Make no mistake about it, Friday’s game will be an uphill climb for the Chambersburg football team.
The winless Trojans (0-8, 0-4 MPC) will make the long trip to State College to take on the Little Lions (6-2, 2-2 MPC) in a Mid Penn Commonwealth Division game.
Once again, the biggest challenge for Chambersburg’s offense will be to find enough success with a downfield passing game to make State College loosen up its defense. That would help the Trojans get some space to run the ball. In its last three games, Chambersburg has totaled only 172 yards on the ground.
“Last week, Central Dauphin was (figuratively) screaming, ‘You have to throw the football,'” Trojan coach Mark Luther said. “They were pinching in on the defensive line and then bringing the linebackers off the edge, and it’s tough to run against that.”
Chambersburg did throw the ball 34 times last week and completed 16, but for only 142 yards.
“We’ve been able to complete passes to the outside, but we haven’t been able to turn those into big plays,” Luther said. “You see those plays made by other teams and they can turn them into 60-yard touchdowns, or at least 25-yard gains. We need better blocking.”
Tyler Collier (27-for-71, 328 yards, 2 TDs, 4 interceptions) will start again for the Trojans at quarterback, but Brady Stumbaugh (33-for-79, 348, 4 TDs, 3 int.) could also see time.
Luther said, “They both had good weeks of practice. We have not given up on Tyler, but we felt at the time last week, Brady gave us a better option. They give us a different look.”
The Chambersburg defense will have its hands full taking on a stable full of Little Lion skill players.
Quarterback Tommy Friberg has completed 65% of his passes (61-for-94) for 1,072 yards (17.6 average), 16 scores and 7 picks. Six-foot-5 Brandon Clark is the top target, with 25 catches for 384 yards and 8 TDs, but Cohen Russell also has 17 grabs for 364 yards and 3 TDs.
On the ground, speedy Tristen Lyons (77-603, 9 TDs) and Isaiah Edwards (43-443, 10 TDs) are a good 1-2 punch, and Friberg (51-321) will also run the ball. State College has averaged 262 yards on the ground per game.
“They want to run the ball and they several good skill players,” Luther said. “The right side of their line is bigger and more experienced, and they’ll run that way a lot.”
With only one game left after this week, Luther is simply looking for improvement.
“We played a good quarter and half last week until we started to make some mistakes,” he said. “We need to play a full half this week and then see if we can make it for all four quarters.”
NOTES: Seth Brouse leads the Chambersburg receivers with 18 catches for 178 yards and 2 scores … Cota Heckman (85 yards) and Justin Reichenbach (89 yards) are next with 9 each … Keyshawn Jones leads the rushers with 511 yards on 95 carries.