BROOKVILLE — Preparing for another Large School Division foe, Brookville Raiders head coach Scott Park is only looking forward.
With Punxsutawney coming to town Friday for another Route 36 Trophy game (7 p.m. kickoff), Park won’t have another key player in the lineup as sophomore quarterback Jack Krug broke his collarbone early in last Friday’s 28-25 Route 28 Trophy loss at Brockway.
Krug, who went 4-for-5 with 68 yards and a touchdown while running for 19 yards on three carries, drove the Raiders to a game-opening touchdown.
On the next possession, Krug fell hard on his left shoulder after getting tackled on a rollout scramble play. After throwing an incomplete pass on the next play, he left the game in pain and didn’t return.
Park said it could be up to at least six weeks before Krug could return. The team already started the season without all-state receiver Bryan Dworek, whose status is uncertain again for this week, and lost sophomore receiver and special-teamer Eli Ross to a career-ending neck injury last week.
And to top it off further, the team’s leading rusher Tucker Wolfe left the Brockway game with a shoulder injury and his return to the lineup is uncertain as well.
Monday night, Park put a positive spin on the Raiders’ early-season adversity, taking a long-term outlook.
“Any time you come in with the adversity we had, without (Bryan) then losing Jack, I thought kids responded well,” Park said. “I’d do anything to get our injured guys back, but the approach is to get others in there and make us a better team, and get more experienced. I think that it’ll make us better, but I think we are when all healthy.
“We just want to keep getting better,” he added. “(Monday morning) at breakfast, we said that all our goals are still attainable. We may not have record we want, but our goal being D9 champs is still there, going to the state playoffs, all those goals are still there and take that approach and play hard. I really think the way they responded and played Friday night gives us a good outlook without Jack and until they all get back.”
Freshman quarterback Tate Lindemuth gets the nod again to replace Krug. He came in Friday and completed 11 of 23 passes for three touchdowns while throwing two interceptions. Park said a week’s worth of getting all of the reps will help immensely.
“Tate was able to keep us in the ball game and we had a chance to win it,” Park said.
Lindemuth threw four TD passes in last week’s 34-6 JV win over Karns City. Sophomore Robert Keth, who caught those JV TD passes, will get most of the JV reps moving forward while senior Trenton Gilhousen will likely back up Lindemuth Friday.
No doubt, he’ll still be looking for senior receiver Cabe Park, who continues to blow up the stat sheet. He caught 10 more passes for 196 yards and three touchdowns against the Rovers and for the season he’s at 25 catches for 486 yards and eight TDs.
For his varsity career that’s just 13 games long, Park has 34 receptions for 816 yards and 14 TDs. He’s just five yards from popping into the team’s all-time top-10 receiving yardage list and he’s now tied for third in career TD receptions with Shawn Bailey.
The Chucks are 0-2, coming off a 42-22 loss to Karns City after starting the year with a 40-6 loss to Clarion.
Quarterback Dylan Ishman missed the Clarion opener with an illness, returned to the lineup against the Gremlins and completed 14 of 27 passes for 202 yards and three touchdowns.
Alex Gianvito caught six balls for 111 yards and two scores, but the Chucks did most of their damage in the second half with Karns City in control of the game.
Ishman is a playmaker. Last year, he threw for 1,554 yards and 24 TDs while throwing just five interceptions and he was also one of the team’s top rushers with 384 yards and three TDs.
“Punxsutawney has some decent size,” Park said. “Plus, there are no gimmees. We talked about that at the beginning of the season and they’re looking for their first win and I’m sure they’re going to do whatever they can to do it.
“More than ever, everybody has to be focused and be prepared and ready to go. Teams will be out to get us. There’s blood in the water and they’ll want to knock us off. We just have to focus on getting better and being the team we’re capable of being going into the season.”
The Raiders won last year in Punxsutawney, 36-0, holding the Chucks to minus-1 yards of offense. The Chucks still hold the all-team series lead, 25-18-1.
The Raiders have gone 17-8 against the Chucks since the series was revived in 1993.