High School Sports

High school football preview: Chambersburg at State College

Chambersburg (3-2) at State College (3-2)

When: 7 p.m. tonight

Where: Memorial Field

Coaches: C – Mark Saunders, third season; SC – Al Wolski, ninth season

Last meeting: State College won 24-6 last year

Key players: SC – Adam De Boef, OL/DL; C – Jamal Pickett, RB

The skinny: State College coach Al Wolski has been involved in hundreds of football games and he doesn’t remember a a pick ‘em quite like this.

“I have never seen two teams as equally matched record-wise and talent-wise,” he said. “We told our kids all week it’s going to be a matter of who wants it. It’s going to be one of those won inside by who’s willing to go a little bit longer on a play and who’s willing to fight a little bit harder.”

One glance at the schedules proves Wolski’s point.

The Little Lions started quick, defeating Bethlehem Liberty, Central Mountain and Father Judge by a combined 95-7. The Trojans also started fast, hammering Greencastle-Antrim, Waynesboro and Gettysburg by a combined 158-7 despite missing offensive lineman and Pitt recruit Aaron Reese because of an illness.

Both teams have stalled in Mid-Penn play, with State College losing to Harrisburg 33-12 and Central Dauphin 32-7 and Chambersburg falling to Central Dauphin 52-27 and Cumberland Valley 41-27.

Still, Wolski strays from calling tonight a crossroads game.

“I never want to say anything is a crossroads game because if you lose it, what do you do?” he said. “Your whole season is shot.”

Wolski, though, said this week might reveal many things about this team, especially on offense. State College rushed for a combined 113 yards against Harrisburg and Central Dauphin.

“We’re trying to condense our offense and get something that works,” Wolski said. “One of the things you go into a game offensively with is a couple of different things you think are going to work and then you have to make something go in one of your series. We are a series-oriented offense. You have to make one of those things work, whether it’s the option, jet sweep or throwing the ball.”

Once a Wing-T program, Chambersburg’s offense, has diversified. Option and veer plays are allowing the Trojans to average 42.5 points per game. The total ranks 33rd among the state’s 597 football-playing schools.

Those who enjoy offense might not get to see this game.

A sinkhole has closed Memorial Field’s home bleachers. Sections of the visiting bleachers were already condemned, meaning most fans will have to watch from the streets beyond the end zones.

Even without fans sitting behind his players, Wolski said the Little Lions are glad to be home.

“It’s the same field,” he said. “We won’t be able to look over our shoulder and see the fans and the band, which is a little bit tough. We’re playing on Memorial Field, which is good. We weren’t sure what was gong to happen, but we wanted the opportunity to keep the game at Memorial Field.”

The fate of State College’s final two home games against Mifflin County and Cumberland Valley will be determined at a later date.