With the season winding down and Chambersburg hosting its final home football game Friday, the expectations are realistic.
The Trojans host undefeated State College, and know they're in for one of their biggest challenges to date. And recently, they've been coming up short.
But this week, Chambersburg (1-7, 0-4 Mid Penn Commonwealth Division) is going to continue to look for "little positives," as first-year coach Mark Luther puts it. And that starts with the very basics.
"The thing we have to do is see effort from the guys out there," Luther said. "We've had some games recently where it just didn't feel like we were playing with the effort that we need to be able to.
"I told the guys from the get-go, football is a physical game - humans colliding into each other, and the team that gets after it harder and faster wins the football game. I just felt like sometimes we've been a little soft in that aspect of it. For us as a program to get to the point where we're competing with Central Dauphin, State College, Cumberland Valley, we have to pick up our play from a physical standpoint, and that's what we're hoping to see this week."
There's one thing that's certain - State College is going to bring it.
The Little Lions are untouched this year in the Commonwealth Division. They boast a senior quarterback, Tyler Snyder, who has a completion percentage of 57.1 and has thrown for 1,181 yards; he's complemented by running backs Tristen Lyons and Pete Haffner, who are both approaching 500 rushing yards. Their defense has allowed just 11 points per game, and Paul Olivett, Haffner and Josh Ruffner have all recorded more than 40 tackles.
"They have real good size, they're athletic, and they play real physical in every aspect of the game," Luther said. "They're the real deal in high school football. They do everything very well, and that's why they're undefeated against some very good competition."
For Chambersburg, which is coming off a 56-0 loss to Central Dauphin, small victories are probably what the Trojans are going to have to count on.
"Justin Reichenbach has really stepped up his game, and Spencer Seaman has done some good things, but we need that from everybody," Luther said. "No doubt teams know that (Clay Myers, 577 yards, 97 carries) has been our most successful aspect on our offense, but with our struggles throwing the ball, everybody is just packing the box with eight or nine guys, and it's very difficult to run the ball against that."
Little Lions-Trojans at a glance
Game data: State College Little Lions at Chambersburg Trojans ... Friday, 7 p.m. at Trojan Stadium ... Mid Penn Commonwealth Division game.
Media: Follow @NoahShatzer on Twitter for updates ... Livestream will be available on GameTimePA.com and midpennbroadcasting.com.
Teams: Chambersburg is 1-7 (0-4 MPC) after a shutout at the hands of Central Dauphin ... State College (8-0, 4-0 MPC) is coming off a 35-28 win over Harrisburg.
Series: State College has never lost to Chambersburg. The Little Lions are leading the series 11-0 after a 38-10 win last year.
P.O. pick: Lions by 21.