H.S. FOOTBALL: Watch live as Chambersburg faces Lower Dauphin in rare Thursday game
It's not a misprint.
Chambersburg and Lower Dauphin are playing football Thursday night at 6 p.m. at Hersheypark Stadium, getting a jump on the rest of the Week 3 schedule.
"It's a great opportunity for our kids to play in this game and be showcased – it's the only game that night and it's in a big stadium," Trojan coach Mark Saunders said. "If we can play a clean game and not get into a hole early, it's a winnable game. But we have to be ready in the first quarter and be ready to match their intensity."
Saunders did not feel that his team played well early in the season opening loss to Greencastle-Antrim, but the Blue Devils also made plenty of mistakes. Chambersburg fell behind to Shippensburg last week before rallying to make it close last Friday.
Facing an early deficit against Lower Dauphin might prove even more costly, because the Falcons come in with a 2-0 record and have not allowed the Trojans much breathing room in beating them each of the last two years.
"LD is just like playing a Commonwealth Division opponent," Saunders said. "It's the type of team we'll play on Fridays from here on out. They are physical and they get after it, but they don't mistakes, and that's pretty much the things we haven't been doing so far.
"There's not been much of a difference between having the two losses we have, and having two wins. We don't want the kids to be frustrated, but we have not played up to our potential yet."
Saunders has seen some positives, despite falling to county rivals in the first two weeks.
• Turnovers. The ratio is plus-five, and that can certainly helps boost a team in need of some luck if it continues that way.
"The defense is causing turnovers and that's a good sign," Saunders said, "and we're not turning it over."
Saunders said, "Overall, we are playing better than we were last year at this time. The kids have put in the effort and the chemistry and enthusiasm are off the charts."
But he believes that some of his most experienced players have not been playing at their highest level. And they'll have to Thursday if they want to tackle Lower Dauphin.
The Falcons have built a nice program under coach Rob Klock and are now regular playoff participants.
Klock's son Tommy is the quarterback for a second season. Last year against the Trojans, he connected on only 5 of 20 passes for 107 yards and an interception. But his stats this year look much different – he's hit on 25 of 32 passes for 382 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions.
His top receivers are Evan Morrill (8 catches, 138 yards, 1 TD) and Clay Spencer (8-110, 3 TDs). But the focal point of the offense is running back George Halatowich, who has 36 carries for 257 yards and three scores, with an average of 7.1 yards per carry.
It will be up to the Chambersburg defense to keep LD in check. The leading tacklers for the Trojans are Josh Honorat, Sean Vessah and Griffin Leedy, each with 15 tackles. Right behind is Myles Braxton (14) and Mason Deshong (13.5), while Kelton Chastulik has 12 and Warren Lee 11.
The quick turnaround from last week's game poses a small problem, but it's the same for both teams.
Saunders said, "It's a short work week, but the staff has been calculating how to handle that part of it. My main concern is for the guys who are a little banged up – it's not much time to recover. And the guys who play varsity and JV played last Friday and again Monday, and now again Thursday."
At least it gives the teams an extra day before next week's contests.
Trojans-Falcons at a glance
Game data: Chambersburg Trojans at Lower Dauphin Falcons ... Thursday, 6 p.m. at Hersheypark Stadium ... Non-league game.
Teams: Chambersburg enters with an 0-2 record after a 26-21 loss to Shippensburg ... LD is 2-0 after a 35-13 win over Cedar Crest.
Series: Tied 3-3 after the Falcons won last year, 50-10.
P.O. pick: Lower Dauphin by 16.