York High football coach Shawn Heinold watched his team's quarterback, James Way, make a lot of outstanding plays the last two seasons, but one, in particular, sticks out in Heinold's mind.
The Bearcats' coach will never forget a play that Way made this past season in York's 49-35 victory over Spring Grove.
"He was getting a lot of pressure, and ended up throwing the ball off his back foot," Heinold said. "The ball was in the air 40 or 50 yards, and it ended up being a touchdown pass to Dakeem Dennison. That was just an unbelievable play."
Way, a third-generation Bearcat (his father and grandfather played for York) used his play-making skills to help his team attain the No. 2 ranking in team passing among 22 York-Adams teams and the No. 6 ranking in rushing. The 6-foot, 4-inch, 200-pound junior completed 117 of 208 pass attempts (56.3 percent) for 1,624 yards and 17 touchdowns. Way also averaged 7.2 yards a carry with 142 rushes for 1,024 yards. He scored eight touchdowns.
"I thought he was the best athlete in the county, and no one had an answer for him," Heinold said.
Way's accomplishments earned him the accolades of opposing coaches, who named him York-Adams Division I Player of the Year.
Central York coach Brad Livingston and Dallastown coach Kevin Myers were selected as Division I Co-Coaches of the Year.
Wes Beans of New Oxford gained the Division II Player of the Year honor, and Dover's Eric Lam was voted Division II Coach of the Year.
Trevor Hildebrand of Littlestown is the Division III Player of the Year, and Mike Lippy of Littlestown and Darwin Seiler of Fairfield are the Division III Co-Coaches of the Year.
Way was thrilled with the selection, which he didn't expect.
"I was shocked I got Player of the Year," he said. "There are a lot of good players in our division. I didn't think they noticed my play."
The coaches noticed the quarterback who improved in a number of areas over his sophomore season.
"His poise in the pocket and his knowledge of the game were much better, and his accuracy got much better," Heinold said. "The kid is always working out. I can't get him to go home."
Way is looking forward to next season -- for himself and his teammates.
"We want to win the division," he said. "We just have to work harder and play as a team. For myself, I just want to work hard in the offseason to be a better all-around player. There's always something you can do better."
Way will be doing something new in the spring. He'll be running on the York High track team. Way is aiming to be part of the 400 relay team along with competing in the 100 dash.
"I always wanted to do it (join the track team), and Coach (Tony) Jones asked me, and I decided to do it," Way said. "I want to work on my acceleration."
A faster Way will pose an even bigger headache for opposing defensive coordinators next season.
Other award winners: Livingston reached a milestone during his 32nd season as a head coach by earning his 200th career victory. He directed the 8-3 Panthers to the Division I title. Myers, meanwhile, compiled a 10-3 record with a Dallastown team that set a school record by reaching the District 3-AAAA semifinals. The Wildcats finished second to Central in Division I.
Beans rushed for 1,408 yards, caught 23 passes for 233 yards and scored 23 touchdowns. On defense, the 5-9, 170-pound senior recorded 113 tackles and intercepted two passes. Lam's Dover team won its first outright football title when it captured Division II with a 5-0 mark. The Eagles went 9-3 overall and advanced to the second round of the District 3-AAA playoffs earning another program first, a victory in the district playoffs.
Hildebrand passed for 1,665 yards and 10 touchdowns and ran for 391 yards and seven touchdowns for the Thunderbolts, who won the York-Adams Division III crown and finished second in District 3-AA. Lippy improved his impressive coaching record to 92-35-1 during Littlestown's 12-1 season. Seiler's Fairfield team, meanwhile, recorded the best record in the program's 11-year history when the Green Knights won six games and lost five, with the final loss coming to powerful Steel-High in the District 3-A playoffs.
Following are stats for the first-team all-stars in each division:
Quarterback: Dylan Hose, Central (1,459 yards passing, 16 touchdown passes, 671 yards rushing).
