DALLASTOWN--Dallastown had been in this position before.
In the same Week 7 match-up a year ago at York High, the Wildcats took a second-half lead, only to watch the Bearcats rally from behind in the fourth quarter for the win.
A similar scenario seemed to be playing out again Monday night, this time under the lights on a soggy grass field at Dallastown. Down by four touchdowns early, the Bearcats answered with three-straight touchdowns and again had all the momentum with the Wildcats on their heels late in the third quarter.
Already playing short-handed without a handful of starters, York High would be plagued by costly turnovers and penalties in the final moments. Dallastown took advantage by scoring three touchdowns in the last 14 minutes, 41 seconds of regulation to escape with a 49-21 York-Adams League Division I victory.
"Last year we played them and had the same lead at halftime," Dallastown senior running back Robert Catchings said. "They came back and they ended up beating us. This time we held together and kept it going strong and came out with the win."
Catchings led all performers with a game-high 171 yards rushing on 19 carries with two rushing touchdowns to help the Wildcats improve to 6-1 overall and 2-0 in division competition. They'll next travel to Central York (5-2, 2-0) this Friday.
"I feel good. I thank the line again. I couldn't have done it without them," Catchings said. "But I had trouble cutting because it was a little wet out here."
The game was originally set for Friday night, but was postponed because of heavy rain.
Dallastown got all but five of its 303 total yards on the ground. Quarterback Andrew Henry tallied 76 yards rushing on 15 carries with three rushing touchdowns, but struggled through the air, going 1-for-11 with a season-high three interceptions.
Bearcats' junior quarterback James Way (13 completions on a season-high 30 pass attempts) also had a season-high three picks, but made up for the mistakes by totaling 192 passing yards and a touchdown to go with 23 yards rushing on 11 carries with a score. He and junior running back Bryson Sweeney (137 total yards, two touchdowns) did most of the damage for the Bearcats' offense.
"Our kids played their hearts out and we're really proud of them," York High coach Shawn Heinold said. "I think all year this is our best effort. I was proud of the way we played. We lost some kids this week for injuries and other reasons, but the players we had just battled and I'm proud of them."
Dallastown's first two scores came on rushing touchdowns from Henry, going up 14-0 with 10:48 to play in the second quarter. Two plays into York High's next possession, Dallastown senior linebacker Nicholas Sutton tipped a Way pass that Catchings hauled in and sprinted the other way for a 27-yard interception return for a touchdown. Dallastown then stopped York and scored on its next possession on a 45-yard Catchings rushing touchdown to make it 28-0 with 8:26 to play in the second quarter.
Comeback: York (3-4, 0-2) answered on its next possession when Way tossed it down the sidelines for a 70-yard reception to Sweeney, who scored on the following play by running it in from 7 yards out with 7:08 left in the first half.
Later with under two minutes to play in the second quarter, York linebacker Nykam Beverly intercepted Henry at York's 43-yard line and returned it for 33 yards to Dallastown's 24-yard line. York scored four plays later on an end-around 2-yard run from Way with 10 seconds left before intermission. A missed extra-point made it 28-13.
On the opening kickoff of the second half, Sweeney returned it 77 yards and was brought down at the Wildcats' 19-yard line by Dallastown kicker McKinley Curran, who made two touchdown-saving stops on the night. Three plays later, Way connected with Sweeney for a 15-yard touchdown pass. A successful two-point conversion made it 28-21 with 10:54 left in the third quarter.
But the Dallastown defense clamped down from there. York High's last five possessions ended in a punt, fumble, interception, punt and turnover on downs. The Wildcats scored touchdowns on three of their last four possessions.
-- Reach John Walk at email@example.com.