Some York-Adams storylines to follow during the District 3 football playoffs

STEVE HEISER
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  • Central York (6-A) and York Catholic (1-A) are No. 1 seeds in the District 3 football playoffs.
  • Spring Grove (8-1) enters the 5-A district tournament as the No. 4 seed.
  • York High is the No. 4 seed in the 6-A district bracket.
York Catholic's Quinn Brennan, back, catches the ball while Delone Catholic's Ryder Noel defends during Division III title football action at Delone Catholic High School in McSherrystown, Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. York Catholic would win the game 13-6. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Friday, the postseason party begins.

For the past 10 weeks, York-Adams League football teams have busted their humps with two major goals in mind — winning a division championship and making the District 3 playoffs.

Three of the league’s programs achieved the first objective, with Central York (D-I), Kennard-Dale (D-II) and York Catholic (D-III) claiming division crowns in unbeaten fashion.

Now it’s on to the second goal. Ten of the league’s 23 programs have advanced to district play, with eight of those teams in action on Friday night.

If you believe the power ratings, two of the Y-A schools should emerge as district champions and move on to the state playoffs. Central York (10-0) is the No. 1 seed in Class 6-A, while York Catholic (9-0) is the top seed in Class 2-A.

More:With playoffs looming, latest state high school football rankings are out: See what changed

It would surprise absolutely no one if the Panthers and the Fighting Irish lived up to their seeds.

Central, led by Penn State quarterback recruit Beau Pribula, is the defending district 6-A champion after a surprising but dominant run through a truncated 6-A field a season ago on the way to the 6-A state championship game.

York Catholic, meanwhile, has become a consistent power in small-school district action over the past decade, appearing in seven district finals in the past eight years, including 2-A district crowns in 2016 and 2018. Another district final appears likely for the Irish, who will play host to No. 4 seed Susquenita (5-4) on Friday night.

More:York Catholic, Kennard-Dale capture outright division titles; other weekend football

The interesting storylines, however, do not begin and end with the Panthers and Irish. There’s plenty of other juicy morsels to chew on with the opening night of district action looming.

For instance, here are three:

Can York High earn a rematch vs. Central? Central is fresh off a 60-14 beating of York High in the de facto D-I championship game last Friday in a monsoon.

The Bearcats would like nothing better than to get another shot at Central, hopefully in better weather, and prove they can stand toe-to-toe with the Panthers.

The rematch could come in the district 6-A semifinals. To make that rematch happen, however, both teams must survive quarterfinal contests on Friday, when Central plays host to No. 8 seed Manheim Township (6-4) and No. 4 seed York (7-2) welcomes No. 5 seed Wilson (7-3) to Small Field.

More:Central York crushes York High, 60-14, claims third straight Y-A League D-I championship

It would be a major surprise if Central, which is ranked No. 1 in the state in 6-A, didn’t advance. The Bearcats, however, have a much sterner test against a storied program that is a traditional district force. The Bulldogs own seven district football titles.

Wilson’s three losses this year came vs. teams with a combined 22-4 record. Of course, York High’s two losses came to foes with a combined 17-0 mark.

Wilson and York High have one common foe — a powerhouse Gov. Mifflin outfit (7-0), which is the No. 1 seed in 5-A and the top-ranked 5-A team in the state. Wilson lost to the Mustangs, 42-14, while York High fell to Gov. Mifflin, 55-6. Wilson’s defeat to Gov. Mifflin was the Mustangs’ closest game all season.

Spring Grove's Andrew Osmun, left, gets pulled down by Dallastown's Isaac Gutierrez during football action at Dallastown Area High School in York Township, Friday, Oct. 15, 2021. Spring Grove would win the game 28-21. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Can Spring Grove make a run in 5-A? Spring Grove (8-1) is enjoying one of the best seasons in program history, led by electric running back Zyree Brooks.

They’ve accomplished that despite dealing with some serious adversity, including an early-season injury to standout quarterback Andrew Osmun and the loss of all-star linebacker Tyree Brooks after his alleged post-game attack on an official.

The Rockets, however, don’t exactly have a stellar history in the district playoffs, with a 2-8 overall postseason record. Spring Grove’s last district win came in 2012.

Spring Grove, however, appears well-positioned to possibly grab a couple of playoff wins this year. The No. 4 seed Rockets open up at Papermakers Stadium on Friday vs. No. 13 seed Twin Valley (6-4). A win there would give Spring Grove another home game the following week vs. either No. 5 seed Waynesboro (8-2) or No. 12 seed Daniel Boone (5-3). Spring Grove already owns a 25-20 season-opening win over Waynesboro.

After that, however, things would get much, much tougher in the semifinals, where unbeaten Gov. Mifflin would likely be waiting.

Can a York-Adams underdog pull off a surprise on Friday? There are four other York-Adams teams in action this coming Friday.

All will play on the road vs. better-seeded teams.

In 5-A, No. 10 seed South Western (6-4) is at No. 7 seed Exeter (6-3), No. 14 seed New Oxford (6-4) is at No. 3 seed Shippensburg (10-0) and No. 9 seed Gettysburg (7-3) is at No. 8 seed Warwick (6-4). In 3-A, No. 6 seed Bermudian Springs (5-5) is at No. 3 seed Hamburg (6-3).

South Western has struggled against the better teams this season and Exeter, despite having three losses, is a very tough out. The Eagles’ three losses have come against two unbeaten foes (Central York and Gov. Mifflin) and a 6-4 Hempfield outfit that made the 6-A district field.

New Oxford would seem to have a very tall task in trying to take down an unbeaten Shippensburg squad that features a Minnesota recruit in 6-foot, 6-inch 255-pound Anthony Smith.

Bermudian Springs had to win its final three games just to get to .500 in a down season in D-III. Hamburg, meanwhile, could easily be 8-1. Two of its losses came by four points and two points, both to teams with winning records, while the other defeat came to unbeaten 3-A power Wyomissing. An Eagles upset is possible, but unlikely.

Gettysburg might be the best bet for an underdog victory on Friday. The Warriors appear to be peaking, winning six of their last seven, including three straight wins to end the season. Only an ugly 62-22 loss to D-II champion Kennard-Dale marred Gettysburg's late-season surge. Warwick, meanwhile, is a solid team, but not a powerhouse. This one looks like a tossup.

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