Central York overcomes miscues to beat South Western, 30-28

Dante Green
York Dispatch

Central York survived some crucial special teams mistakes and showed Friday night why it's still the team to beat in Division I of the York-Adams League. 

The Panthers had two kicks blocked and muffed two punts but held on to defeat the South Western Mustangs, 30-28. One of the two muffed punts led to a touchdown for the visiting Mustangs, but Central York made up for the other miscue by forcing a late turnover on downs. 

Central York's Juelz Goff runs the ball for a touchdown during YAIAA Division I championship football action against York High at Central York High School in Springettsbury Township, Friday, Oct. 29, 2021. Central York would win the game 60-14. Dawn J. Sagert photo

The Panthers haven’t lost a Division I game since 2018 and now stand alone atop the division at 2-0 (4-1 overall). But head coach Gerry Yonchiuk knows there's a lot to improve on.

“If you don’t execute and play all three phases, you are going to beat," Yonchiuk said. "You are going to get everyone’s A-game. We could have gotten beat tonight. We found a way to win, but we have to play better."

Yonchiuk said the problems start with him.

“If we are making mistakes, that’s got to be on coaching," he said. "You have to do a better job preparing them. Special teams is usually a strength, but it was a problem tonight."

A 32-yard run from Juelz Goff with 3:02 left sealed the game for Central. It handed the Panthers a nine-point lead at 30-21, enough of a margin to survive a late South Western score.

Down early: Central York trailed early, but Parker Hines' one-handed catch in the end zone would bring them within a point at 7-6. Quarterback Nasir Still ran for 29 yards on the next drive, and a 16-yard run by Niger DeWitt gave the Panthers their first lead. Goff ran in a two-point conversion to make the score 14-7. 

Goff later broke off a 36-yard run that led to another score. The senior was a nightmare all night for the defense, and his ensuing touchdown gave Central York a 23-7 lead. But the Mustangs got a score on fourth-and-1 from the 25 before the half, bringing them within 23-14 at intermission.

While it looked at one point like the Panthers would take full control, Central York scored only once in the second half and looked lost offensively for the better part of the last two quarters. The turnovers didn’t help, either. 

“We had chances in the first half and we didn’t [take advantage]," Yonchiuk said. "You have to do that when you have the chance. They packed the box and we had turnovers. You have to do that when you have the chance."

The first muffed punt helped South Western grab the momentum. Mustangs quarterback Maxwell Winsale scored a touchdown a few plays later, bringing the score to 23-21 in the middle of the third quarter. But South Western didn’t have enough to complete the comeback, as the offense was stuffed on crucial downs. The Mustangs ran well but struggled to stretch the field in the passing game.

Ultimately, Central York secured the win on defense, separating itself by making the stops when needed. Penalties also hurt South Western all night, including facemask tackles and personal fouls that led to big gains for the Panthers.

Sense of urgency: South Western, after entering Division I play 3-0, has dropped both of its first two division games. The Mustangs fell 20-13 at home against Dallastown, giving up a last-minute score, and lost by two points Friday. They'll take a sense of urgency into next week's road game against Red Lion (2-3, 0-1).

Central York has now won 22 consecutive division games, dating back to the start of 2019, and this year's Panthers have won three straight, a streak that includes a 42-7 thumping of Spring Grove last week. They're tied with Dallastown and York High with 2-0 division records, and they will fight to stay at the top next week against Northeastern (2-3) on the road.