Running Backs: Rob Catchings, Dallastown (1,452 yards rushing, 15 touchdowns); Jeff Delaughter, Spring Grove (1,484 yards rushing, 14 touchdowns); Breaun Randle, Central (1,290 yards rushing, 12 touchdowns).
Wide Receivers: Logan Hall, Spring Grove (56 receptions for 937 yards, 10 touchdowns); Dakeem Dennison, York High (40 receptions for 636 yards, 13 touchdowns); Malik Lewis, Dallastown (52 receptions for 834 yards, 10 touchdowns).
Tight End: Logan Bowman, South Western (18 receptions for 309 yards, four touchdowns).
Kicker: Andrew Luckenbaugh, Spring Grove (34 of 34 on extra points, 12 field goals, 17 touchbacks).
Specialist: Malik Lewis, Dallastown (25 punt returns for 363 yards, 14.5 average, and five kick returns for 17-plus average).
Defensive Tackles: David Shaw, Spring Grove (63 tackles, five sacks, one fumble recovery); De'Andre Gaskins, Spring Grove (67 tackles, nine sacks); Jordan Woods, Dallastown (69 tackles, three tackles for a loss, three caused fumbles).
Defensive Ends: Sam Lowe, Red Lion (73 tackles, six sacks, three recovered fumbles); Kyle Micik, Spring Grove (70 tackles, 14 sacks, one blocked field goal, one blocked extra point).
Inside Linebackers: Drew Romesberg, Dallastown (124 tackles, 11 tackles for a loss, two sacks); Jonah Mays, Dallastown (81 tackles, two tackles for a loss, one sack, two interceptions, three fumble recoveries); Zack Stauffer, Spring Grove (140 tackles, three interceptions, four sacks, two recovered fumbles); Collin George, Central (74 tackles, two sacks, two recovered fumbles).
Outside Linebackers: Nick Sutton, Dallastown (94 tackles, two sacks, one interception); Nick Erickson, Spring Grove (77 tackles, three sacks).
Defensive Backs: Bryshon Sweeney, York High (42 tackles, three interceptions); Malik Lewis, Dallastown (33 tackles, four interceptions); Addison Quinones, Dallastown (114 tackles, two interceptions); Ian Slaven, Spring Grove (65 tackles, three sacks, one recovered fumble); Logan Bowman, South Western (42 solo tackles, three interceptions).
Punter: Nick Sutton, Dallastown (41 punts for 1,623 yards, 39.95 average, one 69-yard punt).
Quarterback: Logan Ambrose, Dover (550 yards rushing, 14 touchdowns, 355 yards passing).
Fullback: Isaiah Green, Dover (1,161 yards rushing, 14 touchdowns).
Running backs: Wes Beans, New Oxford (1,408 yards rushing, 23 touchdowns); Mike Young, Kennard-Dale (1,154 yards rushing, 10 touchdowns).
Wide Receivers: Jowan Lewis-Kearse, Northeastern (21 receptions for 402 yards, four touchdowns); Ian Lichty, West York (21 receptions for 282 yards, one touchdown).
Tight End: Luke Knott, Susquehannock (nine receptions for 139 yards); Malik Allen, Dover (five receptions for 121 yards, two touchdowns).
Defensive Ends: Kyle Narber, West York (40 tackles, 1.5 sacks); Marc O'Brien, New Oxford (53 tackles, three sacks, one recovered fumble); Dan Bisking, Dover (46 tackles, three sacks).
Defensive Tackles: Charlie Hoffman, New Oxford (62 tackles, 1.5 sacks, one recovered fumble); Logan Foore, Susquehannock (54 tackles, one sack); Brian Lehman, Dover (53 tackles, six sacks).
Inside Linebackers: Kody Reeser, Northeastern (96 tackles, 1.5 sacks, two interceptions); Cameron Beckman, Dover (85 tackles, two sacks, one interception).
