If you were to make a list of teams you’d like to have on your football schedule as your opponent for Homecoming this year, the Harrisburg Cougars would be far, far down from the top.
Yet that is the team Chambersburg takes on Friday night at Trojan Stadium for its annual alumni event.
The Cougars are 5-0 (2-0 MPC) and are ranked No. 1 in the state in Class 5A. The 2016 PIAA finalist has at least four Division I players on its roster. And it has a truckload of big-time athletes capable of making big plays at any given time.
“The difference between us and them is they have obvious athletic talent, and they play 26 seniors,” Trojan coach Mark Luther said. “Their starting offense is all seniors and most of the starters on defense are, too. We will start around four sophomores. Hopefully in a couple of years, we’ll be in their situation.”
Chambersburg played well for much of last week’s game against CD East, but faltered late in a 36-26 defeat. The week before, Harrisburg pummeled the Panthers, 45-7. Last week, the Cougars flattened Hershey, 60-0.
Harrisburg’s Micah Parsons is ranked as one of the top 3 recruits in the country at any position. As a defensive lineman, he has 9.5 tackles for a loss and 6.5 sacks. As a running back, he has 50 carries for 456 yards (9.1 avg.) and an amazing 13 touchdowns. He de-committed to Penn State, although it is still one of many schools in the running for his services a year from now.
Wide receiver Shaquon Anderson Butts (9 catches, 202 yards, 4 TDS), who has burned the Trojans the last two years, is PSU-bound. Quarterback Yahmir Wilkerson has thrown 97 passes, completing 49 for 923 yards, 9 TDs and no picks.
Running back Jahmir Plant (35-259, 1 TD), receiver Ronald Kent (9-134), defensive lineman Carmonie Williams (5.5 sacks), linebacker Andre White (39 tackles) and defensive back Donnell Henriquez (3 interceptions) also have some star power.
Suffice it to say, the Trojans will have their work cut out for them.
“They are the most talented team I’ve seen,” Luther said. “There is no room for error. On offense you have to go right at them because if you go sideways, their speed kills you; and you have to get the ball out quickly. They don’t do many crazy schemes on offense — they just hand the ball off and run vertical routes and bubble screens to let their athletes play.”
Luther noted that his young defensive line of Tyrion Hodges, Wade Stickell, Tyron Williams and Brock Harmon played well last week.
“They’re doing a better job of using their hands and that forced CD East to pass the ball,” he said.
The offensive line also did a nice job of opening some holes for running back Keshawn Jones, who totaled 169 yards on 21 carries. He now has 394 yards on 61 carries (6.5 avg.) and 3 TDs.
“This will be the biggest and quickest (defensive) line we’ve seen, and I’m curious to see how our kids do,” Luther said.
“Last week we were in a football game against a pretty good team. We did some good things, but we just didn’t play all 48 minutes. I’d like to see our kids respond to playing one of the top teams in the state and hope we can make it a decent football game.”