It was not a complete Harrisburg football team that lost to State College last week, 20-6. Without quarterback Shawn Lee and several other starters, the Cougars were not close to full strength and the unbeaten Little Lions stymied them on defense.
When Harrisburg (5-2, 4-1 MPC) plays at Chambersburg on Friday night at 7 p.m. in a Mid Penn Commonwealth game, it’ll be a mystery as to whether those players will return to the field.
That makes it just a little bit harder for the Trojans (3-5, 1-4 MPC) to prepare.
“The fact that their quarterback did not play had a major impact,” Chambersburg coach Mark Luther said. “We don’t know what the situation will be Friday; it’s just a lot of speculation. But they’re a different team without him and they struggled to move the ball.
“But the they still have good size up front and a bruising running back (Mahkai Hopkins, 87 carries, 602 yards, 9 TDs), so our challenge is to stop the run game.”
Lee, in six games, is 84-for-121 (69%), for 1,098 yards, 9 TDs and 4 interceptions.
Kyle Williams is the other top threat for the Cougars — he’s run 47 times for 348 yards (6 TDs) and caught 23 passes for 335 yards and 3 TDs. Ameer Grandberry (22-301, 1) and Elias Coke (12-187, 3) are also receiving targets.
The Chambersburg defense held CD East to just 3 points last week and only 183 yards of offense.
Safety Bryce Folmar had an interception, recovered a fumble and, according to Luther, “was in on some key tackles. He played a great game.”
Luther said he was glad to see linebacker Brice Flenory play close to full strength after recovering from an injury early in the season.
Although Chambersburg earned a win last week, the offense gained only 132 yards, with 61 of them coming on the touchdown pass from Riley Harmon to Rhaigeon Parker.
“We’ve gotta be able to move the ball this week, and get first downs, drives and points on the board,” Luther said. “We have to keep our defense off the field. We can’t duplicate last week … if we do, we could be in trouble.
“Their defense is aggressive, but they basically line up and say, ‘We think we’re better than you athletically,’ and just play.”
On a positive note, the Trojan JV football team is 8-0, with only one of those wins having a close score.
“The biggest thing is, we still need some size on the line,” Luther said. “Harrisburg has a 6-4, 240-pound freshman playing varsity and another guy 6-3, 295. We have kids (on JV) who are 6-3 and 6-4, but they weigh about 180. Skill-wise, we’re usually OK, but as these kids go on, we have a hard time matching the size (of the opponents).”
NOTES: Trojan statistical leaders: Passing — Harmon 75-124 (60%), 858 yards, 8 TDs, 4 int.; Jermere Jones 22-35, 160, 1 TD, 1 int. … Rushing — Dayre Senft 81-302, Jones 28-172, 2 TDs … Receiving — J.J. Kelly 25-327, 5 TDs; Parker 21-372, 3 TDs; Andy Jean 27-188, 2 TDs … Chambersburg has scored 18.4 points per game and allowed 22.75 … Teams have averaged 256 yards of offense, while the Trojans have totaled 239 per game … They have averaged less than 200 yards over the last 4 games … In the last 5 games, Chambersburg hit double figures in first downs only twice.