Friday night's game against Dallastown was like "Groundhog's Day" for the West York football team.
Every time the Bulldogs looked up, they faced a fourth down situation. And every time they ran the ensuing play, the result was the same - failed conversion.
The Wildcats defense stopped West York's offense on six different occasions on fourth down on Friday night, keeping the Bulldogs off the scoreboard in their 10-0 victory.
"Our defense is jelling every week, more and more," Dallastown coach Kevin Myers said. "They're really feeling comfortable with one another out there and trusting one another to do their jobs. And I told the guys that I sort of expected the game to go like this. It was going to be hard-fought."
Perhaps the biggest moment in the game came just out of the halftime break, with Dallastown (2-0) clinging to a 7-0 lead. West York (0-2) received the opening kickoff and marched right down the field, its up-tempo, no-huddle offense creating problems for the Wildcats' defense. But, just like a couple times in the first half, as soon as the Bulldogs got the ball inside the redzone, the Dallastown defense stiffened.
West York got the ball all the way down to the Wildcat one-yard line, looking like an offense prepared to tie the game at 7-7. However, the Dallastown defense had other plans.
On back-to-back plays, the Bulldogs tried to run the ball up the middle, but were stuffed, eventually turning the ball over on downs at the one-yard line. That was the story of the game, West York just always coming up a play short, while the Wildcats' defense made the necessary plays at the game's most critical points.
"You can't practice it. At a high-school level, you can't practice it," Myers said about attempting to stop the Bulldogs' no-huddle offense. "...Give them credit. They had a good game plan coming in. They were executing it, but our guys stepped up when we needed to."
After playing to a scoreless stalemate in the third quarter, Dallastown finally added some insurance late in the contest. Drake Pew, who also plays soccer, knocked home a 31-yard field goal, extending the Wildcats' lead to 10-0.
With limited time remaining, West York tried to put together one final drive to get on the scoreboard, but it just played to the same result. One last time for good measure, the Dallastown defense stood tall, forcing an incomplete pass on fourth and long, getting the ball back with just under a minute to play. It sent the home crowd into thunderous applause and was a nice way to christen the first game at the newly named American Legion Stadium at Wildcat Field.
The only touchdown of the game came with 26 seconds remaining in the first half, when Wildcats' quarterback Cade Gold found senior Jake Jansen on a crossing route for an eight-yard score. At the time, it didn't seem like it would be enough to amount to being the game-winner with the way each team moved the ball down the field, but Jansen knew how important getting on the board was with the way the defense was playing.
"It's always nice to put points on the board, no matter what, but it was a good touchdown, but our defense did well," he said.
Now through two games, Dallastown has wins in two different styles. Its first win, it showed off its offense, scoring 26 points against Lancaster Catholic. On Friday night, the defense shined, not allowing any points.
Through two games, the Wildcats are only giving up seven points per game. But, defense isn't this team's identity. At least not yet.
"We don't really go out and have a mentality," Myers said. "Our motto is 'For each other, with each other.' When things get a little crazy we look to each other for someone to step up and make a play. ...We just want to play hard-nose football."
West York 0 0 0 0 - 0
Dallastown 0 7 0 3 - 10
D, Jansen 8-yard catch from Gold (Pew kick), 0:26
D, Pew 31-yard field goal
Category WY D
Rushes/Yard 40-128 38-90
Passing 10-16-0 13-21-1
Passing Yards 150 142
Total Yard 278 232
First Downs 12 13
Penalties/Yards 9-55 4-20
Fumbles/Lost 1-0 1-0
Punts/Average 1-21 4-35.5
RUSHING: WY - Thomas 15-57, Folk 17-50, Narber 2-9, Cains 1-12, Kahley 1-16, Bercik 1-0, Sloat 1-(-3)King 2-(-7). D - Callahan 10-73, Gold 12-(-21), Marks 7-18, Garrity 3-5, Centeno 3-14, DeVance 2-(-2), Green 1-3.
PASSING: WY - Folk, 10-16-150, 0. D - Gold, 13-21-142, 1.
RECEIVING: WY - Cains 5-95, Baldwin 4-44, Dorm 1-11. D - Jansen 6-72, Moore 4-43, Callahan 1-8, McMillian 1-13, Garcia 1-8.
Reach Patrick Strohecker at email@example.com; follow on Twitter @P_Strohecker.