State College (2-3) at Chambersburg (4-1)
Coaches: SC—Al Wolski. Chambersburg—Mark Saunders
Last meeting: State College 30, Chambersburg 28, last season
Players to watch: SC— LB Ben Roeshot; Ch— QB Ryan Martin
The skinny: When State College has looked at its schedule, the Little Lions could usually pencil in a “W” next to Chambersburg’s name.
In fact, Al Wolski is very impressed with the Trojans.
“They’re one of the best Chambersburg teams, and on film they may be one of the best teams that I’ve seen,” Wolski said. “They run to the football unbelievably. They’ve got great skill people. They’re just a different Chambersburg team than we’ve seen in the last nine years.”
The Trojans proved that early, getting off to a 4-0 start before falling 31-14 last week to Cumberland Valley, their 21st consecutive loss to the Eagles. Included in those four wins is a 23-20 victory over Central Dauphin, which ruined State College’s homecoming with a 34-0 win last week.
Chambersburg is led by lefty quarterback Ryan Martin, who has completed 60 of 106 passes for 759 yards and 11 touchdowns with just two interceptions. Jamal Pickett, who has missed time with injuries, is the Trojans’ main ground threat with 234 yards and three scores on 55 carries.
Turnovers bit Chambersburg last week. Three fumbles and an interception led to 21 points for the Eagles.
“They’re good offensively and they’re good defensively,” Wolski said. “They’re just a good, good football team. They’re as good a team on both sides of the football as I’ve seen.”
Wolski’s club is a little banged up, especially on defense.
“We’re trying to get healthy. We’ve got guys banged-up,” he said. “Right now, we’re playing with some guys we didn’t think we’d be playing with. Some guys have to step up when we have injuries.”
Offensively, the Little Lions struggled against Central Dauphin, which Wolski said was a byproduct of wretched field position.
“We have to start our drives a little better than three of them inside the 5,” he said. “When you start a drive inside the 5, it’s tough to put together enough plays to drive 95 yards without a mistake. That’s kind of what happened.”
The two teams played a thriller last year with Patrick Irwin leading the Little Lions on a frantic six-play, 77-yard march in 41 seconds with a 21-yard touchdown toss to Dan Frey on the last play.
Irwin leads State College in rushing (441 yards) and is 52 of 92 passing for 587 yards and four scores. Linebacker Ben Roeshot’s 28 tackles lead the Little Lion defense.
Wolski says his team is getting better in practice.
“They’re getting it, but we’re not transferring what we’re doing in drills to game situations,” he said. “Again, it comes from inexperience. … That’s not an excuse. We’ve got to coach them up better.”