Chambersburg football coach Mark Luther knows exactly what Cumberland Valley coach Michael Whitehead is saying to his team this week.
“Last year was our first win over them in 25 years — do you think their coach isn’t using that as motivation this week?” Luther said.
The Eagles will try to prevent the Trojans from starting a winning streak against them when the teams tangle at CV’s Chapman Field on Friday at 7 p.m. in a Mid Penn Commonwealth game.
The game will go a long way toward deciding the teams’ playoff fates — Chambersburg is 3-2 (1-1 MPC); CV is 2-3 (0-2 MPC) — and the Eagles appear to have an easier schedule going forward.
Cumberland Valley began its season with wins over Bishop McDevitt and Central York, but has lost consecutive games to Coatesville (28-7), Central Dauphin (13-7) and Harrisburg (37-10). Of those three teams, only CD is not ranked in the top 10 in the state.
Luther said, “I think they’re a better team than last year. They played CD really tough, and then didn’t play well against Harrisburg; they seemed out of whack. I don’t expect that type of play from them this week — it’s their Homecoming and they’ll be ready.”
The Eagles have played two quarterbacks, Alex Kovach and Hunter Grunden, and have their usual stable of backs — fullbacks Derik Sauve and Dontey Rogan and halfback Max Dell’anno (who has missed the last two games with an injury) — to propel their wing-T attack. Logan Ramper is the top receiving threat.
“They will try to pound the ball and get their four- and five-yard gains,” Luther said. “They’re very fundamentally sound and physical. We will have to slow down their running game and force them to pass.
“We’ll have to defend their play-action passes, because that’s what they’ll use. We can’t get caught looking in the backfield.”
Chambersburg has allowed 113 yards per game on the ground so far, and that includes the second half of two blowout wins in which the subs gave up some big yards.
The Trojan offense had its moments last week in the loss to State College, but totaled only 240 yards, and the Little Lions made three interceptions.
Luther said, “We were right there, trailing just 13-10 (in the fourth quarter) with the ball when we made a big mistake (interception) and then things fell apart. If we’re going to win those kind of games, we can’t make those mistakes and we have to find ways to make plays.”
Junior wide receiver Sam Vessah had a good game last week, catching four passes for 50 yards and picking up a key first down with a third-down catch on the drive that tied the game, 10-10.
“He’s starting to do a nice job, and he’s got great hands,” Luther said. “Plus, he’s blocking well and is becoming a complete player.”
NOTES: Cumberland Valley’s game at State College on Oct. 26 will be played at Penn State’s Beaver Stadium … The deal was finalized Wednesday and will mark the first high school game at the stadium since 1988.
TROJAN LEADERS: Rushing — Keyshawn Jones 66-447, 6 TDs; Brady Stumbaugh 41-252, 2 TDs; Jayden Jones 16-179, 5 TDs … Passing — Stumbaugh 41-for-84 (49%), 675 yards, 8 TDs, 5 int. … Receiving — Tyler Luther 13-173, 3 TDs; Terell Williams 8-165, 4 TDs; Vessah 7-94 … Kicking — Tyler Luther 18-18 extra points; 1-3 FGs … Sacks — Tyrion Hodges 5, Williams 3; Fumbles recovered — Carter Sollenberger 2.