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COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF: Dallastown Wildcats football preview

PATRICK STROHECKER
YorkDispatch

This is the 23rd and final installment of our daily preview capsules leading up to the start of the York-Adams League high school football season on Friday.

Who: Dallastown Wildcats.

2014 record: 9-2 overall, 7-0 Division I.

Coach: Kevin Myers, 11th season.

Key returners: Cade Gold, senior, quarterback; William Reilly, senior, offensive guard/linebacker; Jake Jansen, senior, wide receiver/defensive back; Kiwane Tarbet, senior, wide receiver/defensive back; Jack Marks, senior, running back/linebacker; Jordan Burns, senior, offensive tackle/defensive end.

Notable losses: Addison Quinones, running back/safety; Owen Ritter, tight end/defensive back; Tray Noye, offensive tackle/defensive tackle; Justin Tindull, offensive tackle/defensive end; Kristoffer Phennicie, offensive tackle/defensive end; Mac Curran, kicker; Jacob Garrity, punter

2014 All-Stars: Quinones, running back/safety; Ritter, tight end; Noye, offensive tackle; Tindull, offensive tackle/defensive end; Phennicie, defensive end; Curran, kicker; Garrity, punter; Jansen, wide receiver; Burns, defensive tackle; Reilly, defensive tackle.

2015 schedule: Sept. 4, at Lancaster Catholic (7 p.m.); Sept. 11, vs. West York (7 p.m.); Sept. 18, at Penn Manor (7 p.m.); Sept. 25, vs. Spring Grove (7 p.m.); Oct. 2, at York High (7 p.m.); Oct. 9, vs. Northeastern (7 p.m.); Oct. 16, at South Western (7 p.m.); Oct. 23, vs. New Oxford (7 p.m.); Oct. 30, at Central York (7 p.m.); Nov. 6, vs. Red Lion (7 p.m.).

Outlook: After back-to-back down years in 2011 and 2012, Dallastown responded with playoff appearances the last two seasons, including winning Division I in 2014. But, in 2015, the Wildcats will be faced with a task that could make repeating as champions much more difficult.

In 2014, Dallastown was built for success. It had all the necessary pieces in place. Realistically, anything less than a Division I title and playoff berth would've been a disappointment. Now, the Wildcats are forced to replace many of those notable players that made them so good, including Division I Player of the Year Quinones. He rushed for 1,111 yards and also caught 12 passes for 194 yards. He was, in a word, dynamic. But, more than just him, Dallastown lost a number of guys from its hulking offensive line, including Tindull and Zaire Willis.

But, if there's any reason to think that the Wildcats can withstand those losses and defend their crown, it's at the most important spot on the field — quarterback.

Gold is returning after passing for 1,262 yards and rushing for another 309 as a junior in 2014. It'll be up to him to bring along a core of wide receivers and tight ends expected to pick up the workload left behind by all-star Ritter. Fortunately, Gold can lean on returning all-star Jansen and tight end Reilly.

The big match-up to watch comes in Week 7, when Dallastown travels to South Western. The Mustangs are a favorite to dethrone the Wildcats, so a head-to-head match-up at that point in the season could be the ultimate decider on who lifts the Division I title in Week 10.

It'll be tough to replace Quinones and the other pieces, but if there's one final person Dallastown can rely heavily on in 2015, it's reigning Co-Coach of the Year, Myers. He's entering his 11th season with the program and has 19 wins in his last two seasons. Expect that number to grow substantially in 2015.

Coach speak: "We had solid offseason workouts. We had a great team camp. They're excited to get playing and I'm pleased where we're at right now. We're always cautiously optimistic, but I like where we're at and they like where they're at." — Myers.

— Reach Patrick Strohecker at pstrohecker@yorkdispatch.com.