Chambersburg Cardinals await arrival of Hurricanes
By MIKE MILLER Staff writer
Chambersburg,PA-Perhaps it's fitting that the Chambersburg Cardinals will battle with the Hurricanes tonight.
The Hampton Roads Hurricanes, that is.
After much of the area has weathered the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee this week, it seems only right. While Lee battered central Pennsylvania with heavy rains, flooding and general inconvenience, the Hurricanes will look to use their size and athleticism to knock the Cardinals out of the Gridiron Developmental Football League playoff picture.
"They have a lot of talent, they have speed and they're just as big as us," Cardinals coach Chad Fauson said. "They're no slouch. The big question for any team that travels is 'Do they travel well?' We're expecting to be in a heavyweight fight."
The winner of tonight's game will face either the Asheville (N.C.) Grizzlies or the Fayetteville (N.C). Horizon next Saturday. If it's the Cardinals, they will have home field advantage.
Like most area high school teams affected by the deluge of rain, the Cardinals were unable to practice this week. Of course, an impromptu break at this point in the year is never welcome.
Fauson believes the team is ready and said a number of players reported to the Chambersburg YMCA last night to work on some drills and get some much-needed repetitions. With fields too soggy for use and weather unplayable, players were reduced to film work over the normal Wednesday-Thursday practice schedule.
"I'm never going to say we shouldn't practice," Fauson
said. "If we could practice five nights a week, with the talent and personnel we have, I'd have no doubt about facing any opponent. Right now, there's little doubt that we're prepared. I believe we are, but there's still that unknown factor. We'll meet up earlier Saturday to do a walkthrough and make sure we are as prepared as possible, given the circumstances."
Through their 10-game regular season schedule, the Hurricanes amassed 232 points and yielded only 71 in the North Atlantic South Division. The Cardinals racked up 415 points and allowed only 54 in nine games.
Hampton Roads has three quarterbacks listed on its roster, including Tyree Sanderson, Levy Price and Jimmy Saunders, whom the Cardinals knocked out of a game last year when he was a member of the Southern Virginia Trojans.
"I know they're going to try and go long and stretch the field," Fauson said. "We're fully prepared for that. They have a lot of speed and I know they have a couple of quarterbacks. One can scramble out and the other (Saunders) is a pocket guy."
Chambersburg is coming off what Fauson believes was its most complete game of the season, a 48-20 first-round beatdown of the Virginia Cougars. In that one, the Cardinals rushed for over 200 yards (105 by Keon Lattimore) and picked off a pair of passes.
Although the team hasn't been together as a full squad since that contest, Fauson is optimistic the Cardinals can keep the momentum rolling.
"It was just like a light switch turned on for a few guys last week," he said. "Some of those teams during the regular season we might've played twice and overlooked a team or two knowing the game wouldn't be as competitive. But now the guys know that if they want to live to see next week, they need to step their game up. I think that was pretty obvious last week. Hopefully this week we can capitalize and turn it up another notch or two."
Though Fauson is cognizant of the Hurricanes' athleticism and strength, he thinks it will be a good matchup size-wise. Chambersburg has eight players with a listed weight of over 300 pounds; the Hurricanes have 11 players 300 pounds or above.
"I don't think there's anyone who matches up blow-for-blow with our guys," Fauson said. "Look at guys like Adam Hoffman. Our guys can probably pull the bus to an away game."
These two teams almost met in early August when the Bergen (N.J.) Hawks folded abruptly before a scheduled game at Trojan Stadium. However, a scheduling conflict prevented the Hurricanes from traveling to Chambersburg.
This time, it's on the big stage with a season at stake. The games mean something now and there's a lot to play for. It's not hard for the Cardinals to get excited, but they also understand the gravity of tonight's game.
"It's as exciting as can be," Fauson said. "But there's also the possibility that it ends in an instant, so that's the downfall about a game like this. You can be on cloud nine in one second and be on the floor wondering what happened the next. That's where we're at."
Mike Miller can be reached at 262-4788, or email@example.com.
Cardinals-Hurricanes at a glance
Game data: Hampton Roads Hurricanes at Chambersburg Cardinals ... Today, at Trojan Stadium, 7 ... Gridiron Developmental Football League second-round playoff game.
Ticket prices: Adult ($10), 65-older ($5), ages 11-18 ($7), ages 7-10 ($5), 6-under (free).
The teams: In last week's first round, the Cardinals (10-0) defeated the Virginia Cougars 48-20 ... The Hurricanes (10-1) beat the South Jersey Lynx 10-0.
Series: First meeting.
P.O. pick: Cardinals by 7.