CHAMBERSBURG — Chambersburg did not trail Altoona in their Mid Penn Commonwealth football game Friday night … until there was just 21 seconds left.
That’s when the Mountain Lions scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 1-yard carry by Alexander Yost, which resulted in a 27-23 win for the Mountain Lions at Trojan Stadium on Homecoming.
It was a crushing defeat for Chambersburg (2-5, 0-4 MPC), which turned the ball over at its own 38 to gift Altoona (5-2, 2-2 MPC) the final scoring chance. The Trojans had numerous chances to pad their lead or keep Altoona from scoring, but just couldn’t quite get it done.
Chambersburg coach Mark Luther said, “You gotta make the plays, and we had so many chances to finish plays and just couldn’t do it. Good football teams will make those plays when they need them and we didn’t.
“It’s frustrating — we controlled that football game for 46 minutes.”
The Mountain Lions, not known for their passing attack, got a 7-for-14 performance for 122 yards and two touchdowns from QB Brennen Freiwald. The first score was a 35-yard pass to Mark Harrington that slipped through a defender’s hands and into Harrington’s.
The second was a 36-yard screen pass to Alexander Yost in which Yost somehow danced down the sideline and into the end zone. That came with 4:56 left and brought Altoona to within 23-21.
Chambersburg needed to run the clock down. It got one first down on a 5-yard pass from Riley Harmon to J.J. Kelly, but on the next play, disaster struck when the Trojans fumbled and Calvin Troutman fell on it for Altoona at the Chambersburg 38.
The Mountain Lions picked up two first downs on option pitches, then used up the clock on four short runs, with Yost blasting in for the winning points.
The Trojans took the lead in the first quarter after Harmon’s short pass to Rhaigeon Parker turned into a 74-yard play when Parker broke the initial tackle. The TD came on a 4-yard slant pass to Andy Jean.
The Chambersburg defense snuffed a fourth-down try by Altoona, leading to a short field. Harmon hit Jean for another scoring pass, except it was called back for an illegal shift. Eventually, Teegan Humelsine kicked a 41-yard field goal to make it 10-0.
After Altoona scored, the Trojans moved down the field in the final two minutes. The big plays were a quarterback draw by Harmon for 21 yards and a pass to Dayre Senft for 23. Humelsine booted his second field goal, from 27 yards, as the clock expired.
The second half had a perfect start for Chambersburg. After stopping Altoona on three downs, Jermere Jones entered at QB, and on the second play, he found a crease in the defense and ripped through it for a 70-yard scoring run. It was now 20-7.
With the score 20-14 early in the fourth quarter, the Trojans forced another punt. Andy Jean broke a tackle and got to the sideline and had two blockers and two defenders to beat. But the Mountain Lions were able to somehow bring him down at the 16. It was a 74-yard return, but it could have been a TD.
And that bit the Trojans when they had to settle for Humelsine’s third field goal of the game, making it 23-14 with 8:11 left.
Luther said, “It was not just one thing that lost that game for us. We had opportunities to close it out and didn’t. We dropped three possible interceptions. We hurt ourselves with penalties again. And we should have had a touchdown on that punt return. All those things add up.”
NOTES: In addition to bringing back a score, Trojan encroachment penalties also gave Altoona first downs on two scoring drives … Parker had 3 catches for 99 yards … Harmon was 10-for-16 for 168 yards, but was also sacked five times … Humelsine had just one FG before Friday … The Trojans travel to CD East next Friday.
Altoona 27, Chambersburg 23
Altoona 0 7 7 13 — 27
Chambersburg 10 3 7 3 — 23
C—Andy Jean 4 pass from Riley Harmon (Teegan Humelsine kick), 6:00
C—Humelsine 41 field goal, 0:17
A—Tyson Reid 11 run (Ian Palilla kick), 2:17
C—Humelsine 27 field goal, 0:00
C—Jermere Jones 70 run (Humelsine kick), 9:09
A—Mark Harrington 35 pass from Brennen Freiwald (Palilla kick), 2:38
C—Humelsine 27 field goal, 8:11
A—Alexander Yost 36 pass from Freiwald (Palilla kick), 4:56
A—Yost 1 run (pass failed), 0:21
First downs 18 8
Total yards 324 278
Rushes-yards 48-202 28-110
Yards passing 122 168
Passing 7-14-0 10-16-0
Punts-avg. 4-33.0 3-31.0
Fumbles-lost 0-0 1-1
Penalties-yards 2-20 7-90
RUSHING—Alt, Reid 15-113, Yost 16-45, Freiwald 14-24, Jimiere Hardison 1-13, Manuel Miller 2-7. Chbg, Jones 7-79, Dayre Senft 12-26, J.J. Kelly 1-6, Harmon 8-(-2).
PASSING—Alt, Freiwald 7-14-0-122. Chbg, Harmon 10-16-0-168.
RECEIVING—Alt, Harrington 2-52, Yost 3-46, Sean Bettwy 2-24. Chbg, Rhaigeon Parker 3-99, Senft 1-23, Bryce Folmar 1-18, Jean 2-13, Curtis Bryant 1-6, Kelly 1-5, Jake Folmar 1-5.