Outside Linebackers: Bryan Kerr, Susquehannock (65 tackles, three interceptions); Noah Townsley, West York (60 tackles, three interceptions).
Defensive backs: Isaiah Toomey, West York (33 tackles, five interceptions, one recovered fumble); Justin Warfel, West York (44 tackles, one recovered fumble); Wes Beans, New Oxford (113 tackles, two interceptions); Sammy Miller, Susquehannock (45 tackles, one interception, one recovered fumble).
Punter: Ethan Qualters, Northeastern (34.88 average with a best of 64 yards).
Placekicker: Trey Parrish, New Oxford (51 points after touchdown).
Quarterbacks: Trevor Hildebrand, Littlestown (1,665 yards passing, 10 touchdowns and 391 yards rushing, seven touchdowns) and Hakeem Kinard, York Catholic (1,203 yards rushing, 13 touchdowns and 1,688 yards passing, 20 touchdowns).
Running Backs: Dustin DeGroft, Littlestown (1,331 yards rushing, 17 touchdowns); Nick Mort, Fairfield (1,492 yards rushing, 23 touchdowns).
Fullbacks: Colton Dull, Bermudian Springs (1,107 yards rushing, 14 touchdowns); Joe Hurda, Biglerville (939 yards rushing, 12 touchdowns); Calvin Savary, York Tech (1,191 yards rushing, 13 touchdowns).
Wide Receivers: Qua'Shawn Grooms, York Catholic (39 receptions for 632 yards, seven touchdowns); Chase Senseney, Fairfield (27 receptions for 530 yards, 11 touchdowns); Garrett Trout, Littlestown (48 receptions for 810 yards, seven touchdowns).
Tight End: Austin Hartzell, Bermudian Springs (11 receptions for 239 yards).
Defensive Tackles: Darren Dickensheets, Littlestown (57 tackles, one sack); Noah Hakes, Bermudian Springs (55 tackles, 3.5 sacks, one recovered fumble); Brett Harris, Fairfield (45 tackles).
Defensive Ends: Aaron Rebert, Bermudian Springs (60 tackles, five sacks, one interception, two recovered fumbles); Ch'aim Smith, York Suburban (80 tackles, two recovered fumbles, 7.5 sacks).
Inside Linebackers: Lucas Barshinger, Eastern (84 solo tackles, two sacks, two recovered fumbles, one safety, two blocked punts); Grant Mauro, Bermudian Springs (139 tackles, 1.5 sacks, one interception, two fumble recoveries); Doug Mills, York Catholic (142 tackles, five sacks, one recovered fumble).
Outside Linebackers: Scott Bartkowiak, York Catholic (53 tackles, one sack, four interceptions); Austin Hartzell, Bermudian Springs (68 tackles, one sack, one recovered fumble); Trevor Hildebrand, Littlestown (55 tackles, two sacks, one interception, two recovered fumbles); Sawyer Robinson, York Suburban (58 tackles, 2.5 sacks).
Cornerbacks: Dustin DeGroft, Littlestown (48 tackles, one recovered fumble); Wyatt Gearhart, Bermudian Springs (48 tackles, three interceptions, one recovered fumble); Hakeem Kinard, York Catholic (37 tackles, one interception, one recovered fumble); Stephuan Montouth, York Tech (three interceptions, 11 pass breakups).
Safeties: Emmanuel McDowell, York Suburban (70 tackles, six interceptions); Lucas Reynolds, Littlestown (59 tackles, two interceptions, one recovered fumble).
Punter: Austin Hartzell, Bermudian Springs (35.0 average on 28 punts).
Placekicker: Jorden Trostel, Biglerville (17 points after touchdown, three field goals).
Return Specialist: Stephuan Montouth, York Tech (one kickoff return for a touchdown, one kickoff return for a touchdown called back. "Teams stopped kicking to him," Spartans' head coach Matt Glennon said.)
Reach Dick Vanolinda at email@example.com.