HEISER: Friday's electrifying effort should help Central York's Judah Tomb get some notice

  • Central York's Judah Tomb scored three touchdowns Friday night vs. Central Dauphin.
  • All of those TDs came on plays of at least 40 yards, including a 95-yard kickoff return.
  • Tomb's effort came in a District 3 Class 6-A semifinal vs. a team ranked No. 2 in the state in 6-A.
Central York's Parker Hines, left, and Judah Tomb celebrate a 42-15 win over Central Dauphin during District 3, Class 6A semifinal action at George Ebersole Stadium in Harrisburg, Friday, Oct. 30, 2020. Dawn J. Sagert photo

In the best of times, recruiting is an inexact labor, often more art than science.

Throw in a worldwide pandemic that canceled summer camps, eliminated most campus visits and severely limited in-person attendance, and it becomes even more challenging.

The resulting lack of scholarship offers this fall has become a source of frustration for many players, parents and coaches.

Several local athletes who recently did make college commitments cited the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic as a primary reason for their early decisions. Once they got a solid offer, they took it, rather than take a chance and wait for a possibly better offer at a higher-level school.

They were looking for some certainty in an uncertain era.

For most York-Adams League athletes, however, the wait for big-time offers continues.

Central York's Judah Tomb celebrates a touchdown during District 3, Class 6A semifinal action against Central Dauphin at George Ebersole Stadium in Harrisburg, Friday, Oct. 30, 2020. Central York would win the game 42-15. Dawn J. Sagert photo

One of those players is Central York wideout Judah Tomb.

Going into Friday night, Tomb had yet to receive any offers from NCAA Division I programs.

That should soon change.

Electrifying performance: Anyone who witnessed Tomb’s  performance Friday night would have to come away believing that the 6-foot, 180-pound senior is a legitimate D-I talent.

The video of Tomb’s performance in the Panthers’ 42-15 pounding of Central Dauphin is nothing less than electrifying.

Tomb put on a highlight-reel effort. He had touchdown receptions of 43 and 40 yards from Penn State recruit Beau Pribula. He also returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown.

WEEKEND FOOTBALL ROUNDUP: Central York dominates, advances to District 3 6-A title game

On his touchdowns, he displayed the ability to break tackles, elude defenders and run away from his pursuers.

It was a complete night of work.

Thriving on a big stage vs. a big-time foe: He also did all of that on a big stage (a District 3 Class 6-A semifinal) and against a high-profile Mid-Penn Conference power with a huge reputation. Central Dauphin entered the game ranked No. 2 in the state in 6-A and No. 61 in the nation. The Rams were coming off a season when they won a District 3 6-A title and finished second in the state.

Central York's Judah Tomb scores a touchdown during District 3, Class 6A semifinal action against Central Dauphin at George Ebersole Stadium in Harrisburg, Friday, Oct. 30, 2020. Central York would win the game 42-15. Dawn J. Sagert photo

That should get Tomb some notice. His coaches and his teammates certainly hope so.

Central York coach Gerry Yonchiuk, who has been a high school coach for decades and who has seen more than his fair share of D-I recruits, called Tomb “the best-kept secret in Pennsylvania."

Tomb’s quarterback, Pribula, has been equally impressed with his teammate.

“He’s humble, (but) he knows when to turn it on and go,” Pribula said of Tomb after Friday's game. “When he is on his game, nobody is stopping him. He’s one of the most explosive athletes I have seen.”

Central's routs limited his opportunities: Going into Friday’s contest, Tomb’s numbers were good, but not eye-popping — 22 catches, 369 yards, 16.8 yards per catch and six touchdowns.

His numbers were almost certainly curtailed by the fact that the Panthers (now 7-0) mercy-ruled their first six overmatched foes. That meant the Central starters, such as Tomb, saw limited action before the reserves were called in. The running clock of the mercy-rule games also severely limited the number of snap opportunities that Central had.

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That wasn’t the case against Central Dauphin. The Rams got a full dose of Tomb, and they got to witness just what he is capable of, given a full night of work.

College coaches should've noticed: It’s almost certain that a number of college coaches got to see Tomb’s performance, too. The game was televised regionally, and the video is widely available online for everyone to see.

Additionally, Tomb will have at least one more chance to leave a lasting impression on recruiters come Friday night in the District 3 6-A title game vs. rival York High. If the Panthers can win that battle, the state playoffs loom, providing another chance, or chances, to thrive under the bright lights.

After his effort vs. Central Dauphin, Tomb should now be on the radar of some NCAA D-I programs.

His talent is simply undeniable.

That should be obvious to everyone by now, even during uncertain times and even in a labor as inexact as recruiting.

— Steve Heiser is sports editor of The York Dispatch. He can be reached at sheiser@yorkdispatch.com.