'Legends of the Fall:' Reflecting on standout York-Adams performances from this autumn

Spring Grove celebrates a 3-1 win over Hampton during PIAA Class 3-A girls' volleyball championship action at Cumberland Valley High School in Mechanicsburg, Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021. Dawn J. Sagert photo

They were the “Legends of the Fall.”

The York-Adams League athletes who enjoyed legendary performances this autumn are far too young to remember the 1994 movie by that name. In fact, none of them were even born when the film starring Brad Pitt and Anthony Hopkins first came out.

Still, that movie’s title perfectly describes the efforts of our local high school competitors over the past few months.

It’s an appropriate time to reflect on those accomplishments

The area fall prep season ended Saturday afternoon in fitting fashion — with a state championship.

Nevaeh Wolfe’s winning kill sparked a wild celebration at Cumberland Valley High School by the Spring Grove girls’ volleyball team, which earned the program’s first-ever PIAA crown.

The 3-1 victory over Hampton for the Class 3-A state title was years in the making. Big things were expected from the Rockets ever since the group went undefeated as eighth graders.

Needless to say, Liz Zeigler’s outfit didn’t disappoint, finishing the 2021 season at 28-1. The only team that was able to take down Spring Grove was another York County program — York Suburban — which defeated the Rockets for the overall York-Adams League championship. Spring Grove later avenged that defeat by downing Suburban for the District 3 3-A crown.

It could be strongly argued that the two best teams in the state in 3-A both came from York County. It’s just further proof that this region is a hotbed for high school volleyball — for both our girls’ and boys’ programs.

It is, without a doubt, the strongest prep sport that York County has to offer.

The local standout achievements this fall, however, didn’t end with volleyball. Here are some other performances of note:

Central York senior quarterback Beau Pribula runs the ball against Spring Grove on Friday. Pribula threw for 294 yards and four touchdowns in the 48-17 win.

End of an era: Beau Pribula’s high school career officially ended with a 14-11 District 3 6-A semifinal setback to Wilson.

That ended the Panthers’ season far earlier than the players and their supporters hoped.

Still, Pribula’s career was, by any definition, historic.

In three years as a starting quarterback, the Penn State recruit led the Panthers to three Y-A D-I titles, two unbeaten regular seasons, a District 3 6-A crown and an appearance in a 6-A state final.

Those are unprecedented team accomplishments for a York County football program.

Individually, his numbers were off the charts.

As a senior, he threw for 2,576 yards, despite sitting out for large periods during Central blowouts. He completed 141 of 198 passes (71%) with 33 touchdowns and six interceptions.

It’s hard to dispute that he’s best quarterback ever produced in these parts.

Now he’ll take his talents to Happy Valley.

Spring Grove's Zyree Brooks runs the ball for a touchdown during PIAA District III, Class 5-A first-round football action against Twin Valley at Spring Grove Area High School in Jackson Township, Friday, Nov. 5, 2021. Spring Grove would win the game 33-6. Dawn J. Sagert photo

In a rush to succeed: In high school football, given the limited schedules, it’s exceedingly difficult to rush for 2,000 yards in a single season.

This fall, however, two local backs topped that elite mark.

Spring Grove senior Zyree Brooks led the Rockets to a 10-2 season and a District 3 Class 5-A semifinal berth. He led the Y-A League with 2,243 yards, averaging 9.0 yards per carry, to go with 31 TDs.

York High junior Jahiem White piled up 2,128 yards in just 10 games and averaged a remarkable 13.1 yards per carry, helping the Bearcats to a 7-3 record. He scored 30 TDs.

The only disappointment was that we didn’t get to see those two backs on the same field this fall. The scheduled York High-Spring Grove game was not played because of COVID-19 issues.

York High's Jahiem White, seen here in a file photo, rushed for 242 yards with three touchdowns on Friday in a loss to Wilson. He also threw for a 78-yard TD.

Wildcats take pair of district titles: The Dallastown girls’ cross-country program has become well known for its running prowess, but even for the Wildcats, the 2021 season was something special.

Dallastown went 20-0 in the regular season en route to the York-Adams Division I title. The Wildcats then added Y-A overall and District 3 3-A championships, before capping off the season with a runner-up finish at the state 3-A meet.

Dallastown also claimed a district 3-A title in golf with a young team that could be a postseason force for years to come.

The Wildcats also won the Y-A D-I crown at 36-0 and the overall Y-A crown by a whopping 23 shots with a league-record 280 score. Dallastown eventually finished fifth in the state 3-A tournament.

Dallastown's Makensy Knaub tees off at the PIAA Class 3-A Golf Championships at Heritage Hills Golf Resort Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021. Bill Kalina photo

One player that Dallastown will have to replace is senior standout Makensy Knaub, who leaves with three league girls' crowns and two district 3-A girls' titles.

Other achievements of note: Here are some other fall accomplishments that should be noted:

►The York Catholic football team went undefeated in the regular season and made a district football final for the eighth time in nine years. The Y-A D-III champion Fighting Irish also won their third district championship since 2016. It’s a remarkable run of success.

►The Kennard-Dale football team enjoyed their best season in program history at 10-2, while winning the Y-A D-II crown and earning a district 4-A playoff win — both program firsts. It was, without doubt, the most memorable season ever for a program that has long struggled.

►The Central York field hockey team won the Y-A D-I and overall league championships before finishing third in the district 3-A field. The Panthers then earned the first two state playoff wins in program history before suffering an overtime defeat in the state semifinals. Such a run is notable in a sport where Y-A teams typically don’t experience great success.

►Northeastern and Dallastown shared the Y-A D-I boys’ soccer championship. The Bobcats went on to claim their first league title since 2002, while Dallastown eventually advanced to the district 4-A final before dropping an overtime decision to a then-unbeaten Central Dauphin team. Dallastown then saw its state run end with a 1-0 quarterfinal loss to a Conestoga team that went on to win the state 4-A crown.

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