Obviously, starting the football season with a victory is a critical piece to determine how successful a season will be.
After all, the opener is the game both teams have been pointing to for months — through weight lifting sessions, 7-on-7’s and sweaty practices.
It might be even more important for teams coming off rough seasons. So when Chambersburg travels to Greencastle-Antrim for Friday’s season opener, both teams expect to be a little extra hungry for a win.
The Trojans are coming off a 1-9 year (with their only win vs. G-A); the Blue Devils were an uncharacteristic 2-8.
To add to the spectacle at Kaley Field for the 7 p.m. kickoff, Greencastle is celebrating its 50th year of football and is honoring that first team, in addition to welcoming all football alumni to the game. Hint: not a bad idea to get there early.
“It is two very similar teams that are both coming off tough seasons that need to find their identity,” Chambersburg coach Mark Luther said. “It’s a big night for them and I expect there to be a lot of emotion on their side.”
Both teams return a lot of players who gained valuable experience in 2016, but what might turn out to be the key matchup is the Trojans’ still developing defense against G-A’s power running game.
The Devils have a pair of big and athletic fullbacks — Brad Shear (6-foot-3, 215 pounds) and Wesley Medina (5-8, 240) that Chambersburg will have to handle. With an improved line and veteran quarterback Cade McDowell capable of keeping defenses honest with his passing, it will be a challenge for the Trojans, who have not shined on defense in their two scrimmages.
Luther said, “We’ve watched their scrimmages, and Greencastle looks like a better team than last year. The kids played hard and they are executing plays better. It looks like their offense is ahead of their defense — which reminds me of us.”
Chambersburg returns quarterback Tyler Collier (6-7, 219), running back Clay Myers and several veteran linemen on offense. The Trojans were able to score in scrimmages vs. York and East Pennsboro.
“We moved the football up and down the field, but the defense still has a lot of work to do,” Luther said.
The result of the game might depend a lot on how much the defense improves in the final week of preseason practice.
NOTES: G-A coach Chuck Tinninis is entering his 30th year with the Blue Devils … Luther said, “The great thing about playing Greencastle is that we’re close to each other, and you know it will be packed. The weather looks good, too, so it should be a nice opening night.”