District 3 football playoffs loom: See where York-Adams teams stand with one week left

STEVE HEISER
717-505-5446/@ydsports
York High's Sincere Brown, left, shakes hands with Jahiem White earlier this season after a Bearcats touchdown. The Bearcats look like a lock to make the District 3 Class 6-A football playoffs. Dawn J. Sagert photo
  • The final weekend of the York-Adams League football regular season looms.
  • After Saturday's finales, the official District 3 pairings are set to be released on Sunday.
  • If the season ended today, nine York-Adams teams would earn district football berths.

One year ago at this time, the District 3 football environment looked very different.

The raging COVID-19 pandemic delayed the regular season by three weeks, mostly erased nonleague contests, sharply curtailed fan attendance and severely downsized the number of district qualifiers.

Twelve months later, as a new District 3 football playoff season looms, the landscape is largely improved.

The pandemic, of course, is still very much with us, but the statewide COVID-19 cases are trending downward and many of the restrictions have been lifted.

We are about to complete a York-Adams football regular season that featured fewer than 10 postponed/canceled games due to COVID issues. In fact, the last two weeks have featured zero postponed/canceled games. That’s the first time that’s happened this season. It’s a promising trend.

Meanwhile, the nonleague games returned, as have the fans, and the district postseason is about to begin with full brackets in all six classes.

It’s a welcome return to near normalcy during very abnormal times.

Given that background, it seems like an appropriate time to take a deep dive into the district playoff outlook for the York-Adams League teams heading into the final weekend of the regular season. If the season ended today, the Y-A League would have a sizable contingent of nine teams in the district playoffs. The official district pairings are expected to be released Sunday, after the conclusion of Saturday night’s contests.

Class 6-A: Central York and York High look like locks to make the eight-team field in the PIAA’s largest classification.

The Panthers (9-0) are No. 1 in the district 6-A power ratings, while York High (7-1) is No. 4. Sandwiched in between are Harrisburg (8-1) and Central Dauphin East (7-2).

Central York, of course, is the defending district 6-A champion after taking down the Bearcats in last year’s final, 48-21. The Panthers are also ranked No. 1 in the state in 6-A, according to multiple statewide polls.

More:Latest Pennsylvania high school football rankings have been released: See what changed

In case you’ve been living under a rock, the Panthers and the Bearcats will square off on Friday night at Central York for the York-Adams Division I title in a hugely-anticipated showdown that will have an impact on the final district 6-A seedings.

The only other Y-A team with even a remote chance to make the 6-A bracket is Dallastown (5-4), which sits at No. 11 in the power ratings. The Wildcats will have to beat rival Red Lion (2-7) on Friday night and then hope a whole lot of dominoes fall their way to make the postseason.

Spring Grove's Andrew Osmun (12) is seen here in action earlier this season against Dallstown. The Rockets appear set to earn a District 3 Class 5-A football playoff berth. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Class 5-A: Three Y-A teams appear to have very good chances at making the 14-team 5-A district tournament.

Spring Grove (7-1), enjoying its best season in years, is a lock, sitting at No. 4 behind No. 1 Gov. Mifflin (6-0), No. 2 Shippensburg (9-0) and No. 3 Manheim Central (8-1). Gov. Mifflin is ranked No. 1 in the state in 5-A and is the defending district 5-A champion. The Mustangs are the team that everyone hopes will land in other side of the district 5-A bracket.

South Western (6-3) also appears in very good position at No. 8 in the district 5-A power ratings.

The Rockets and Mustangs face off Friday night at South Western. If Spring Grove wins that game, and some things fall the Rockets’ way, the remote possibility exists that Spring Grove could get one of the 5-A first-round byes, which will go to the top two teams in the final power ratings.

Gettysburg (6-3), sits at No. 11 in the power ratings. The Warriors, however, face a tough contest Saturday night at home vs. Twin Valley (6-3), which is No. 10 in the power ratings. With a win, the Warriors are almost certain to make the field. A loss, however, could make things tricky for Gettysburg, depending on how the teams behind them fare.

New Oxford (5-4) is on the outside looking in, at the moment, sitting at No. 15 in the district 5-A power ratings. The Colonials will be heavily favored on Friday vs. winless West York, but they may still need help to move up into the final top 14.

Kennard-Dale's David Smith is seen here in action earlier this season vs. York Suburban. The Rams (8-1) are enjoying the best season in program history and appear set to make the District 3 Class 4-A football playoffs. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Class 4-A: Ten teams will make the 4-A district draw and the Kennard-Dale Rams (8-1) look primed to take one of those spots.

The Rams, enjoying the best season in program history, are No. 7 in the latest 4-A power ratings and will be heavily favored on Friday vs. Eastern York (2-7). K-D will also be highly motivated. The Rams can clinch the outright York-Adams Division II title, which would be a first for the program.

More:K-D clinches share of D-II title, York High-Central showdown looms; other Friday football

K-D’s southern York County rival, Susquehannock (5-4), has a remote chance to make the 4-A district field. The Warriors are 13th in the power ratings. With a win Friday vs. York Suburban (2-6), and lots of help, Susquehannock could slip into the top 10.

Berks Catholic (6-2) is No. 1 in the 4-A power ratings, but the No. 2 team, Bishop McDevitt (7-1), is likely considered the favorite in the 4-A district field. The Crusaders are ranked No. 2 in the state in 4-A. McDevitt is also likely extremely motivated after missing out on last year’s four-team district bracket despite an unbeaten record.

Class 3-A: Bermudian Springs appears like the best bet from the Y-A League to make the eight-team 3-A district draw, despite an under-.500 record (4-5).

The Eagles sit at No. 7 in the power ratings and finish the regular season against winless Biglerville (0-8).

Hanover (3-5) is No. 11 in 3-A and may have a remote chance to make districts if it can upset rival Delone Catholic (5-4) on Friday night.

Everyone in this class wants to avoid playing Wyomissing (9-0), which is No. 1 in the power ratings and ranked No. 3 in the state in 3-A. Wyomissing is also the two-time defending district 3-A champion.

York Catholic's Levan McFadden is seen here in action last week in a win over Delone Catholic. The Fighting Irish look destined to earn the No. 1 seed in the upcoming District 3 Class 2-A football playoffs.

Class 2-A: York Catholic looks destined to grab the No. 1 seed in the four-team district 2-A tournament.

The Fighting Irish (8-0) are coming off a huge win over rival Delone and are big favorites to take down York Tech (1-8) on Friday.

More:Strong second half secures 13-6 win for York Catholic in D-III showdown at Delone Catholic

The Irish fell to Camp Hill in last year’s district final, 21-7.

There are no other 2-A teams from the Y-A League.

Class 1-A: Fairfield (5-3) and Delone (5-4) are both aiming for the No. 2 spot in the final 1-A district power ratings.

Fairfield is currently No. 2 and Delone is No. 3, despite the Squires owning a 24-0 win over Fairfield on Oct. 15. The current margin between the Green Knights and the Squires in the power ratings is razor thin.

Steel-High (8-1), the defending district 1-A champion, is a lock for the No. 1 seed in 1-A. The Rollers are also the defending state 1-A champion and ranked No. 1 in the state in 1-A this season.

Only the top two teams will advance to the district 1-A final.

Delone finishes vs. Hanover on Friday, while Fairfield takes on Littlestown (2-6).

Reach Steve Heiser at sheiser@yorkdispatch.com or @ydsports. Please consider subscribing to support local journalism.