CARLISLE — Chambersburg kept handing out gifts for Carlisle and the Thundering Herd was more than happy to accept them.
The Trojans turned the ball over six times (four interceptions and two fumbles) and Carlisle turned four of them into 24 points on its way to a 34-7 thumping of Chambersburg in a Mid Penn Commonwealth football game Friday night at Ken Millen Stadium. It was the 106th meeting for the two rivals.
Still, after Chambersburg (2-4, 0-3 MPC) scored its only touchdown with 32 seconds left before halftime, there was hope — the Herd led only 17-7 and perhaps the momentum had shifted. Um, not so much.
It took just wo plays for Carlisle to tack on another touchdown and totally deflate its opponent. Louis Shank used play action to set up a long pass to Josh Zipperer, good for 60 yards, to the Trojan 5. On the next play, Shank flipped a pass to Matt Trolinger in the flat and he slanted into the end zone for a killer TD to make it 24-7.
“You just can’t make all of those mistakes and turnovers and expect to be in the game,” Chambersburg coach Mark Luther said. “And yet, when we scored with not much time left, we were only down 10 points. We maybe get a stop to start the second half, and who knows?
“We ran a deep coverage because we knew they’d want to throw deep, and they still caught it. We just can’t seem to find a way to make a big play when we need it.”
Sophomore quarterback Jermere Jones had a rough night, connecting on 7 of 13 passes for 75 yards, but having three passes picked off. The first, by JC Smith, led to a 7-0 lead by Carlisle — on a 10-yard run by Ezeekai Thomas — less than two minutes into the game.
Carlisle’s secondary played well, and all four of the picks were good defensive efforts. Jeremiah Hargrove had two interceptions and Dylan Young had the other.
Luther said, “They made the plays and we didn’t. We had some passes that were underthrown, not my much, but enough that they could pick them off. Maybe a foot further and instead of an interception, it could have been a big play for us.”
Interceptions led to the Herd (4-2, 2-1 MPC) scoring a touchdown on a 3-yard run by Marquise Miller (117 yards total) and a 35-yard field goal by Dirk Godijn to push their lead to 17-0.
On Chambersburg’s only successful drive of the game, Jones hit key passes of 12 yards to Malachi Scott and 41 yards to Rhaigeon Parker. Then, on third-and-13 from the Carlisle 15, he found Isaiah Brumfield crossing in front of the end zone for the touchdown.
But Carlisle’s subsequent score just before the half was a killing blow.
In the second half, the Herd kept the ball on the ground and used up the clock. They got another field goal, of 22 yards, by Godijn, and the final points came when Layton Schmick sacked Jones and jarred the ball loose and Trolinger picked it up for a 19-yard fumble return touchdown.
Chambersburg managed only 157 yards of offense and never threatened except for the one scoring drive.
Luther said, “We just can’t find a way to make a big play when we need it. It’s frustration for all of us, but the kids aren’t hanging their heads. Our lack of game experience is haunting us, and we have a lot of growing to do. We just have to keep plugging away.”
Luther pointed out, as an example, the play that Trolinger scored on just before the half. It was a simple play in which Trolinger came in motion from right to left, Shank flipped a short pass to him and he made one move and scored.
“That’s a play we had seen on film and we worked on defensing it in practice, and we did well against it,” he said. “And then they run it, we and didn’t execute against it like had in practice. It’s like we’re struggling mentally when we’re under the pressure of being in a game.”
NOTES: Chambersburg hosts Altoona next Friday … Shea Makosy and James Lilley each made 9 tackles for the Trojans … Grant Hopple recovered a fumble and Brady Deneen made an interception … Other than the long pass completion before halftime, Carlisle’s other four completions netted just 3 yards.
Carlisle 34, Chambersburg 7
Chambersburg 0 7 0 0 — 7
Carlisle 10 14 3 7 — 34
Car — Ezeekai Thomas 10 run (Dirk Godijn kick), 10:14
Car — Godijn 35 field goal, 2:07
Car — Marquise Miller 3 run (Godijn kick), 9:29
Ch — Isaiah Brumfield 15 pass from Jermere Jones (Teegan Humelsine kick), 0:32
Car — Matt Trolinger 5 pass from Louis Shank (Godijn kick), 0:06
Car — Godijn 22 field goal, 3:07
Car — Trolinger 19 fumble return (Godijn kick), 8:11
First downs 9 10
Rushes-yards 30-75 39-214
Passing 7-19-4 5-11-1
Passing yards 82 65
Total offense 157 279
Fumbles-lost 4-2 2-1
Punts-average 4-28.0 4-37.8
Penalties-yards 4-43 4-45
Rushing — Chbg, Bryce Flenory 10-40, Jones 12-19, Rashawn Williams 8-16. Car, Miller 13-117, Thomas 19-62, J.C. Smith 2-31, Eli Hargrove 1-6, Jeremiah Hargrove 2-3, Colton Fraker 2-(-5).
Passing — Chbg, Jones 7-13-3-75, Bryce Folmar 1-6-1-7. Car, Shank 4-9-0-63, Thomas 1-1-0-2, Lucas Smith 0-1-1-0.
Receiving — Chbg, Rhaigeon Parker 2-37, Malachi Scott 2-20, Brumfield 1-15, Shea Makosy 1-6, Andy Jean 1-(-3).
Interceptions — Chbg, Brady Deneen. Car, J.Hargrove 2, Smith, Dylan Young.