NEW KINGSTOWN — Cumberland Valley’s first two possessions both ended in points for the Eagles and it looked like another long night could be in the works for the Chambersburg defense.
However, on their last nine possessions, the Eagles had to punt six times, were stopped on fourth down twice and were halted by halftime.
That good defense by the Trojans kept them in the game and the offense finally came through with 13 points in the fourth quarter to produce a 20-10 Mid Penn Commonwealth victory Friday night at Chapman Field.
“Anytime you beat Cumberland Valley, it’s big,” Chambersburg coach Mark Luther said. “They have so much tradition. But I’m proud of our kids — we have so many kids going both ways and they put out a superhuman effort.”
CV (1-4, 1-3 MPC) held a 10-7 lead from 3:59 of the first period all the way until early in the fourth. The Trojans (2-3, 2-3 MPC) had just forced another punt and took over on their own 40. The Eagles had done a very good job of limiting Chambersburg on first-down gains, but this time the Trojans changed it up and it worked to perfection.
“They had been overplaying us to the trips side,” Luther said, “and their secondary was shifting that way. So we ran a speed option the other way and it caught them. Teams had been really coming off the edge on us, and the staff thought this might work, so we put it in just this week.”
It definitely worked.
Quarterback Malaki Blair turned to his left and appeared to be running a keeper. But he pitched the ball to Jayden Jones, who quickly turned the corner and raced 60 yards to give his team a 14-10 lead with 10:56 left.
Jones, who finished with 121 yards on 18 carries, said, “That was the first time this year we’d run that play. (Kevin) Lee made a great block on the outside and I saw the daylight then and took off.”
Cumberland Valley was called for holding on the kickoff, which forced them to start at their own 13. A second-down sweep by CV QB Isaac Sines — that been working in the first half — was snuffed out by Carter Sollenberger and the Eagles eventually had to punt again.
Taking over at the CV 32, Chambersburg got one first down on third-and-8 when Blair found Sam Vessah at the sticks. Then on third-and-6 from the 16, Blair hit a wide-open Nate Abbott in the end zone to put the Trojans up 20-10.
Luther said, “We went to trips again and tried to isolate Kevin (Lee) in the corner. Malaki made a good play because he looked there first, which pulled the safety over, and Sollenberger took the corner inside and that left Abbott wide open. Malaki made a great read.”
With 5:58 left and now holding a 10-point lead, it was up to the defense again. Cumberland Valley helped out when its kick returner fell on a botched return at the Eagle 4. CV then took 20 plays to march slowly — emphasis on slowly — down the field. The Trojan defense bent, but never gave up the big play.
Facing fourth-and-2 at the Chambersburg 11 with 30 seconds left, Sines tried once more to catch the Trojans on a sweep, but Sollenberger was waiting and dropped him for a 5-yard loss to essentially end the game.
Sollenberger said, “Early on, they were getting outside a lot on that play. But we moved out and were taking on the blockers better. Since they had run that all game, I figured it was coming, so I just jumped it.
“On that drive, they used a lot of time and kind of ran the clock out for us.”
Luther said, “We bent, but didn’t break.”
To open the game, Cumberland Valley went 80 yards in 10 plays and finished with Sines kicking a 30-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead. The Trojans came right back, going 65 yards on six plays, with Jones scooting up the middle 32 yards to the house for a TD that made it 7-3.
Jones said, “Coming off that first win last week, it really gave us confidence. The line did a better job. That play I scored on, we practiced that a lot this week and it worked. Sollenberger had a good block and I was able to go right up the middle.”
The Eagles then blew down the field, with Sines hitting Griffin Huffman from 26 yards out for a touchdown and a 10-7 lead.
But instead of what looked like a possible shootout, the defenses took over the middle part of the game.
“We weren’t scoring, but the defense didn’t hang their heads,” Luther said, “and we finally put up some more points. We’re growing and we’re starting to make some plays and that’s a positive thing to see.”
NOTES: Tanner Luther’s first punt sailed 65 yards for the Trojans; he averaged 40 on five kicks … CV recovered an onsides kick to open the second half, but Chambersburg held them on fourth down at the 20 … Blair completed 12 of 19 throws for 116 yards … There were no turnovers in the game … Since, as of this writing, Harrisburg has not found a fourth opponent (it has until Monday), it will likely not make the District 3 playoffs, and therefore will host Chambersburg next Saturday at 1 p.m. … The Trojans’ other scheduled opponent, State College (Nov. 6 at Trojan Stadium), lost 22-21 in the District 6 title game to Altoona, so that game will likely be held, too.
Chambersburg 20, Cumberland Valley 10
Chambersburg 7 0 0 13 — 20
Cumberland Valley 10 0 0 0 — 10
CV — Isaac Sines 30 field goal, 8:04
Ch — Jayden Jones 32 run (Tanner Luther kick), 6:05
CV — Griffin Huffman 26 pass from Sines (Sines kick), 3:59
Ch — Jones 60 run (Luther kick), 10:56
Ch — Nate Abbott 16 pass from Malaki Blair (kick failed), 5:58
First downs 12 15
Rushes-yards 25-144 47-201
Passing 12-19-0 10-25-0
Passing yards 116 110
Total offense 260 311
Fumbles-lost 0-0 1-0
Punts-average 5-40.6 6-30.0
Penalties-yards 3-25 6-60
Rushing — Chbg, Jones 18-121, Blair 7-23. CV, J.D. Hunter 21-86, Sines 15-70, Kellan Walker 8-39, Ruben Ibarra 1-5, Derek Sauve 2-1.
Passing — Chbg, Blair 12-19-0-116. CV, Sines 10-25-0-110.
Receiving — Chbg, Sam Vessah 3-41, Jones 3-38, Abbott 3-29, Kevin Lee 1-4, Carter Sollenberger 1-4, Grant Hopple 1-0. CV, Huffman 3-56, Alex Sauve 2-24, Gavin Conklin 2-19, D.Sauve 1-7, Walker 2-4.