out. The United X title game will be held at Chester this Saturday at 1pm. We’ll have FULL COVERAGE!
In 1997 Chester High School’s Coach LaDontay Bell, playing at Woodson High in our nation’s capital, lined up as Tailback behind his Quarterback Byron Leftwich at a neutral site, to play for the DCAA championship. Flash forward twenty four years, Bell’s Clippers will host Truman HS on historic A Field at Chester Athletic Complex with hopes of winning the United X Championship on his home field. Lifting the United X Trophy, just as Leftwich did with the Lombardi Trophy as Offensive Coordinator in Tampa Bay. While COVID protocols will limit the size of the crowd, it will not dampen the pride the City of Chester has for this tough, dedicated group of Clippers as they seek the United X Trophy. There will not be any of the famous Sweeet Potato pie for sale, but the best Cheerleaders in District One will have the crowd rocking.
When talking about this weeks practice, Coach Bell said it all came down to one word, “focused.” After refusing to yield a point in their first four games, visiting Academy Park scored four times, delivering Chester it’s only loss of the season. Bell described this week’s film sessions as intense, focusing on being selfless, focusing on assignments, and focusing on Truman’s potent offense. Because of the character of his team and it’s leaders, Bell was not concerned with any after effects of the loss to AP carrying over to this week. He knew he could lean on the team leaders to keep everyone focused on one thing, bringing a Championship to Chester. Leaders like Quarterback Issaiah Freeman, the Junior standout who carries a 4.0 GPA in the classroom, Defensive Back Jahir Palmer a leader on the field and in the classroom boasting a 3.55 GPA and Makel Martin, the 6’4″ anchor of the Line, who is just as imposing in the classroom with a 3.8 GPA. This weeks practice was energetic, with many of the players knowing Saturday will be the last time they get to wear the famed Orange and Black. The team practiced with a focused single purpose of recalibrating both sides of the ball.
On offense the Clippers will need the to create a push to give chiseled Running Back Anton Sterling the crack of daylight he needs to barrel through between the tackles. Sterling uses his 5’7′ 197 pound body as a batter ram against the opposing defense, often dragging two or more defenders down the field. One of the big boys upfront, Freshman Kyren Staples has played this season with a heavy heart after losing his Mother to an illness earlier this year. Bell describes Staples as a tough , resilient kid who has leaned on his brothers on the field to help get through the loss of his Mom. As teams have crowded the box to try to slow down the Clippers pounding run game, Freeman has torched defensive backs with his live arm, often finding the speedy William Smith, deep downfield or on a quick screen.
The Clipper’s defense by Palmer in the secondary, hard hitting, super athletic linebacker Darron Miller and the immovable Lorenzo Patterson on the line. Chester’s defensive unit, who tossed shut outs in every game except last week, is eager to prove that last week was a fluke. The will make Truman earn every yard they get. Middle linebacker Jakai Boegerty , has been the leader of the Clipper’s stingy defense. Boegerty a star in the classroom 3.55 GPA, uses his high football I.Q. to direct the punishing Clipper D.
On Saturday afternoon, all eyes will be on that historic field A just off of exit 6 on Interstate 95. Chester Pride in all of it’s Orange and Black glory will be on display, with hope of the home team hoisting the United X Trophy.
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