HEISER: Friday's football schedule packed with games featuring title, playoff implications
- There are 12 games involving York-Adams League teams on Friday night.
- Nearly all of the games have the potential to go down to the wire in the fourth quarter.
- At least half of the games have championship or playoff implications.
Not all high school football weekends are created equal.
Some weekends, unfortunately, feature precious few contests that promise any real drama.
Take last weekend, for example. There were 12 games involving York-Adams League programs, but only two featured teams with winning records in head-to-head battles. Unfortunately, even those two contests turned into routs. Gettysburg blanked York Suburban, 41-0, and Central York pulled away from Northeastern, 41-7.
The average margin of victory last weekend was nearly 30 points, and only two games were decided by single digits (Susquehannock over Eastern York, 43-42, and Mifflin County over Dover, 29-25).
This Friday, however, promises to be much different. There are again a dozen games on the schedule, but the slate is littered with match-ups that should be highly competitive, with many having significant championship and/or playoff implications.
Title races: Each of the divisions in the Y-A League boasts a crucial contest on Friday that will go a long way in determining that division’s champion.
Let’s start there.
In Division I, the game of the week pits Dallastown (5-3) against host Central York (7-1). Both teams are 4-1 in the division and in a four-way tie for first place with Red Lion and York High. The loser can likely kiss its D-I title hopes goodbye.
In Division II, the championship will likely belong to the winner of Friday’s game pitting Gettysburg (6-2) against host Dover (5-3). The Warriors enter at 5-0 in D-II, while the Eagles are 4-0. It’s Gettysburg’s final D-II game of the season, and the Warriors will clinch the outright crown with a victory. Dover, meanwhile, must beat Gettysburg and then down Route 74 rival West York in the final game of its regular season to claim the outright title.
In Division III, the scenario is cut and dried. The winner of Friday night’s battle of unbeatens will be the D-III champion. Delone Catholic travels to York Catholic in a showdown of parochial rivals. Both teams enter at 8-0 overall and 5-0 in the division. The next closest teams in the division (Littlestown and Bermudian Springs) are each two games back.
Playoff races: With just two games left in the regular season, the chase for District 3 postseason spots is starting to get intense, and a number of Y-A teams find themselves firmly on the playoff bubble.
In Class 6-A, eight teams will make the field, and Central York at No. 3 in the power ratings and Red Lion at No. 6 look pretty secure, especially since the Lions face a one-win Spring Grove team on Friday.
Dallastown, however, is another story. The Wildcats sit at No. 8, which makes a win over Central York vital to both their district and division hopes.
In 5-A, a whopping 14 teams will get into districts, and York High, at No. 4 in the power ratings, is a lock to make it. That’s certainly not the case for No. 13 Northeastern and No. 15 Dover. The Bobcats (4-4) play the Bearcats in Manchester on Friday. Northeastern may need to upset the state’s fifth-ranked 5-A team to get into districts. Dover, meanwhile, may need to beat Gettysburg and/or West York down the stretch to make the playoffs.
In 4-A, 10 teams make the district field, and three Y-A teams are on the bubble: Gettysburg at No. 8, York Suburban (4-4) at No. 11 and West York (3-5) at No. 12. A win over Dover will not only give the Warriors the outright D-II title but also likely clinch a district berth. West York, meanwhile, travels to Suburban in a pivotal contest that will probably serve as a district elimination game.
In 3-A, six teams make districts, with Littlestown (6-2) sitting at No. 4 and Bermudian Springs (5-3) at No. 6. Those two teams just happen to face off in York Springs on Friday. This is almost certainly a must-win game for Bermudian if it hopes to make the playoffs.
In 2-A, four teams get into districts, and two of them will be No. 2 York Catholic and No. 1 Delone. Friday’s showdown will only determine seeding. The Squires and Fighting Irish could be headed for a district rematch.
Finally, in 1-A, two teams will advance straight to the district title game. Fairfield, despite just a single win, looks relatively secure at No. 2. There are only three 1-A teams in District 3.
Other games: While the games with title or playoff implications will rightfully get most of the attention this weekend, there are a handful of other games on the local schedule that should also be highly competitive. They all involve teams with losing records who are starving to taste victory.
They are: Biglerville (2-6) at Hanover (2-6), Wissahickon (0-8) at Eastern York (2-6), York Tech (0-8) at Fairfield (1-6), Susquehannock (2-6) at Kennard-Dale (3-5) and New Oxford (2-6) at South Western (0-8).
Overview: The bottom line is this: The dozen games set for the second-to-last week of the Y-A regular season should provide the most competitive and intense action we’ve seen this fall.
Nearly all of the games have at least some degree of uncertainty, and most of the games would have to be considered toss-ups.
Many of the contests should still be in doubt until the final minutes of the fourth quarter. That will be a welcome change of pace compared to last weekend’s parade of blowouts.
Instead of mercy-rule beatdowns, local football fans should be rewarded this Friday with a glut of games that are practically dripping with drama.
— Steve Heiser is sports editor of The York Dispatch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.