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Trojans get first win in shootout

October 21, 2006|by CHRIS CARTER / Staff Correspondent

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Chambersburg football coach Dave Carruthers chose to keep the points.

That seemingly simple decision proved to be the difference in the Trojans' 45-43 win over Big Spring on Friday night - the first victory of the year and the first at the new Trojan Stadium.

Chambersburg led 42-36 when sophomore Erik Jacobs booted a 37-yard field goal to give the Trojans a nine-point lead with just over 2 minutes remaining.

But Big Spring was flagged for a personal foul during the play, giving Carruthers options. He could keep the points for a 45-36 lead and take the penalty on the ensuing kickoff. Or he could take the penalty from the previous spot - the Big Spring 20-yard line - to keep the ball on offense and try to run out the clock against the Bulldogs, who had one timeout remaining.

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Carruthers kept the field goal and challenged Big Spring to beat his Trojans on Homecoming night.

"We already had a nine-point lead on the board and they had to score twice," Carruthers said. "So we kept the points. If we would have kept the ball, we might have fumbled or done something worse."

Big Spring took over with 2:16 remaining and marched 80 yards in only six plays - capped by Derek Kramer's fourth touchdown - to cut the deficit to 45-43 with 1:02 left. The comeback ended there as the Bulldogs' onside-kick attempt failed.

"I was thinking, 'Let's not let them get the onside kick, like before,'" Carruthers said.

Big Spring (0-8) recovered an onside kick earlier in the fourth quarter and turned it into a touchdown to make it 42-36. It was part of the Bulldogs' desperate fourth-quarter comeback attempt after trailing by 19 points.

A comeback never seemed out of the question as Chambersburg (1-7) had no answer for Big Spring's no-huddle offense and the inside running of Kramer, who piled up 245 yards.

Big Spring outgained Chambersburg by almost 200 yards and had three times as many first downs. In favor of the Trojans, though, was the big-play threat.

Chambersburg had three touchdowns of more than 65 yards and shifty junior M.J. Davis made Big Spring defenders miss often in rushing for 128 yards and two touchdowns. Davis had three runs of at least 25 yards and also caught a 69-yard touchdown pass from Cheston Smith.

"This is one we wanted," Davis said. "It feels to get a win, especially tonight. The seniors here haven't won on Homecoming, so I'm glad I could help them get it."

Davis terrorized the Bulldogs in open space, but it was senior fullback Taylor Caldwell who broke the first big one. On the game's first offensive play, Caldwell burst through the Big Spring front line and sprinted up the left seam for a 75-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead.

Clutch defense and special teams helped Chambersburg keep the lead the entire game. The Trojans turned two second-half interceptions into 10 points and Jamie Purvis returned a kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown. Jacobs finished with three field goals - the first of his career.

"I'm really happy for the kids to get this one," said Carruthers, who notched his first win as Chambersburg coach. "Sure, it's nice to have, but I'm more happy for them than myself."

Big Spring's Garrett Shumaker took over at quarterback midway through the third quarter and completed 6 of 9 passes for 76 yards in the comeback attempt. Starting QB J.C. Miller was 5-for-10 for 96 yards and returned a kickoff 92 yards for a score.

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