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STROHECKER: Dallastown looks like solid bet to repeat as Division I champ

PATRICK STROHECKER
YorkDispatch

Back at the beginning of August, when all 23 York-Adams League football teams attended media day, the coaches in Division I didn't hide who they thought the favorite was this year.

The feeling was unanimous that South Western was likely in line for the crown in 2015. But sports can be unpredictable. That's why you play the games.

Two weeks into the season, the Mustangs have been both dominant and exposed. They rolled over Gettysburg on the road in Week 1, 38-13, but were dominated in their home opener this past Friday night by a strong Cedar Cliff team, 42-14. Things might level out for South Western over the next couple of weeks, but so far, it hasn't looked like the overwhelming favorite in Division I.

Nope, that honor goes to the reigning champion at Dallastown, even if this anointment might still be way too early.

In the Wildcats' first two games, they've shown that they can not only win by putting up points, but by also preventing them. They won their season opener 26-14 over Lancaster Catholic and followed that up with a 10-0 shutout of West York this past week.

Through the first two games, Dallastown looks to be built like a club that has a legitimate shot at repeating as Division I champ. That is, if the old notion holds true that defense wins championships, because through two games, the Wildcats are giving up only seven points per game.

"Our motto is 'for each other, with each other,'" Dallastown coach Kevin Myers said after Friday night's game. "When things get a little crazy, we look to one another to step up and make a play."

That motto was on full display on Friday night when, on six different occasions, the Wildcats' defense stopped the Bulldogs on fourth down. In one of those situations, their defense stopped West York twice, on third down and fourth down, from the 1-yard line to maintain their slim 7-0 advantage. This team leans on each other and has a sense of what it takes to win a division title.

For a team coming into the season as defending champion, Dallastown was awfully overlooked. As a result, the players and coaches have a bit of a chip on their shoulders,.

"We're a good club, but South Western, they're a very good club," senior Jake Jansen said on Friday night. "They have a lot of great pieces over there and when we play them, it'll be a very good game. It is what it is and we have to prove everyone wrong."

The Wildcats sit at 2-0 on the young season, while the Mustangs are at 1-1. Neither of those records mean anything when it comes to league standings, with both games coming in non-league play.

None of this will play itself out until deep into the season. Perhaps by Week 7, when Dallastown and South Western meet, we'll have a better understanding of where both teams are at and what exactly that game could mean in terms of how Division I will play out.

But, right now, 2-0 and 1-1 isn't a huge difference, especially in the overall landscape of the 2015 season. But what these first two games can tell us is that maybe the coaches in Division I were wrong for overlooking the Wildcats.

But, they also tell us that two games don't make up an entire season.

"We still gotta prove ourselves, I feel," Myers said. "We're 2-0 and we played two solid ball clubs. We showed that we can grit one out and we showed that we can score. It's a week-to-week thing, but we can't come in here thinking we've accomplished anything yet."

— Reach Patrick Strohecker at pstrohecker@yorkdispatch.com; follow on Twitter @P_Strohecker.