Friday night’s Mid Penn Commonwealth football clash between Chambersburg and Altoona will likely come down to one tug of war: Can the Trojans stop, or at least slow down, the Mountain Lions’ triple option attack?
The 7 p.m. game will be held at Trojan Stadium and it is Homecoming.
It would be a much happier Homecoming and would stop a three-game losing streak if Chambersburg (2-4, 0-3 MPC) could prevail. To do so, its defense must execute against the Lions’ run game.
“With their triple option, you have to stop the dive to the fullback, and you have to stop when the quarterback keeps it and goes outside,” Trojan coach Mark Luther said. “In all of their games, their whole offense is all about that.
“They’ve hurt us with that the past two years. But I think we have personnel better suited to stop them, and we have some new things we put in. Last year, we got them into third downs, but then we couldn’t stop them.”
Alex Yost is the fullback for the Mountain Lions (4-2, 1-2 MPC) and he has 532 yards on 96 carries and 6 touchdowns so far. Quarterback Brennen Freiwald has 61 carries for 201 yards and 5 scores.
Altoona does not pass much — Freiwald is 18-for-38 for 405 yards, 3 TDs and no interceptions — and when it does, it’s usually screen passes to Yost (6-142-2 TDs) or short flares to wideout Tyson Reid (6-149-1).
“If we can force them to where they have to pass, we’ll be in good shape,” Luther said.
On defense, the Mountain Lions have moved from a 3-man front to a 4-4 setup this year. Luther says they will blitz more against a team they think they can get away with it, and he expects they will this week.
“But I like our matchups on the outside, with Rhaigeon (Parker), Andy (Jean) and J.J. (Kelly) and hopefully we can make them pay,” Luther said. “We just have to avoid making errors up front and keep the pressure off.”
Chambersburg will get a boost with the return of running back Brice Flenory and offensive tackle Shonathan Desena, both back from an injury.
“They will both help us a lot,” Luther said.
Last week in a 38-14 loss to Cumberland Valley, the Trojans did manage to run for 132 yards, with Dayre Senft (58 yards) and Antonio Harrison (40 yards) helping out. It was Harrison’s first carries of the season.
Luther said, “They had some nice carries. I think Harrison will get some chances this week, too.”
NOTES: Luther said DE Lucas Lohman made some good plays last week … Trojan leaders: Passing — Riley Harmon 60-97 (62%), 608 yards, 6 TDs, 3 int.; Jermere Jones 22-35 (63%), 160 yards, 1 TD, 1 int. … Rushing — Senft 52-235; Flenory 35-136 … Receiving — Kelly 23-316, 5 TDs; Jean 23-161, 3 TDs; Parker 16-211, 2 TDs … Altoona lost to State College 55-14 and Harrisburg 48-0, and beat CD East 28-14 in division games.