The road to respectability for the Chambersburg football team took a big hit last week.
The Trojans - clearly still a work in progress - were downed 62-7 by Cumberland Valley last week, their worst loss since a 61-0 shellacking by Bishop McDevitt in 2008.
On Friday, Chambersburg must travel to Speed Ebersole Stadium to take on Central Dauphin East, a former Mid Penn Commonwealth also-ran that has become what the Trojans seek - the Panthers have become a contender in the division.
East (3-1, 0-1 MPC) did suffer a 28-10 lost to Harrisburg last week, but according to Trojan coach Mark Luther, the Panthers are loaded with good athletes.
"They have a couple of tall receivers that present an issue for us - they look about 6-3 and can jump," he said. "They have a good running back, a solid fullback and the quarterback is quick and athletic. He scrambles well and can really throw the football."
Kane Everson is the quarterback, and he has hit 35 of 67 passes (52.2%) for 625 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. He's also run for 83 yards and three scores. Aaron Arp is the top receiver (13 catches, 217 yards, 2 TDs), along with Terrence Danner (8-172, 1) and Tyshaun Pollard (5-112, 1).
Brandon Hickerson-Rooks (19 carries, 158 yards), Dijuan Gibson (19-128) and Pollard (18-81) are the top rushers. Hickerson-Rooks is also a disruptive force at linebacker.
"He gets off the ball well, he's athletic with good size (6-0, 225) and he's tough to block," Luther said. "We're trying to do some things this week with our protection."
As has been its M.O. lately, Chambersburg had a good start against Cumberland Valley. The Eagles scored first, but the Trojans tied it on a 65-yard run by Clay Myers. But once CV started scoring again, it never stopped.
Luther said, "There was not a whole lot working in our favor. We have to play better fundamental football to play with anybody on our schedule and we sure didn't last week.
"On defense there were times we stopped CV on first down, but then we'd give up seven yards, and then they'd get the first down. We need to make more stops. And when we do, we have to make more plays on offense. We had too many overthrows and drops last week."
Luther did point out that Mason Deshong, who has shifted from linebacker to defensive end, is quickly learning the new position.
"He's been there since the second scrimmage, and each week he gets more and more confident playing there," Luther said. "He did a nice job on Friday - he got after it and played hard. He's had another good week of practice."
NOTES: With his second 100-plus game, Myers now has 360 yards and 2 TDs on 51 carries ... QB Tyler Collier was only 2-for-8 last week, and for the season is 31 of 65 for 318 yards, 2 TDs and 4 picks ... In addition to Austin Kopp being out for the year, the Trojans have two players out with concussion symptoms.