COLONIAL PARK — For the second week in a row, Chambersburg’s football team played a very good game against a favored opponent.
But for the second straight week, the Trojans fell just short of winning.
And now their hopes for a berth in the District 3 playoffs are anything but guaranteed.
Central Dauphin chewed up the final 4:30 of the clock with four first downs on the ground after Chambersburg had pulled to within 28-23 and captured a hard-fought Mid Penn Commonwealth victory Friday night at Landis Field.
“I want so much for these kids to get to the top of the mountain and win a game like this,” Trojan coach Mark Luther said. “I’m proud of them for never giving up and never hanging their heads. We’re so close.”
Central Dauphin bolted to a 21-0 lead in the second quarter, helped by a pair of lost fumbles by Chambersburg.
But the Trojans rose up and made quite a game of it.
It began with a six-play drive in which the offensive line found a groove.
Quarterback Brady Stumbaugh ran for 24 yards, hit Sam Vessah for 11 and Keyshawn Jones had three runs for 28 yards. On first down at the CD 7, the Trojans surprised the Rams with a pass from Stumbaugh to tight end Terell Williams for the score.
“Teams recently had been having their D end hit me, then a linebacker would, and then the safety would come up,” Williams said. “In the middle there had to be some gaps and I just had to find them.”
Chambersburg then stopped the Rams and forced a punt from the CD 30. But it never happened.
A swarm of Trojans attacked punter Zach Pomeroy and Carter Sollenberger blocked it cleanly. The ball quickly rolled into the end zone and Sollenberger recovered it for a touchdown and a 21-14 score.
“We saw something that we thought might give us chance at a block,” Luther said.
Early in the third quarter, Chambersburg launched an 18-play drive that covered 80 yards, which included converting a pair of fourth downs on runs by Stumbaugh.
Unfortunately, the drive stalled at the CD 13 when Stumbaugh was sacked and the Trojans had to settle for a 30-yard field goal by Tyler Luther to make it 21-17.
Stumbaugh said, “We were able to do almost anything we wanted to do most of the time. They do a lot of things with their movement on defense that makes it hard, but I think we were ready. We did OK except for the three fumbles we lost.”
The Rams scored what proved to be the winning points on their next possession, when Timmy Smith — who had 178 yards — broke through a big hole in the center of the Chambersburg defense and zoomed 46 yards to give his team a 28-17 lead.
The Trojans then went on a 19-play drive that was clutch in plenty of ways.
Stumbaugh hit Kevin Lee for 20 yards on third-and-7 and Williams for 9 yards on third-and-7. He ran for 2 yards on fourth-and-1. And, finally, he found Lee open for 34 yards on fourth-and-25.
Williams caught a 2-yard pass from Stumbaugh three plays later to make it 28-23. Stumbaugh appeared to break the goal line’s plane on a two-point conversion, but was ruled down.
Luther said, “We did some nice things, but we got down 21-0 and we could never quite even it up.”
With 4:30 left and needing a touchdown, it was up to Chambersburg’s defense to get the ball back. But Central Dauphin’s offensive line — which includes two Division I recruits — took over.
Smith carried five times for 45 yards, the Rams produced four first downs and the clock ran out.
Williams said, “We did have trouble with their line. We just have to get a little better.”
“I think our front three was a little tired by that point,” Luther said. “We just couldn’t hold on and their offensive line took over.”
Stumbaugh had one of his best games at quarterback, hitting 16 of 24 passes for 145 yards, and ran for several key first downs. Lee had his best game, catching five balls for 77 yards and had an interception.
Luther said, “Brady stood in there better tonight and the receivers did well — getting open and making some good catches.”
Now for the playoff picture. It’s not good.
With a win tonight, Red Lion slipped past Chambersburg into the No. 8 spot in the District 3 power rankings and only the top eight get in. The ratings are very close, so even if both teams win next week (over 2-win teams), it will come down to how all of each team’s opponents fare.
It’s not something you want to hang your hat on. The Trojans will have to beat Carlisle and hope they get some help.
Central Dauphin 28, Chambersburg 23
Chambersburg 0 14 3 6 — 23
Central Dauphin 7 14 0 7 — 28
CD — Nick Chimienti 11 pass from Max Mosey (Zach Pomeroy kick), 7:10
CD — Elijah Vargas 1 run (Pomeroy kick), 9:59
CD — Marques Holton 1 run (Pomeroy kick, 6:13
Ch — Terell Williams 7 pass from Brady Stumbaugh (Tyler Luther kick), 3:45
Ch — Carter Sollenberger blocked punt recovered in end zone (Ty.Luther kick), 0:47
Ch — Ty.Luther 30 field goal, 1:41
CD — Timmy Smith 46 run (Pomeroy kick), 11:50
Ch — Williams 2 pass from Stumbaugh (run failed), 4:30
First downs 16 20
Rushes-yards 32-148 38-252
Passing 16-24-0 14-19-1
Passing yards 145 224
Total offense 293 476
Fumbles-lost 3-3 2-1
Punts-average 2-32.5 1-33.0
Penalties-yards 3-15 3-31
Rushing — Chbg, Keyshawn Jones 18-111, Stumbaugh 14-37. CD, Smith 21-178, Daniel Ficca 6-25,Nyeem Sims 1-23, Vargas 4-16, Tyrell English 1-5, Mosey 3-4, Holton 2-1.
Passing — Chbg, Stumbaugh 16-24–0-145. CD, Mosey 14-19-1-224.
Receiving — Chbg, Kevin Lee 5-77, Sam Vessah 3-37, Williams 3-18, Kyere Morton 1-8, Ty.Luther 4-5. CD, Jackson Talbott 3-76, Chimienti 3-66, Malachi Bowman 3-54, Smith 4-22, Ficca 1-6.
Missed field goal — CD, Pomeroy 25 (wide left).
Interceptions — Chbg, Lee.
Sacks — Chbg, Williams.