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COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF: Central York Panthers

Patrick Strohecker
505-5402/@P_Strohecker
  • Central York went 3-7 overall in 2015 and 2-5 in Y-A League Division I play.
  • Josh Oswalt is entering his first year as head coach of the Panthers.
  • Oswalt is replacing Brad Livingston, who was dismissed as head coach after 34 years.

This is the 18th installment of our daily preview capsules leading up to the start of the York-Adams League high school football season on Friday, Sept. 2.

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Who: Central York Panthers.

2015 record: 3-7 overall, 2-5 York-Adams Division I.

Coach: Josh Oswalt, first season.

Key returners (Division I All-Stars in bold): Jordan Bowie, senior, defensive back; Sakai Barton, senior, wide receiver/defensive back; Kollin Vaught, junior, running back/linebacker; Nic Espino, senior, defensive lineman; Todd Horner, senior, center/defensive tackle; Ben Ward, senior, tight end/defensive end; Carter Luckenbaugh, senior, kicker/punter.

Notable losses (Division I All-Stars in bold): Shyheim Goff, senior, running back; Rodney Johnson, senior, outside linebacker/return specialist; Brandon Falkenstein, senior, wide receiver; Nik Strine, senior, quarterback; Lonnie Blount, senior, center.

2016 schedule (Division I games in bold): Sept. 2 vs. West York (7 p.m.); Sept. 9 vs. Cumberland Valley (7 p.m.); Sept. 16 at Hempfield (7 p.m.); Sept. 23 at Northeastern (7 p.m.); Sept. 30 vs. South Western (7 p.m.); Oct. 7 at New Oxford (7 p.m.); Oct. 14 at Spring Grove (7 p.m.); Oct. 21 vs. Red Lion (7 p.m.); Oct. 28 at Dallastown (7 p.m.); Nov. 4 vs. York High (7 p.m.)

Outlook: It will certainly look different on Sept. 2 when fans of Central York look at the sideline and don’t see Brad Livingston there coaching the team. Livingston's 34-year tenure as Central's head coach came to a very tumultuous end over the winter. Replacing Livingston is Oswalt, one of three new head coaches in Division I.

Oswalt had some success in his six years at Carlisle — more than his 18-44 record would indicate. He built a dismal program into a playoff team and now must try to resurrect the Panthers. He has the resources and pool of players to field a good team, but Central could be lacking the talent this year to really improve off of last year’s disappointing three-win season. It was all or nothing for the Panthers’ offense in 2015, averaging 33.7 points per game in their three victories, but just 9.9 points per game in their seven defeats.

Central York moves forward under new coach Oswalt

Even if Central doesn’t look like a team poised to make a run at the division title or a playoff berth, becoming more consistent on a week-to-week basis is pivotal for the team in 2016.

Coach speak: “I know who Brad Livingston is. I know what he’s been able to establish and I actually get to walk through the things that he’s put together and actually be in his place. To kind of put that pressure on myself, the only thing I can do is work super hard, do the things that I do and just lead this program. No outside pressure, just on myself.” — Oswalt.

— Reach Patrick Strohecker at pstrohecker@yorkdispatch.com