Red Lion had a senior-dominated lineup last fall and used it to run the table in the regular season and reach the District 3 football playoffs.
Those guys are all gone.
But their replacements are doing their part to keep the winning going. The Lions are 2-0 and will try to make it three straight when they come to Chambersburg to face the Trojans (0-2) in a non-league game Friday at 7 p.m. at Trojan Stadium.
“Red Lion had seniors starting at every position across the board last year, but they’re about 90% seniors again this year,” Trojan coach Mark Luther said. “I told our kids the teams we play will be better each week. Shippensburg (last week) and Red Lion … those are teams now that expect to win every game.”
It is that edge that Luther is having a hard time injecting into the Chambersburg program.
“We had some positives last week (a 21-14 loss to Ship), like making some plays on offense and getting a turnover on defense,” Luther said. “But we can’t get behind 21-0 and expect to win many games. We’re not flipping that switch right away when the game starts. It’s a mental aspect we need to change — we need to get the kids believing right from the get-go.”
Sophomore quarterback Brady Stumbaugh found his feet during a late first-half scoring drive last week and his receivers made some good catches. Stumbaugh is now 18-for-45 for 187 yards and two touchdowns.
Devin Carbaugh caught five passes for 72 yards and a TD, Justin Reichenbach, Seth Brouse and Cota Heckman also became viable targets, and the offensive line did a fine job protecting the QB.
“In a tight ballgame, Brady made some steps in the right direction,” Luther said, “and the receivers made some big catches on third down.”
The other development was that sophomore Keshawn Jones made his debut at running back and picked up 111 yards on 16 carries. He is a speedy and shifty changeup from power back Clay Myers (27-126 for the season).
On defense, Luther said that middle linebacker Jarrett Sechrist has been playing consistently well and sophomore linemen Tucker Eiker, Wyatt Hull and Tyrion Hodges have made some plays.
The defense will have its hands full Friday. Red Lion is led by quarterback Zach Thorne, who has accumulated 320 yards on 31 carries and hit 20 of 35 passes for 346 yards in two games.
Luther said, “We have to contain the quarterback to give us a chance. He’s very athletic and he’s the scary part of their offense. We need to do a good job of slowing down their running game.”
Running back Zach Crossland has 21 carries for 200 yards and the top receiver is Denny Dennison (5-157, 2 TDs).
NOTES: Cota Heckman (apologies sent) caught Chambersburg’s first touchdown pass last week … Red Lion has beaten Waynesboro 35-7 and Daniel Boone 35-14.