COLONIAL PARK — For a change, Chambersburg did a lot of things right when playing Central Dauphin in football.
Unfortunately, one thing the Trojans couldn’t do — stop the run — proved to be too big of a hurdle and the Rams rallied for a 42-35 Mid Penn Commonwealth victory at Landis Field on Friday night.
CD (1-3, 1-0 MPC) ran for 418 yards, which more than made up for the fact that it produced a big fat zero yards through the air.
But the Rams, who held a 28-14 lead at halftime, used their rushing attack to come back from a 35-28 deficit late in the third quarter.
“We dug ourselves a big hole, but then we climbed out of it.” Chambersburg coach Mark Luther said. “In a tight game, you have to make big plays to win. We did that to be able to take the lead, but then you have to dig deep to find a way to finish.
“At the end, we couldn’t get the stops we needed on defense, and we had a nice drive but fumbled it away. You can’t finish a game with mistakes like that.”
Central Dauphin’s 1-2 running back punch of Devin Shepherd (27 carries, 227 yards) and David Chase (17-171) were repeatedly hit at or behind the line of scrimmage, but were able to break away for big yardage.
“We missed way too many tackles,” Luther said, “but we got tired. We have a few injuries and too many guys are having to play both ways.”
Countering CD’s ground game was an electrifying passing attack by Chambersburg (2-2, 0-1 MPC). QB Riley Harmon completed 21 of 29 throws for 233 yards, no picks and four touchdowns.
Rhaigeon Parker had 5 catches for 68 yards (1 TD), J.J. Kelly had 6 for 52 (2 TDs) and Andy Jean had 5 catches for 41 (1 TD).
Luther said, “Riley is getting more comfortable with his reads and he spread the ball around. When they put an extra guy on J.J., Rhaigeon made some big catches.”
The Trojans tied the score 7-7 in the second quarter when Rams’ QB Travis Linn was sacked, fumbled, and Sedrick Vessah fell on the ball in the end zone.
But on the Trojans’ next possession, Harmon was attempting to pitch the ball to running back Dayre Senft when defensive end Jeff Franz crashed the party. He deflected the ball, picked it up and ran 26 yards for a touchdown.
Shepherd raced 86 yards for another TD, but the Trojans came right back with a nice drive, culminated by Harmon’s 12-yard pass to Kelly with just 51 seconds left in the half.
CD then put together a killer drive that took just 48 seconds and included runs of 21, 15 and 22, and Chase scored on the last one with 0:03 left for a 28-14 lead.
Undaunted, the Trojans then scored 21 consecutive points in the third period.
Luther said, “It would have been easy, at the half, to just tank it … but we didn’t. We did a lot of things right in the third quarter and got the lead.”
A nice drive was finished by a 9-yard scoring toss from Harmon to Kelly. Then Jean picked off a pass and scored his TD on a 13-yard dart from Harmon to tie the score.
On the kickoff, Teegan Humelsine pooched a kick over CD’s front line and Bryce Folmar made a diving recovery to give Chambersburg the ball right back. Two plays later, Harmon saw Parker get behind the defense and hit him on the fly for a 40-yard bomb and a 35-28 lead.
But CD’s relentless rushing attack was not to be denied. It took only five plays to tie the game on a 2-yard Chase run. After a punt, it took six plays for Shepherd to run it in from the 2, giving CD a 42-35 edge.
Chambersburg had one more shot, but an encouraging drive was halted when, on a third-and-one play, Harmon dropped the snap and CD’s Linn recovered the fumble.
Luther said, “It’s a terrible feeling that we had the lead and lost, but at least that’s the closest we’ve played them in a while. We did some good things.”
NOTES: Chambersburg had 12 penalties for 79 yards … Senft had 18 carries for 61 yards after Brice Flenory was injured early in the game … Humelsine had a 29-yard field goal try blocked … Alonzo Torres recovered a fumble … The Trojans host Carlisle on Friday.
Central Dauphin 42, Chambersburg 35
Chambersburg 0 14 21 0 — 35
Central Dauphin 7 21 0 14 — 42
CD — David Chase 8 run (Brayden Snyder kick), 4:45
Ch — Sedrick Vessah recovered fumble in end zone (Teegan Humelsine kick), 9:11
CD — Jeff Franz 26 fumble return (Snyder kick), 6:33
CD — Devin Shepherd 86 run (Snyder kick), 4:10
Ch — J.J. Kelly 12 pass from Riley Harmon (Humelsine kick), 0:51
CD — Chase 22 run (Snyder kick), 0:03
Ch — Kelly 9 pass from Harmon (Humelsine kick), 8:24
Ch — Andy Jean 13 pass from Harmon (Humelsine kick), 1:47
Ch — Rhaigeon Parker 40 pass from Harmon (Humelsine kick), 0:43
CD — Chase 2 run (Snyder kick), 11:25
CD — Shepherd 2 run (Snyder kick), 7:50
First downs 18 19
Rushing-yards 33-83 52-418
Passing 21-29-0 0-7-1
Passing yards 233 0
Total offense 316 418
Fumbles-lost 3-2 1-1
Punts-average 4-34.8 2-41.5
Penalties-yards 12-79 4-35
Rushing — Chbg, Dayre Senft 18-61, Harmon 14-20, Brice Flenory 1-2. CD, Shepherd 27-227, Chase 17-171, Kyle McCullough 4-26, Keon Dockens 2-7, Travis Linn 2-(-13).
Passing — Chbg, Harmon 21-29-0-233. CD, Linn 0-7-1-0.
Receiving — Chbg, Parker 5-68, Kelley 6-52, Jean 5-41, Trevor Luther 2-31, Jake Folmar 1-30, Shea Makosy 1-11. CD, none.
Interceptions — Chbg, Jean.