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Trojans miss shot at third straight

October 02, 2004|By ANDREW MASON

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - In a span of less than a minute Friday night, Altoona junior Chris Koch turned in the Mountain Lions' two biggest plays of the football season.

Koch ran 35 yards for the go-ahead score with 3:18 left in the game. On the second play of the ensuing possession, he intercepted Chambersburg quarterback Clay Cummings' pass near midfield to all but seal Altoona's first win of the season - a 12-10 Mid-Penn Commonwealth verdict over the Trojans, who had won two straight.

"This is great, especially at an away game like this," Koch said. "We just fought back."

Chambersburg (2-3, 2-3), which trailed 6-0 at the end of the first quarter and 6-3 at halftime, took its first lead of the night with 6:14 left in the third quarter. Two plays after recovering punt returner Dan Brandt's fumble at the Altoona 8-yard line, the Trojans went up 10-6 on Cummings' 7-yard scamper into the right corner of the end zone.

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But Chambersburg, which began five of its 13 drives in Mountain Lions territory and benefited from 100 yards' worth of Altoona penalties, couldn't build on the momentum.

"When you have momentum, you have to keep it going, especially on your home turf," Chambersburg coach Shawn Kimple said. "You have to execute and we didn't. They played OK football, but we had too many opportunities to not get in the end zone."

Cummings, stymied by several dropped passes by his receivers, was 6 of 22 passing for 67 yards. Tailback Tyler Perry, who totaled 360 total yards in Chambersburg's back-to-back wins over Central Dauphin East and Cedar Cliff last week, caught four passes for 50 yards and rushed for a game-high 91 yards on 18 carries.

But Perry's fourth-quarter mistake proved costly. With just less than five minutes left, the junior fumbled the ball and Altoona recovered it at its own 40. Four plays later, Koch ran up the middle for the winning touchdown.

"If we don't have that fumble, they might not get the ball back," Kimple said. "But that was just one of the mistakes."

Altoona (1-4, 1-4), which outgained the Trojans 218-188 in total offense, went up 6-0 with 5:49 left in the first quarter when Brandt ran 56 yards to the end zone off a reverse.

The Trojans finally put together their first successful drive in the final two minutes of the first half, moving the ball 58 yards on 13 plays to set up a first-and-goal at the Altoona 5. But three incompletions later, Chambersburg had to settle for Travis Schoenberger's 22-yard field goal with 13 seconds left.

"Too many mistakes," Kimple said. "You can't make mistakes in this league. You can't fumble it and you can't drop passes in your hands."

Schoenberger, who went wide-right on a 44-yard field goal attempt at the end of the third quarter, never got the opportunity for the game-winner.

Chambersburg got the ball back at its own 11 with 1:30 left in the game and marched to the Altoona 47 in two plays - Cummings' 17-yard run and a 25-yard completion to Perry. But the Mountain Lions answered with two sacks and the Trojans' winning streak finally ended on a fourth-down incompletion.

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