The sounds could be heard from several feet away. That of teenage boys screaming at the top of their lungs. Or, rather, they were attempting to sing inside the visiting locker room at the Central York High School football field.
The song of choice on this late Friday night was the one we tend to here at high school football games.
"Hey! Hey baby! I know you wanna be my girl!"
The West York football team earned this momentary opportunity to turn into a choir post-game. The Bulldogs had just traveled to Central York and handed the Panthers a 41-20 cross-division defeat, marking the fifth-straight year the road team has won this season-opening matchup. It also made up for the 41-6 drubbing Central put up on the Bulldogs in West York a year ago, kickstarting a five-game losing streak for West York to start last season. But a young Bulldogs squad turned a corner at the midpoint of the 2013 campaign and won four of their last five. Still, it led to West York's first losing season since 2005 (4-6).
"We like to kind of forget about last year," West York senior quarterback Ross Campbell said. "Obviously it's the first losing season we've had in quite some time. It's over. It's done with. You can't change the past and you gotta look towards the future. Use it as motivation and come out and get at it."
Campbell is one of 17 returning starters to this year's bunch. He's the one who rushed for a team-high 595 yards last season. And he once again led the way on the ground in Friday night's victory over a Central team that has 13 new starters attempting to follow up on last year's 8-3 record.
Campbell's 101 yards on 18 carries were both team-highs. His four rushing touchdowns, each a one-yard quarterback sneak at the goal-line, were a game-high.
"The way the formation was, the quarterback stretch was there a lot," Campbell said. "It starts with the guys up front. I can't do anything without the guys up front. They did one heck of a job tonight. It's something special. We have something special going on."
Campbell also completed 5-of-11 passes for 110 yards, with junior Terry Cains (31 yards receiving on two catches) and senior Diego Torres (79 yards receiving on three catches) being his only targets.
The Bulldogs, though, didn't need to pass. The running game was too prosperous. Of West York's 442 total yards of offense, the running game produced 332 of them. Coach Ron Miller reminded reporters after the game about his preseason comments in regards to having a plethora of options at running back. Those proved true Friday. Aside from Campbell, ten other West York rushers combined for 231 yards on 36 carries. Overall, West York averaged 6.2 yards a carry.
MISTAKES: The signature moment for Central (0-1) came midway through the first quarter when the Panthers' defense made the Bulldogs go three-and-out on their first possession and forced a punt. Campbell's punt landed around the Central York's 40-yard-line and bounced off a Panthers' player, with West York recovering. The Bulldogs scored four plays later to go up, 7-0.
"First game it's basically who takes advantage of the mistakes and who doesn't make the big mistakes," Miller said. "That one (the fumble) was a big mistake for them (Central)."
The error-prone night continued for the Panthers. They later gave away another fumble and wound up committing 10 penalties totaling 176 yards. The most costly penalty came with under a minute to play in the first half and West York up 14-0 when Central sophomore quarterback Shannon Valenti Jr. connected on a 35-yard pass to 6-foot-1 senior receiver Jeremiah Dadeboe (3 receptions for 53 yards) to the West York 10-yard-line. But the play was called back on a Central personal foul penalty. On the very next play, however, Valenti found 5-foot-11 sophomore receiver Drew Anderson (2 receptions for 52 yards) for a 42-yard strike to the West York 27-yard-line. A Central five-yard illegal procedure penalty moved the ball back to the 32-yard-line with seconds to play, and Valenti's pass to the back of the end zone as time expired went incomplete.
"I was looking for three things tonight," longtime Central coach Brad Livingston said afterwards. "I wanted to make sure these kids gave their best effort. That's what we talked about in the huddle at the end. We talked about finishing plays. Play to the whistle. And we talked about finishing the game. And the other thing we wanted to avoid, the third thing, we didn't want to make any stupid mistakes that put us in a bad situation. I'm talking about silly penalties and things like that. I'm not talking about physical errors. So we'll go back and look at the tape. The kids can evaluate it and we will, too. It's a long journey. I think we got what we wanted out of tonight we just didn't get a win."
In terms of total offense, Central (427 yards on 59 plays) was actually about even with West York (442 yards on 65 plays) but most of the Panthers' yards came in junk time.
The couple bright spots for Central to pull away from the loss are the performances of Valenti and senior running back Terrance Carter. In his first varsity start, the 6-foot, 160-pound Valenti completed 16 of 31 passes for 248 yards with no interceptions. Carter tallied 120 rushing yards on 14 attempts with two touchdowns.
SECOND HALF: West York (1-0) came out of the gates in the third quarter with a 7-play, 80-yard drive on its opening possession of the half that took all of 2 minutes and 44 seconds to push its lead to 20-0.
The Panthers finally got on the scoreboard at the 4:57 mark of the third quarter on Carter's 25-yard touchdown run. But just when fortunes seemed to be turning in Central's favor, Livingston was forced to call a timeout when the holder for the extra-point was nowhere to be found. The Panthers still managed to fail the extra-point attempt when the holder bobbled the snap.
West York answered with a 6-play, 80-yard drive, capped by running back Noah Bowers breaking free of the pack for a 41-yard score to give West York a 27-6 advantage.
West York got its final score with 9:35 left and Campbell on the bench. In his place, backup quarterback Cash Gladfelter took over the signal-calling duties and did his best Campbell impression with a QB-keeper that turned into a 28-yard rushing touchdown. Perhaps reminding people of his first name, Gladfelter, a senior, put his arms straight up and rubbed his thumbs on his finger tips - the gesture referring to money that's been made famous of late by Cleveland Browns' quarterback Johnny Manziel.
Campbell said afterwards Gladfelter had been doing the money sign before Manziel came along. It didn't matter. On this night, West York earned the opportunity to celebrate, either by gesturing with their fingers or singing with their voices.
West York: 7-7-20-7-41
Central York: 0-0-6-14-20
WY - Ross Campbell 1 run (McCauley kick), 4:35
WY - Ross Campbell 1 run (McCauley kick), 9:42
WY - Ross Campbell 1 run (kick failed), 9:16
CY - Terrance Carter 25 run (kick failed), 4:57
WY - Noah Bowers 41 run (Strickler kick), 3:37
WY - Ross Campbell 1 run (Keim kick), 0:41
CY - Terrance Carter 10 run (Luckenbaugh kick), 10:57
WY - Cash Gladfelter 28 run (Keim kick), 9:35
CY - Pearson Hinkle 1 run (Luckenbaugh kick), 1:30
First Downs: WY 20, CY 13; Rushes-yards: WY 54-332; CY 28-179; Passing: WY 5-12, CY 16-31; Passing yards: WY 110, CY 248; Total yards: WY 442, CY 427; Punts: WY 2-30.5, CY 4-36; Fumbles-lost: WY: 2-1, CY: 2-2; Penalties-yards: WY 5-59, CY 10-176.
Rushing: WY: Campbell 18-101, Townsley 4-11, Narber 1-7, Bowers 7-72, Stauffer 6-35, Bentzel 1-2, Baldwin 2-10, Thomas 8-20, Anderson 2-29, Messersmith 2-23, Gladfelter 3-22; CY: Carter 14-120, Valenti 8-21, Dadeboe 3-31, Goff 1-4, Hinkle 2-3.
Passing: WY 5-11-0-110, Gladfelt 0-1-0-0; CY Valenti 16-31-0-248.
Receiving: WY Cains 2-31, Torres 3-79; CY Johnston 2-24, Neal 5-61, Dadeboe 3-53, Carter 1-17, Anderson 2-52, Goff 1-8, Paulino 2-33.
Reach John Walk at email@example.com.