A crowd of more than 7,000 helped Chambersburg "Hunt the Rams" on Friday night in Trojan Stadium, many wearing camouflage clothing to support their team.
The Trojans had no trouble finding their quarry, but bagging the Rams was a different story - Central Dauphin dominated the line of scrimmage and showcased their impressive skill players in a 52-27 Mid Penn Commonwealth Division football victory.
Zayd Issah and Drew Scales each scored twice and Brandon LaVia threw for four touchdowns as the Rams rolled to a 52-13 lead late in the third quarter.
Chambersburg had its share of big plays - three of its four scores went for more than 60 yards - but the Trojans' defense simply could not handle CD's diverse offense, especially with the Rams' line playing like it was.
"The offensive line had its best game of the year," Central Dauphin coach Glen McNamee said. "We lost everybody from last year except one, so it's a work in progress. We ran the jet sweep well tonight, and then when we faked off that, other things opened up."
Scales (150 yards, 12 carries) and Issah (9-107) were rarely touched on the sweeps untIl after they turned the corner, and the blocking at the edge was spectacular.
Chambersburg coach Mark Saunders said, "A lot of teams will have trouble stopping them. Their line was more physical than we thought they'd be after looking at the film. And we probably won't face two guys like that again this year - they are dynamic."
The Rams' defense was stout in the first half, holding the Trojans to just 34 yards on the ground, and that included a 35-yard jaunt by Jordan Brown. Chambersburg had seven running plays with negative yardage.
Halfback Jamal Pickett said, "They are the defending state champs and they played like it. Their linebackers are good and when they came on the blitz, they got into the lanes and made it tough to get going."
"Their defensive front was very aggressive," Saunders said. "They force the issue when you try to block them. We hadn't seen that type of play yet not that physicality."
Central Dauphin got off to a quick start, which dampened the crowd noise a little.
After Jordan Bowman picked off J.T. Hopple, CD started its second possession on the Trojan 25. Two plays later LaVia found Issah behind the defense for a 30-yard touchdown. LaVia hit Bowman from 4 yards out for a 14-0 advantage, then, after another pick off Hopple - by Andrew Burgwin - LaVia hit Burgwin from 43 yards out for a 21-0 lead.
After one more three-and-out and a 38-yard field goal by Casey Hartzell made it 24-0, Saunders turned the offense over to Ryan Martin.
"Martin is a better passer than J.T. and J.T. is a better athlete," Saunders said. "When you get behind like we did, it's more the type of game for Martin."
Martin did go 5-for-6 for 199 yards and two TDs, but the first points for Chambersburg came on a halfback option pass of 74 yards from Pickett to Kellen Williams. This is Pickett's third year and he's 3-for-3 with three TDs using that play.
Trailing 31-7 after LaVia's fourth scoring pass of the first half - 9 yards to Malyk Harris - the Trojans got the ball back with 45 seconds left and scored in four plays. Martin threaded passes to Taylor Tolbert for 39 yards and 26 yards to Pickett for a TD with 16 seconds left.
In the second half, CD kept the ball mostly on the ground and had 12 running plays of 10 yards or more. Issah ran for one TD and Scales did it twice to increase the lead to 52-13.
The Trojans at least gave the fans some entertainment. Pickett broke through the line for a 64-yard scoring play and Martin launched a sweet pass to Williams that he caught in stride for an 80-yard score.
Saunders said, "We can't get into shootouts like that. But we needed a game like that, a physical game, and maybe that will turn it around for us. Because we can take some positives from this - they had their No. 1s out there on defense when we did our scoring. That should help our confidence."
Notes: Tolbert and Hopple had interceptions for Chambersburg Pickett ended up with 87 yards on 10 carries The Trojans were penalized only once, for grabbing a facemask Brown returned five kickoffs for an average of 34.4 yards.
Ed Gotwals can be reached at 262-4755 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Central Dauphin 52
Central Dauphin 14 17 21 0 - 52
Chambersburg 0 13 7 7 - 27
CD - Zayd Issah 30 pass from Brandon LaVia (Casey Hartzell kick), 6:51
CD - Jordan Bowman 4 pass from LaVia (Hartzell kick), 2:30
CD - Andrew Burgwin 43 pass from LaVia (Hartzell kick), 10:56
CD - Hartzell 38 field goal, 8:06
Ch - Kellen Williams 74 pass from Jamal Pickett (Kane Snider kick), 4:13
CD - Malyk Harris 9 pass from LaVia (Hartzell kick), 0:53
Ch - Pickett 26 pass from Ryan Martin (pass failed)
CD - Issah 4 run (Hartzell kick), 10:37
CD - Drew Scales 5 run (Hartzell kick), 4:18
CD - Scales 35 run (Hartzell kick), 2:16
Ch - Pickett 64 run (Snider kick), 0:52
Ch - Williams 80 pass from Martin (Snider kick), 8:10
First downs 19 6
Rushes-yds. 36-332 25-95
Passing yds. 154 279
Total offense 486 374
Passing 10-20-2 7-12-2
Fumbles-lost 1-1 2-2
Punts-avg. 1.46.0 5-26.4
Penalties-yds. 4-25 1-15
RUSHING - CD, Scales 12-150, Issah 9-107, Ben Mosey 6-72, Malachi Holmes 3-16, Corey Allen 3-8, LaVia 3-(-21). Chbg, Pickett 10-87, Jordan Brown 4-25, Grant Swisher 1-2, Colten Brookens 1-0, Martin 4-(-8), J.T. Hopple 5-(-11).