VIDEO: Red Lion head coach Jesse Shay discusses his team’s unlikely, fourth-quarter comeback over York High. JACOB CALVIN MEYER, 717-505-5406/@jcalvinmeyer
The next three weeks are going to be fascinating to watch for York-Adams League football fans.
That’s because all three division championship races are still very much up for grabs.
In fact, 11 of the 23 league teams find themselves either tied for a division lead or just one game back in the loss column.
Things are particularly compelling in Division I, where five of the eight teams find themselves tied for the top spot at 3-1.
In D-II, there are two unbeaten teams on top at 4-0, but two more teams lurk just a game back in the loss column and well within striking range.
Division III appears to be the most settled of the divisions, with two teams tied at 4-0 and two games clear of the rest of the pack.
Here’s a division-by-division breakdown of how the races are shaping up heading down the home stretch of the Y-A regular season:
Division I: An unforgettable four-minute stretch last Friday night threw this race into a glorious, muddled mess.
Unbeaten, state-ranked York High appeared headed for a key road triumph Friday at Horn Field. With less than four minutes left in the game, the Bearcats had the ball and a 20-7 lead over Red Lion.
Then, an improbable, nearly unbelievable, series of events saw the Lions celebrating a pulsating 21-20 victory.
York High, which was on the brink of establishing itself as the clear team to beat in the division, now finds itself in a first-place deadlock with Red Lion, Central York, Dallastown and Northeastern.
A series of head-to-head meetings among the contenders over the next three Fridays should help sort things out, at least a bit.
It starts this Friday, when Northeastern plays host to Central York. If there’s one surprise team in the division thus far, it’s been the Bobcats, who forced their way into the championship conversation with a 23-16 victory over Red Lion on Sept. 28.
The following Friday, Oct. 19, there are two key showdowns: Dallastown at Central York and York High at Northeastern.
Finally, on the final Friday of the regular season, Oct. 26, it’s rivalry night, with Central York at York High and Red Lion at Dallastown.
Division II: At the moment, Gettysburg and Dover look like the class of D-II at 4-0, but small stumbles by the Warriors and/or Eagles could see this division with a logjam at the top, just like the one in D-I.
York Suburban and West York are each 2-1 in the division and looking to become part of the title discussion.
Suburban will have a big opportunity to do just that this Friday when the Trojans visit Gettysburg. An upset victory by the Trojans would make the D-II race a real jumble.
The following Friday, Oct. 19, will feature two more pivotal contests, with Gettysburg at Dover and West York at Suburban.
Finally, on Friday, Oct. 26, Dover will visit West York in the renewal of their annual Route 74 rivalry.
The Bulldogs are a particularly interesting team to keep an eye on. West York started 0-5 after a brutal early-season schedule but has won two straight and, with its talent at the skill positions, can be very dangerous.
Division III: This is the one Y-A division race that appears pretty well-defined.
The winner of the Delone Catholic-at-York Catholic parochial showdown on Friday, Oct. 19, will almost certainly emerge as the division champion. Both teams currently sit at 7-0 overall and 4-0 in D-III. Both have also already swept the other major contenders in the division — Littlestown and Bermudian Springs.
If the state-ranked Squires can beat the Irish, it will complete a rather remarkable road season for Delone, with wins at Trinity, Steel-High, Littlestown, Bermudian Springs and York Catholic — five teams with long and proud traditions of success at the small-school level.
On the scoreboard this season, Delone holds the edge, outscoring its foes by nearly 40 points per game, while the Irish are outscoring the opposition by 17 points per game.
York Catholic, however, will be playing at home and could be bolstered by the return of two talented players, quarterback Mitchell Galentine and running back Cole Witman. Galentine and Witman each missed a month of action this season for undisclosed reasons, but both played last Friday in a rout of Fairfield.
Overview: So that’s where the three Y-A football races stand as the weather turns cooler and the days get shorter.
It’s really a dream scenario for Y-A fans — skintight races, a crowd of contenders and looming rivalries with championship implications.
It should make for a fantastic finish to the Y-A football season.
— Steve Heiser is sports editor of The York Dispatch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.