Trojans’ mantra vs. Altoona: ‘We need to play smarter’

The 26-21 loss to Red Lion last Friday was a bitter pill for the Chambersburg football team to take.

Terell Williams

Terell Williams

Despite not playing at their best, and despite some calls that didn’t go their way, the Trojans managed to take the lead with 4:02 left, but could not pull out the victory. The Lions hit an 80-yard touchdown pass on the very next play and Chambersburg could not score after having a first down at the Red Lion 16 with plenty of time left.

The reason?

“We didn’t play smart,” Trojan coach Mark Luther said. “We keep telling them: Just do your job. But we saw plenty of times on film when guys were doing the things we told them not to do. It wasn’t a physical thing or a scheme thing — we just had to play smarter.”

That will be the team’s goal when they host the Altoona Mountain Lions on Friday night at Trojan Stadium at 7 p.m. in the season’s first Mid Penn Commonwealth test.

The team’s high expectations for the season took a bit of a hit last week, and how it responds will have a lot to say about how the rest of the season will go.

“Sometimes you need to be humbled a little,” Luther said.

“I hope the lesson is learned — you have to stay focused every second and every play. We just lost focus on that one play and it cost us.”

Altoona comes to town with a 1-2 record, having lost to Hollidaysburg (35-21) and Williamsport (31-0) and having beaten Taylor Allderdice 33-29 last Friday.

The Mountain Lions have a new coach this year, Vince Nedimyer Jr., and if that name sounds familiar to those who have been around for a while, it should. He was a quarterback for the school when his father, Vince Nedimyer Sr., was in charge.

Nedimyer has installed a new offense, which is based on the dive option. Quarterback Marcus Day will turn to either side and either fake or hand off to fullback Ethan Stroup, or keep the ball himself.

“It is similar to what Georgia Tech and Army use,” Luther said. “They are primarily a running team, and they are not comfortable throwing the ball. So the bottom line is we have to stop the run.

“If they could run every play, they would. But an offense like that is a challenge, because you gear up to stop the run and you can give up some passes if you get caught looking in the backfield.”

Complete stats for Altoona were not available, but in the last two games, Day has run 41 times for 134 yards and a touchdown, and has thrown 7 passes with one completion for a TD and one interception. The fullback, Stroup, has 18 carries for 57 yards.

Last week, the Mountain Lion defense recorded a safety and had a touchdown on a blocked punt to take a 23-0 lead in the first quarter.

TROJAN LEADERS: Passing — Brady Stumbaugh 24-for-52 (46%), 430 yards, 2 interceptions, 5 TDs … Rushing — Keyshawn Jones 36-295 (8.2 avg.), 3 TDs; Stumbaugh 28-156 (5.6 avg.), 2 TDs; Jayden Jones 13-154 (11.8 avg.), 3 TDs … Receiving — Tyler Luther 7-129, 2 TDs; Terell Williams 4-54, 2 TDs … Kicking — Tyler Luther 10-for-10 extra points; 0-for-2 FGs.