Friday night lights return for York High

  • York High football played their first Friday night game since last September on Friday, Sept. 1.
  • The home games last year were moved because of a shooting outside a game.

The lights outside Small Field once again illuminated the William Penn Senior High Bearcats on Friday, Sept. 1, the team's first home game of the 2017 season.

It was the first night home game since a shooting outside the stadium during last year's home opener prompted the district to move all home games to Saturday afternoons.

WIlliam Penn beat Reading 26-14 to mark the occassion.

York High player Blake King practices kicking under the lights before the game at Small Field Friday, Sept. 1, 2017. Bill Kalina photo

Games:  During Friday's game, York City School District Police Chief Michael Muldrow said his officers were doing what they've always done for security for the games.

He said there are now more lights and more cameras than there were before.

"You basically can't throw trash anywhere in the complex without being seen on camera," he said.

Friday night lights: Among the hundreds of people at the game Friday was Ted Banks, a 1965 graduate of York High.

Banks, of Springettsbury Township, played running back for the school for four years. During the game Friday, he was hard to miss, decked out in blue and orange York High gear.

Banks was pleased with the return to Friday nights. He recalled playing on Fridays when he was in school and said there was something about playing underneath the lights that was different.

"You were pumped," he said.

York High cheerleader Kayne Lewis strikes a pose during a cheer under the lights before the game at Small Field Friday, Sept. 1, 2017. Bill Kalina photo

Banks typically attends every York High game, although his work schedule prevented him from attending last year's afternoon games. 

"I think it's a great opportunity for the community and for the fans," he said of the experience.

Michael Doweary, the business administrator for York City and a 1996 William Penn graduate, also was happy to be back at the game on a Friday night.

"It's awesome — I wouldn't miss this for the world," he said.

At halftime, the Bearcats were up by seven.

York High football players stand on the sidelines before the game on Friday, Sept. 1, 2017. Christopher Dornblaser photo.

"We're going to get a win tonight (that) makes it so much better," Dowery said.

Standing near the bleachers were William Penn sophomores Jadadrien Ayala and Alexandra Gonzalez, both 15. The two were waiting for their friends on the football team to pass by before heading into the third quarter.

Alexandra went to the Saturday games last year, and she said so far the Friday game was more exciting. 

"I feel like this is more 'lit,'" she said.

Jadadrien said he felt more people could come to the games now that they're on Fridays.

"A lot of people can't do this on Saturdays," he said.

In addition to the large crowd for the game, the bassist for Live and York City native Patrick Dalheimer did the opening coin toss.

Patrick Dalheimer, bassist for Live and a York City native, does the coin toss at the York High football game Friday, Sept. 1. Christopher Dornblaser photo.

Background: The district decided to move home games to Saturday after two people were shot outside of a game on Sept. 9,  2016.

Darius Allen, 25, and Antwan Jackson, 21, both of York City, were shot outside the stadium, where about 2,000 people were watching William Penn play Lancaster County's McCaskey High School.

More:Friday night football back on at William Penn High

The stadium was placed on lockdown for about 20 minutes.

Stephon Damien Brown, 16, of Reading, was charged with 2,000 counts of reckless endangerment and one count each of carrying a firearm without a license, illegal firearm possession by a minor and criminal mischief.

More:Trial ahead for alleged York High football-game shooter

Brown was arrested in Lancaster in October after spending five weeks on the lam.

He remains in York County Prison in lieu of $250,000 bail. 

His next court date is in October.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.