SUNRISE SUMMIT — The Hall of Fame game on Friday night will take a hall of fame performance by the Hampshire Trojans to upset one of the best teams in the state of West Virginia, the Musselman Applemen.
Last week the #3 ranked Applemen started the 2019 campaign with a strong effort knocking off Spring Mills 29-14, and holding the Cardinals scoreless in the 2nd half.
In 2018 Musselman made it to the semifinals in Class AAA and only lost 2 games all season, both against eventual state champion Martinsburg.
The Applemen finished with an 11-2 record and defeated Hampshire last year 47-7.
“Defensively Musselman is very sound fundamentally,” said Hampshire Coach Aaron Rule.
“They have two great middle linebackers who read well, are patient on their key reads, and when they get downhill they get downhill quick and make some great plays on QBs and running backs you think have a play but then all of a sudden they have stuffed it. This is the nucleus of their defense.”
A 320-pound lineman, junior Nate Cole, anchors the Applemen defense. Defensive back Trevin Carter mans the secondary which also features 1st team all-state running back Blake Hartman.
Last season Hartman racked up 1375 yards on the ground, 601 receiving yards, with 29 total touchdowns to pace the Musselman offense.
Last week against Spring Mills, Hartman scored 3 touchdowns and ran for 105 yards and completed a pick-six on a 54-yard interception late in the 1st quarter.
“Offensively they have a good little tailback and they also use their QB as a bowling ball in the run game. Their size and speed can give many teams trouble,” Coach Rule stated.
Against the Cardinals the Applemen rotated between 2 quarterbacks, Caleb Horner and Caleb Hardy.
Horner is the better passer while Hardy is the better runner according to Musselman Head Coach Brian Thomas.
Musselman has rattled off 13 straight wins over the Trojans dating back to 2003 when Hampshire pulled off a stunning 23-7 victory at Rannells Field.
Musselman has a decisive advantage in the overall series holding a 32-4 all-time record against the Trojans.
If the Trojans are looking to pull off the upset, they will need to focus on protecting the football and stopping the run game of Musselman. In other words, the Trojans will need to play like hall of famers if they want to knock off the cream of the apple crop in West Virginia.o