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H.S. FOOTBALL: Chambersburg, Mifflin County eye winnable game

Let's be honest. This is not a championship football game being played by Mifflin County and Chambersburg on Friday night for Homecoming at Trojan Stadium.

But there is a lot of pride at stake – the winner gets to move out of the basement in the Mid Penn Commonwealth Division.

In a similar situation last year, the Trojans prevailed, 20-0, for their only victory. Both teams know this is probably their best chance to crack the "W" column this year.

"The kids firmly believe they can win this game," Chambersburg coach Mark Saunders said. "It's been different from most weeks – there is kind of a bounce in their step. We just have to ready to play."

The Trojans were ready to play last week and jumped out to a 10-0 lead over State College. In fact, it could have been 17-0 except for a dropped pass.

"From that point on, it started to go downhill," Saunders said. "We played pretty well for the first couple of series – we played hard, with a commitment. But we just didn't have enough depth to keep it up."

At least the Trojans are pretty much at full strength for Friday. The only missing starter will be offensive lineman Nate Trindel, who has a shoulder injury that will sideline him for the season.

Saunders pointed out the play of middle linebacker Mason Deshong, who has 24.5 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble.

"Last year he was an offensive lineman and he's worked his butt off to get better at his new position," Saunders said. "He's done a decent job."

The defense will face a Huskies offense that is a lot more dynamic that last year. New coach Brent Hartman has employed a spread look and Mifflin County has averaged 22 points per game.

One player to watch is Malik Sechler. He has caught 29 passes for 503 yards and three touchdowns, and will also run the football several times per game. Sechler is a dangerous return threat, averaging 24.3 yards per kickoff return. Teammate Devin Wileman returned a kick for a touchdown last week in a 56-26 loss to Carlisle.

Quarterback Isaac McClay has connected on 59.3 percent of his passes (47-for-82), for 668 yards, three touchdowns and six interceptions. Nathan Bargo (10-195, 1 TD) and Nicholas Poche (10-107, 1) are also receiving targets. Kahyl Carrington is the top rusher with 159 yards, but the Huskies have averaged only 1.7 yards per carry as a team.

Saunders said, "They try to spread the ball out and they use a lot of different formations. I think we're going to have to score points this week – maybe 21 or more – and take advantage of every opportunity."

He also knows the best way to slow down a good offense is to keep the ball, which has not been a Trojan strength.

"Some of these teams that score a lot of points aren't that good on defense," he said, "so we have to run the ball better and control the clock."

Indeed, Mifflin County has allowed 46.8 points per game, and the lowest point total it has allowed is 41.

Saunders said he's still waiting for his team to put together a complete game.

"I'm proud that the kids are sticking together, and we're trying to put up a win for Homecoming," he said. "Normally, I look for indicators during practice during the week to get an idea if we're ready to play on Friday. I feel like most weeks, we've had good preparation, but we haven't shown it during the game.

"Maybe I'm too optimistic, but I hope we can show it this week."

NOTES >> Trojan passing – Kaden Hoover 39-for-81 (48%), 414 yards, 4 TDs, 4 int., Hunter Leedy 11-21, 123, 1, 1 ... Rushing – Darius Johnson 16-122, Carter Edmondson 29-120, Warren Lee 34-116 ... Receiving –Johnson 10-86, 1 TD, Edmondson 5-58, Clay Myers 5-86, Sam Blevins 5-85, 1 ... Tackles leaders – Josh Honorat 31, Sean Vessah 29.5, Griffin Leedy 26, Myles Braxton 25 ... Interceptions – Vessah 2.


Game data: Mifflin County Huskies at Chambersburg Trojans ... Friday, 7 p.m. at Trojan Stadium for Homecoming ... Mid Penn Commonwealth Division game.

Media: Follow @ShawnCMichael on Twitter for updates ... Watch live stream on and

Teams: The Huskies are 0-5 (0-2 MPC) after a 56-26 loss to Carlisle ... Chambersburg (0-5, 0-2 MPC) fell 38-10 to State College after leading 10-0.

Series: Chambersburg leads 3-0.

P.O. pick: Trojans by 5. Points will be flying.