CHAMBERSBURG — Chambersburg’s offensive line is inexperienced and does not have great size.
Pope John Paul II’s defensive front is big, experienced and talented.
That proved to be a winning combination for the Golden Panthers, who stifled the Trojans’ offense on the way to posting a 22-0 non-league victory to open the football season at Trojan Stadium on Friday night.
Chambersburg managed only five first downs and 161 yards on offense and quarterback Riley Harmon was constantly under pressure, especially from PJP’s T.J. Boccella, who had two sacks and numerous hits on Harmon.
Trojan coach Mark Luther said, “We don’t have much experience up front and it showed. We struggled. Our guys will have to grow up fast as they gain experience.
“But (Pope John Paul) is good — they got off the ball very quickly — and that’s something we’re not able to practice against. We also have some injury issues and a couple kids went out tonight, too.”
Harmon completed 9 of 21 passes for 145 yards, but was picked off twice and was constantly harassed.
Luther said, “We could not get the run game going (21 carries for 16 net yards), so there was no way to keep them off-balance.”
Chambersburg managed to reach the Golden Panther 29 in the first quarter on their opening drive. On third-and-13, Harmon scrambled for what would have been a first down, but he was sandwiched on the tackle and fumbled the ball away.
The Trojans began their next drive on the Pope John Paul 29 after a 30-yard punt return by Rhaigeon Parker. But over the next four plays, Chambersburg had a net minus-4 yards.
For the rest of the game, the Trojans ran only four plays in PJP territory, all from the 44.
Chambersburg’s defense did a nice job of denying the Golden Panthers in the first half, which ended 0-0.
Pope John Paul’s first drive went for 16 plays, but two consecutive tackles for a loss and two penalties ended that drive and a later interception by Jake Folmar ended another threat.
In the third quarter, the Golden Panthers’ Boyd Skarbek had consecutive runs of 28 yards, 20 and 8 to score the game’s first touchdown with 7:43 left in the third period. He ended up with 197 yards on 29 carries.
Then came a 3-and-out, and PJP made it 12-0 on a 6-yard pass from Luke Terlesky to Brent Mitala. After an interception by Dylan Skarbek, Terlesky found Denny Owens in the end zone for a 25-yard score and a 19-0 bulge.
Luther said, “I thought our defense did some good things, but we got a little worn down in the third. We’re a little short on depth and it’s challenging. We have to use some inexperienced guys and some mistakes were made.”
Stanley Lozius had a couple of tackles for loss and Imari Watson snagged an interception for Chambersburg.
On offense, Folmar caught three passes and Jermere Jones, Trever Luther and Parker each caught two.
“I was proud of our effort against a very good team,” Luther said. “There were some positive things to take into our next two games.”
Pope John Paul II 22, Chambersburg 0
Pope John Paul II 0 0 19 3 — 22
Chambersburg 0 0 0 0 — 0
PJP — Boyd Skarbek 8 run (kick failed), 7:43
PJP — Brent Mitala 6 pass from Luke Terlesky (run failed), 4:19
PJP — Denny Owens 25 pass from Terlesky (Benjamin Bosio kick), 2:29
PJP — Bosio 35 field goal, 1:54
First downs 15 5
Rushes-yards 37-233 21-16
Passing 8-13-2 9-21-2
Passing yards 73 145
Total offense 311 161
Fumbles-lost 0-0 1-1
Punts-average 2-33.0 5-31.2
Penalties-yards 7-55 7-50
Rushing — PJP, Skarbek 29-197, Braden Reed 4-17, Mitala 2-11, Terlesky 2-8. Chbg, Dayre Senft 6-5, Antonio Harrison 6-4, Riley Harmon 8-4, Imari Watson 1-3.
Passing — PJP, Terlesky 8-13-2-73. Chbg, Harmon 9-21-2-145.
Receiving — PJP, Owens 3-46, Reed 3-22, Mitala 1-6, B.Skarbek 1-(-1). Chbg, Trever Luther 2-57, Jermere Jones 2-44, Jake Folmar 3-26, Rhaigeon Parker 2-18.
Interceptions — PJP, Dylan Skarbek, Mitala. Chbg, Folmar, Watson.