EDITORIAL: Central York's football championship belongs to all of York County

  • Central York won the District 3 Class 6-A football title on Friday night.
  • Central became the first York-Adams program to win a big-school district football title.
  • Central will take on Delaware Valley in a PIAA 6-A state quarterfinal on Saturday.
Central York celebrates a 48-21 win over York High during York-Adams League District 3, Class 6-A championship football action at Central York High School in Springettsbury Township, Friday, Nov. 6, 2020. Dawn J. Sagert photo

It had to feel good.

Correction, it had to feel great.

Friday night, a little after 9 p.m., a huge weight was lifted off the shoulders of the Central York football program.

In fact, a huge weight was lifted off the shoulders of the entire York County football community.

The York-Adams League, at long last, had proven that it could compete with, and beat, the best big-school football programs in District 3.

For decades, the York County big schools had to quietly listen to all of the critics who said they couldn’t compete on the biggest stage against the best teams. The worst part was, the critics were right. The Y-A folks had no response. The local league, over the nearly four-decade district football playoff era, had never won a title in the largest classification offered by District 3. Since the start of Class 6-A football in 2016, Y-A teams had gone 0-7 in 6-A games.

Until this year.

Leaving no doubt: The 2020 Central York Panthers didn’t leave any doubt about who the best team in District 3 6-A is this year.

It started with a dominating 42-15 victory in the District 3 6-A semifinals over a powerhouse Central Dauphin team that came in ranked No. 2 in the state in 6-A and was considered a strong favorite over the Panthers. That Central win sent shockwaves across the state high school football landscape.

Central York beats York High, wins District 3 6-A and York-Adams League Division I titles

The Panthers followed that up with a 48-21 triumph over rival York High in the district final. That game also served as the Y-A Division I championship game. A young Bearcats squad deserves praise for putting up a strong fight, but in the end, the Panthers’ talent and experience were too much to overcome for York High.

Then, a little after 9 p.m. Friday, the Panthers did something that lots of folks never thought would happen. A football team from York County raised the District 3 6-A trophy above their heads and celebrated like crazy.

A deserved celebration: They deserved that celebration. They earned it, overcoming decades of disdain from folks in the other corners of District 3. It also helped wipe away the bitter taste of a couple of ugly district defeats in previous years.

They also battled through the adversity of a season that almost didn’t happen because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The season was shortened, the stands weren’t packed with fans and unusual precautions had to be taken daily.

Still, through it all, the Panthers persevered.

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Now they are district champions — and it’s not just a title for Central York fans. This is a championship for all of York County.

Not done yet: Better yet, the Panthers aren’t done yet.

They have the opportunity to make some more local football history this weekend when they will compete in a PIAA 6-A state quarterfinal at Delaware Valley.

A big school from the Y-A League has never won a state playoff game. With a victory, the Panthers can get that monkey off the league’s back, too.

And a victory Saturday would move the Panthers within two more wins of a state 6-A championship.

Now that would really lead to a York County celebration.

Of course, that’s getting ahead of ourselves.

For now, local football fans should relish a breakthrough football triumph for Central York and all of York County.

It was a long time coming.