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Welcome wagon passes Carruthers

September 02, 2006|by MARK KELLER

NEW KINGSTOWN, Pa. - David Carruthers must be hoping that this first impression won't be a lasting one.

The veteran high school football coach, who won six state titles and 206 games in a 26-year career at Linganore and Urbana in Frederick County, Md., received a rude welcome to the Mid-Penn Commonweath in his first game as Chambersburg's head coach Friday night as the Trojans were manhandled by Cumberland Valley, 45-0.

Not that Carruthers was expecting to see the red carpet rolled out for him. He's well aware that Central Pennsylvania teams are out to show him that they are in a different class than those he was accustomed to playing against in Maryland.

There was no question that the Eagles were in a different class than the Trojans on Friday, and that was something that no amount of coaching was going to change anytime soon.

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"I just didn't think we played near as well as I thought we'd be able to play," Carruthers said. "I know there's a lot of work to be done, and hopefully they understand there's a lot of work to be done."

The Trojans struggled in all aspects of their game Friday. They averaged just over 3 yards per carry and had just seven first downs. They completed only one pass - and that went for negative yardage. They had a field goal blocked. Only three punts of over 39 yards saved kept that average respectable.

Then there was the snap that went over punter Carlin Fields' head to close out the Trojans' first possession, leading to Cumberland Valley's first score.

"That punt ... that's tough when that happens. It puts you in a hole that's hard to get out of right away," Carruthers said.

The Trojans defense was simply pushed around by an Eagles team that, pound for pound, was not much bigger than Chambersburg.

Carruthers said the difference was the physical strength of the teams.

"I think it was pretty evident tonight that the strength was missing," Carruthers said. "And there's nothing we can do about that right now."

The Trojans, already fighting a battle with numbers, were missing several projected starters, including two-way lineman Tappah Dinnall and running back Patrick Banks.

Carruthers, however, was unwilling to use the absence of any player as an excuse.

"When we lost those two this week, we said we just have to regroup and get it done," he said. "I told them, 'There's a lot of life lessons to be learned here. When things go bad, what do you do and how do you adjust to it?'"

The Trojans will be making adjustments all season - to a new coach, a new system and new teammates. Carruthers, too, will be making adjustments throughout the season - doing what he can to ease the transition for his players, the Chambersburg fans and himself.

"Once we go back and look at the film, we can see if some of our problems were positioning or technique and see exactly what happened," Carruthers said. "Once we see what the problem is, we can go to work on it and that makes everyone's job easier."

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