H.S. FOOTBALL: Local teams participate in 7-on-7s at Chambersburg
CHAMBERSBURG >> After months of waiting, the Franklin County football teams have once again taken the field.
Not that the teams themselves have actually been waiting.
"Football is pretty much all year round anymore," James Buchanan coach Andy Stoner said. "The season ended, and we've been working out since January. Turn to June, and we're back on the field looking to get things going."
Local coaches and teams have the perfect opportunity to get things going. Every Wednesday in June, Chambersburg's Trojan Stadium has become home to 7-on-7 games featuring all five Franklin County teams, plus Fairfield. This year, the Trojans have also added ninth-grade games, which are played on the practice field.
"The season is coming quick," Chambersburg coach Mark Saunders said. "We've been doing a lot of things since January, and we're at the point where we want to have some competition. It feels great to get back out there."
OFFSEASON CHALLENGES >> In addition to regular workouts by area teams since the beginning of the calendar year, they've also had other things on their schedules.
James Buchanan, Greencastle-Antrim and Shippensburg are all headed to the Lebanon Valley College camp in July, and several have participated or are planning to participate in other 7-on-7 tournaments. Just last week, the Rockets were at Juniata's 7-on-7, and Waynesboro has spent time at Williamsport, Md., and Spring Mills, W.Va.
Chambersburg went to the Lineman Challenge at New Oxford and made quite a bit of noise. The Trojans were first in the quarterbacks challenge, and Mason DeShong, Griffin Leedy, Calvin Noel and Nate Trindle teamed up to win the school bus pull.
CHANGES ON THE HORIZON >> Shippensburg has been attending 7-on-7s in Carlisle this season, and there's a good reason why.
"We're trying to figure out if we can go to no-huddle," Greyhound coach Eric Foust said. "7-on-7s are much different for us now because we're running our offense in about four minutes. No one around here really does that, so we've been up at Carlisle more. You can learn from other people that are doing the same things."
Waynesboro was very successful with a no-huddle, spread offense last year, and Shippensburg showed signs of it, especially toward the end of the season. In Week 10, Tyler Gustafson threw for more than 300 yards and three touchdowns, leading the Hounds to a big win over the Blue Devils.
"It's definitely a trend, but a lot of teams that decide in a year to do this," Foust said. "This has been a two-to-three year process for us through the JV team. It's something we've toyed with in the past, but this is the first year that I've felt very comfortable with it with the personnel that we have."
QUARTERBACK QUESTIONS >> There are a few teams in the area that have some questions about who will play under center.
According to Greencastle coach Chuck Tinninis, Spencer Meyers will once again be his starter, and Gustafson will continue to be the man for Ship. JB is also confident in the return of Dillon Sanders, who missed the last four games of last season due to injury.
"Dillon is as solid as he's always been," Stoner said. "He's worked very hard this offseason to get better at his throwing mechanics, and we're expecting a lot of out of him this season."
For the Trojans, there remains a competition between Hunter Leedy, Kaden Hoover and others. Waynesboro is looking to replace graduated Connor Fetterhoff, who set several Indian records last year. But first-year coach Steve Myers has a plan.
"As of right now, I would say it will be Brady Riddell," Myers said. "But my theory is best 11 at all times. He could be the starter Week 1 and might not be Week 2. I think he fits best with that we've got going on, and if he plays the way he's been playing through 7-on-7s, he'll be fine."
LOCAL COMPETITION >> With 7-on-7s featuring all five county teams, it gives everyone a chance to size up the competition.
But not everyone is focusing on that.
"It's more about ourselves," Myers said. "We're not game-planning for these things because it isn't the same as putting the pads on. It's more about tuning up some things rather than worrying about what's going to happen come Friday nights in September." Others are definitely taking advantage of this time while they can.
"Defensively, it gives us a good look at the local teams," Stoner said. "It lets us see if we're lined up correctly to different formations, and we can also see people's skill level and play around with our defenses a little bit."