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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

2021 Preview: Camp Hill Lions

Coach: Tim Bigelow

Classification: 2A

League/division: Mid-Penn Conference/ Capital Division

2020 record: 3-3, 1-2

Postseason: Lost to Bishop McDevitt (Wyncote) in the PIAA 2A quarterfinal, 26-14


Passing: Comp-Att., Yards, TD


Rushing: Att-Yards., Avg., TD

Christian Doi: 25-87, 3.5, 1

Receiving: Rec.-Yards, Avg., TD

Christian Doi: 29-701, 24.9, 4

Payton Shore: 5-32, 6.4, 0


Christian Doi, sr, RB-WR-DB-LB; Peyton Shore, sr., QB-DB; Luke Parise, jr.,RB-WR-LB-DE; Michael Shartle, jr., WR-OL-DE; Grant Cutler, sr., OL-DL; Erik Dick, sr., OL-DL; Robby Rhinehart, sr., OL-DL


Camp Hill sent parting gifts to 12 seniors—a large class that fueled the Lions run to the PIAA 2A quarterfinals where the team fell to Bishop McDevitt (Wyncote), 26-14 last season. Now the Lions must battle a rocky launch to their 2021 season with positive COVID tests in the district stalling camp work just days ahead of opening night action. Head coach Tim Bigelow should have plenty of weapons in the arsenal to compete for another postseason berth, but it will be important to may hay early during non-league play.

1. COVID upends Camp Hill preparation:
Heading into Friday night’s scheduled matchup at home against Fairfield, Tim Bigelow had no idea if his team would be cleared to play after COVID issues popped up last week. The Lions received the green light to get back to full practices just days before its Week 1 matchup against Fairfield. COVID concerns in the district forced the Lions to scuttle its scrimmage Saturday against Halifax — a time Bigelow needed to evaluate a squad that includes a number of first-time varsity players — and limited preparations to workouts with the vaccinated athletes and online Zoom meetings to continuing building knowledge of the playbook up until mid-week. It’s stunted the team’s ability to evaluate its roster and prepare for Week 1. “The only real thing that is concerning for us from a coaching standpoint is that we have a lot of new football players,” Bigelow said of the disruption to two-a-day practices. “We pulled some freshmen. And we really needed a scrimmage to evaluate talent. We can only do so much hitting in our practices. Hitting and tackling is big, and from that standpoint we still have a lot of question marks.”

2. Airing it out:

While the average weight of Camp Hill’s offensive line might edge up slightly to 210 this year from 2020 when the average of the big-eaters was more middle-weight wrestler than heavyweight at 165, Bigelow knows his Lions won’t be knocking the opposing big men out of the trenches. That’s no knock on the fellas up front highlighted by the formidable Erik Dick (6-1, 230) and Grant Cutler (6-0, 245) (check out this cat’s Instagram on lifting), just the state of the bodies currently available at a small school.

That means the Lions will levy their attack through the air—not a secret Bigelow or the Lions try to hide.

“We’re going to take what we are given. We often go against (non-league) teams where no one really throws in their league,” Bigelow said. “They are bigger than us and they pack the box. If they are going to pack the box with six or seven guys that are 225-260, we are going to spread them out and find open grass.”

Execution of that plan begins with the 5-11,150-pound senior Payton Shore who succeeds Daniel Shuster under center in the Lions attack.

Flanked wide, there’s no shortage of big-bodied outside weapons for Shore to target. The 6-2, 155-pound Corbin Ochs followed the path laid out last year by his brother, Cam, joining the team as a first-year football player. His basketball prowess and ability to out jump just about anyone he lines up against should provide plenty of down-field fade opportunities for the pass-first Lions. Ben Tyler (6-3, 180), another newcomer and sophomore Tommy Corbin (6-1, 185) figure to create match-up problems for opponents all season long. 

“We love our wide outs,” Bigelow said. “We feel really good about them being able to stretch the field and find the open gaps.”

3. Getting off to a fast start:

Stepping on the gas early through non-league play will be vital for the Lions’ success this year. Camp Hill cuts the ribbon on their season against Fairfield—a team that last won more than two games in 2017. Follow that with match ups against Biglerville, Susquenita and Upper Dauphin and the Lions have a prime opportunity get out of the gate fast and in prime position for a post season berth before they enter the meat grinder of league play against an improved Big Spring club and perennial powerhouse programs like Middletown and Steel-High.

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