CHAMBERSBURG — Chambersburg spotted State College a 28-7 lead late in the second quarter in a Mid Penn Commonwealth football game Friday night at Trojan Stadium.
It appeared destined to go the same way the first 16 meetings between the two schools went — a Little Lion victory.
But the Trojans fought back to tie the game 35-35 by the end of regulation, only to turn the ball over on both overtime possessions and lose a 42-35 heartbreaker to State College.
“The kids fought hard and made plays to come back and tie the game,” Chambersburg coach Mark Luther said. “But we still struggle to make that one play to win a game like that. We’re getting ourselves in that situation, which is good, but we can’t quite finish it.
“I feel for the boys. They fought hard and they were mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted afterward.”
In the fourth quarter, the Trojans (2-4, 2-4 MPC) used a 3-yard run by Jayden Jones and Tanner Luther’s extra point to the the game 35-35 with 6:49 left. The defense held the Little Lions, and after a punt, Chambersburg took over on the SC 48 with 5:23 left. But a fourth-and-2 pass fell incomplete.
State College took over at its 39 and marched downfield, despite two critical penalties against it. Finally, on fourth down with less than two minutes left, Aiden Spitler missed a 34-yard field goal try.
In overtime, Chambersburg had the ball first, at the Little Lion 10. On first down, SC’s Jashaun Green intercepted Malaki Blair’s pass to halt the possession. Then the Trojan defense held firm, with tackles by Kevin Lee and Chase Shaffer on first down and Carter Sollenberger on second down. State College QB Conrad Moore appeared to score on third down, but the play was called back for holding.
Eventually, Spitler tried a field goal from 31 yards, but came up short, sending the game to a second OT.
The Little Lions’ Nehemiah Howell burst 10 yards for a touchdown on the first play, meaning the Trojans had to get a touchdown to keep the game going. On second down, Jones swept outside, turned the corner and appeared to get very close to scoring. But he was ruled out at the 3 and on the next play, Blair threw another pick to end the game.
“We thought Jayden dove and got to the pylon,” Luther said.
Earlier, Blair connected on four touchdown passes — three to Sam Vessah (of 28, 21 and 12 yards) and one to Malachi Scott of 37 yards. He finished 11 of 27 for 214 yards — his highest yardage total of the season.
Mark Luther said, “We thought we could get the ball downfield on them. Scott bobbled his catch three times before he pulled it in, and Vessah made a couple of really nice catches.”
In the first quarter, the Little Lions (3-3, 3-2 MPC) ruled, scoring TDs on their first three drives for a 21-7 lead. In the second period, however, Lee and Tanner Luther each had interceptions for Chambersburg, and State College also lost two fumbles, with Nate Abbott recovering one of them.
But one costly stretch came back to haunt the Trojans. After Luther’s pick, Jones apparently scored on a 24-yard touchdown run, but it was called back for a holding penalty. On the next play, Blair fumbled and SC recovered, then eventually scored, making it a 14-point swing.
Luther said, “It was a long, crazy football game (more than 3 hours). We dug ourselves a hole early — I think with that bye week it was tough to get started — then we finally made a stop and it changed things around. It was 28-21 by halftime, and it was a football game again.”
NOTES: Chambersburg was outgained, 470 to 330, but had a 4-1 advantage in turnovers until overtime … State College was called for 13 penalties for 135 yards; the Trojans had 8 for 70 yards … Moore ran for 108 yards and threw for 162 more, despite completing only 5 passes … Jones led the Trojans in rushing with 85 yards, and Vessah had 5 catches for 84 yards.
State College 42, Chambersburg 35
State College 21 7 7 0 0 7 — 42
Chambersburg 7 14 7 7 0 0 — 35
SC — Jashaun Green 44 pass from Conrad Moore (Aiden Spitler kick), 8:47
SC — J.Green 5 run (Spitler kick), 5:11
Ch — Sam Vessah 28 pass from Malaki Blair (Tanner Luther kick), 3:19
SC — J.Green 49 pass from Moore (Spitler kick), 2:53
SC — Nehemiah Howell 21 run (Spitler kick), 4:44
Ch — Vessah 21 pass from Blair (Luther kick), 3:26
Ch — Malachi Scott 37 pass from Blair (Luther kick), 1:52
SC — Dresyn Green 2 run (Spitler kick), 5:29
Ch — Vessah 12 pass from Blair (Luther kick), 3:13
Ch — Jayden Jones 3 run (Luther kick), 6:49
SC — Howell 10 run (Spitler kick)
First downs 23 11
Rushes-yards 56-308 31-116
Passing 5-16-2 11-27-2
Passing yards 162 214
Total offense 470 330
Fumbles lost 2 1
Punts-average 7-37.4 7-36.7
Penalties-yards 13-135 8-70
Rushing — SC, Moore 22-108, D.Green 16-88, Howell 12-75, J.Green 5-29, T.J. Yoder 1-8. Chbg, Jones 18-85, Blair 13-31.
Passing — SC, Moore 5-16-2-162. Chbg, Blair 11-27-2-214.
Receiving — SC, J.Green 3-100, Kyle Kurzinger 1-38, Yoder 1-24, Howell 1-15. Chbg, Vessah 5-84, Kevin Lee 3-53, Scott 2-76, Jones 2-6.