Suburban coach bringing more stability in year 2: 2022 football preview

Dante Green
York Dispatch

Every team searches for the ability to win year after year without setbacks, but eventually there are a few rebuilding years where everything feels like it is not in the team’s control.

York Suburban is hoping that last year was the end of the rebuild and they can get back to their winning ways.

The Trojans won York-Adams Division II in 2019 with a 10-1 overall and 6-0 division record  and finished in 2020 with a 4-2 record. But in the 2021 season, they finished 3-6 and were only .500 (3-3) in the conference. They did win their final two games of the year, so they carry a bit of momentum into this season.

Now there is a chance to get back to winning and contending in the division. Players say the team has plenty of chemistry and players have rebounded from a few injuries  suffered during the year. Head coach Josh Fry is entering his second season at the helm and has more of an understanding of how he wants to run the team.

Fry said that, after he was hired in March 2021, last year felt rushed, and he believes a full off-season will benefit him and the players.

“We were trying to rush to install. Rush to meet the players and form a relationship. It was nice to have a full offseason and have things not feel as rushed to get down," Fry said. "This year we can really refine things. We could take some time to focus on what we want to do."

Confidence: Fry said he sees a more confident team, and it has shown in off-season workouts. The Trojans carry the same offensive coordinator from a season ago, which means it will be the same system.

They expect big things out of sophomore quarterback Rylan Bratton. Bratton threw for over 900 yards in just eight games last season and impressed his coaches.

Fry will have to game plan against some  tough opponents in Division II, including Kennard-Dale, which won its first-ever Division II title  last season.

“Our division is going to be competitive,” Fry said. “Kennard-Dale, New Oxford is always a tough opponent, and we have Dover coming back from Division I. Everyone is tough.”

The Rams beat the Trojans last year, 42-10, and Suburban lost to New Oxford, 51-7.

The team offensively will look to run the ball plenty with Mike Bentivegna, a second-team All-Division II player who excels at the running back position. Bentivegna has received offers from college programs that have recognized he has the talent to play at the next level, although the senior has said that he won’t decide until after the season wraps up.

Bentivegna said he just wants to get back on the football field and play against other teams.

“I’m ready for every single game. I’m not choosing one game over the other,” said Bentivegna.

Defensive end Brandon Haywood, whose first year in the district was just last season, said he feels more comfortable at the school this year and is more familiar with some of the opponents his team will see this season.

“Last year there were a lot of tough teams, but I’m just ready to play,” said Haywood, a senior. “We have a lot of chemistry, and I see the season going well for us. We all want to win.”

It will be up to players like Haywood and Bentivegna to bring a veteran presence to a team that has only a second-year quarterback and lost their best receiver to graduation in Jayce Henderson.

Following is a capsule look at the Trojans:

Team: York Suburban Trojans

Head coach: Josh Fry, second year

2021 record: 3-6 overall, 3-3 in York-Adams League Division II

Key Losses: (Division II all-stars in bold) Jayce Henderson (WR/OLB), Adrien Garner (WR/OLB), Robert Borders (WR/DB), Damas Eduard (RB/CB), Darien Overton (WR/LB), Daquez Dillion (WR/CB), Logan Wright (OL), Jelani Hopkins (OL), Gavin Smith (DB,WR,QB)

Returning players (Division II all-stars in bold): Mike Bentivegna (RB/SS), Alex Kafauver (WR/FS), Dylan Hopwood (DT/T), Jalen Lee (G/DT), Brandon Haywood (DE/G), Rylan Bratton (QB), John Glennon (OLB), Dakota Shue (MLB/TE)

2022 schedule (Division II games in bold): Aug. 27 at East Pennsboro; Sept. 2 at Donegal; Sept. 9 vs York Catholic; Sept. 16 at West York; Sept. 23 at New Oxford; Sept. 30 vs Dover; Oct. 7 vs Susquehannock; Oct. 14 at Kennard-Dale; Oct. 21 vs Eastern York; Oct. 28 at Northeastern

York Suburban's Rylan Bratton looks to pass the ball during football action against Kennard-Dale at York Suburban Senior High School in Spring Garden Township, Friday, Sept. 24, 2021. Kennard-Dale would win the game 42-10. Dawn J. Sagert photo
York Suburban's Alex Kefauver, left, runs the ball to gain some yardage during football action against Kennard-Dale at York Suburban Senior High School in Spring Garden Township, Friday, Sept. 24, 2021. Kennard-Dale would win the game 42-10. Dawn J. Sagert photo