DILLSBURG — Here’s a simple, but true statement: The defense won the game for Chambersburg.
The Trojans held Northern York three times on fourth down — twice in the final 5 minutes of the game — limited the Polar Bears to 170 yards of total offense and dictated play enough to enable Chambersburg to hold on for a 23-16 non-league victory Friday night at Robert Bostic Field.
“We did a great job holding them to just two points in the first half, and then the defense dug in and stopped them we we needed them to,” Trojan coach Mark Luther said.
Midway through the fourth quarter, with Chambersburg (1-1) ahead by seven points, the defense forced a Northern punt. Unfortunately, Brice Flenory — who had scored on a dazzling punt return earlier — muffed the catch and the Polar Bears (1-1) took over at the Trojan 33.
Six plays later, it was fourth-and-goal from the Chambersburg 2. Northern sent its bruiser back, Cole Bartram, around the right side and he appeared ready to cross the line when he was hit hard by lineman Avery Kuhns and stopped a half yard short with 4:34 remaining.
After a three-and-out, Northern took over at the Trojan 23 after a good return by Mason Yohn. But Alex Williams gained just five yards on two runs, QB Timmy Bonin was sacked by Sedrick Vessah for a loss of four yards, and Bonin’s fourth-down pass into the end zone with 36 seconds left fell incomplete.
Vessah said, “I was pinching in on the sack and when the left tackle ducked his head I made a move and got to the quarterback.”
The defense really never let the Polar Bears get untracked, despite them having a veteran offense. Northern gained only 88 yards on 37 carries (2.3 yards per carry) and were tackled for a loss or no gain 12 times in the game, including each of its first six attempts.
The Bears scored a safety, and converted twice for touchdowns after Chambersburg turnovers, once from the Trojan 26 and once from the 28, so they never had a sustained drive.
“No doubt, the defense won it for us,” Luther said.
Vessah said, “This week we lifted each other up and came out strong.”
After the defense gave Chambersburg a 2-0 lead when Lucas Lohman sacked Bonin in the end zone, the Trojans made it 9-0 on the following possession when Flenory ran it in from 7 yards out.
In the second period, Flenory ran onto a punt by Yohn, caught it at full speed at the Bears’ 47 and blew past four defenders. He threaded his way down the sideline and his teammates avoided any illegal blocking penalties, giving his team a 16-0 advantage.
Northern’s points came when QB Riley Harmon knocked down a bad snap in the end zone, picked the ball up and threw it away for intentional grounding. It at least prevented a possible fumble recovery for a TD.
Then came a wild third quarter. On the third play, QB Jermere Jones scrambled through the Bears’ defense and raced 72 yards to the end zone. But it was called back for holding. On the next play, Jones again got loose, but this time he had the ball jarred loose and Northern scored one play later on a 26-yard pitch and catch from Bonin to Yohn.
On the next offensive play, Harmon came very close to hitting a first-down play-action pass, but Nate Anderson picked it off, and three plays later, it was 16-16.
“That play-action was set up and it was inches away from being a touchdown for us,” Luther said. “Instead, it’s an interception … and that’s frustrating.”
But after the game was tied, the offense put together an impressive 80-yard rive in six plays. Flenory ran for a first down, then Harmon completed three in a row, the last to Bryce Folmar for 23 yards. On the next play, Flenory beat the defense down the right side for 34 yards and his third score of the evening.
NOTES: Flenory ran 15 times for 89 yards … Chambersburg had 246 yards of offense … Teegan Humelsine kicked three extra points and averaged 35.7 on six punts … The Trojans were guilty of 7 penalties for 55 yards … Andy Jean made an interception for Chambersburg … The Trojans play at Waynesboro on Friday at 7 p.m.
Chambersburg 23, Northern York 16
Chambersburg 9 7 7 0 — 23
Northern York 0 2 14 0 — 16
Ch — Safety, QB sacked in end zone by Lucas Lohman, 4:06
Ch — Brice Flenory 7 run (Teegan Humelsine kick), 0:13
Ch — Flenory 47 punt return (Humelsine kick), 6:01
NY — Safety, intentional grounding in end zone, 3:34
NY — Mason Yohn 26 pass from Timmy Bonin (Yohn kick), 10:39
NY — Talon Belluscio 1 run (Yohn Kick), 9:12
Ch — Flenory 34 run (Humelsine kick), 7:04
First downs 13 9
Rushing-yards 30-131 37-88
Passing 13-21-1 7-13-1
Passing yards 115 82
Total offense 246 170
Fumbles-lost 2-2 1-0
Punts-average 6-35.7 6-37.2
Penalties-yards 7-55 3-15
Rushing — Chbg, Flenory 15-89, Riley Harmon 7-19, Jermere Jones 2-13, Dayre Senft 5-12, Dominic Barbagallo 1-(-2). NY, Belluscio 9-27, Cole Bartram 10-25, Bonin 15-23, Trey Tyree 1-9, Alex Williams 2-4.
Passing — Chbg, Harmon 7-12-84-1, Jones 6-9-31-0. NY, Bonin 7-13-82-1.
Receiving — Chbg, Bryce Folmar 3-31, Rhaigeon Parker 2-30, Andy Jean 3-22, Jake Folmar 2-17, J.J. Kelly 2-12, Flenory 1-3. NY, Yohn 2-31, Magarrin Macke 2-17, Nate Anderson 1-16, Kyle Lamb 1-12.
Interceptions — Chbg, Jean. NY, Anderson.