COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF: Red Lion Lions
- Red Lion went 7-4 overall last year and 5-2 in Y-A League Division I play.
- The Lions have improved their win total every year in three seasons with Jesse Shay as head coach.
- Red Lion will look to win its first playoff game under Shay, going 0-2 in two prior appearances.
This is the 20th installment of our daily preview capsules leading up to the start of the York-Adams League high school football season on Friday, Sept. 2.
Who: Red Lion Lions.
2015 record: 7-4 overall, 5-2 York-Adams Division I.
Coach: Jesse Shay, fourth season.
Key returners (Division I All-Stars in bold): Nick Argento, senior, offensive guard/defensive tackle; Dylan Gurreri, senior, running back/linebacker; Pat Daugherty, senior, fullback/linebacker; Stephen Tierney, senior, offensive and defensive tackle; Dakota Cleary, senior, center/defensive tackle; Jeff Lucas, senior, offensive and defensive guard; Bronson Warner, senior, offensive and defensive tackle; Ben Frey, senior, tight end/defensive end; Sam Emig, senior, quarterback; Taylor Uberti, senior, wide receiver/safety; Paul Jones, senior, wide receiver/cornerback; Giuliano Favorito, senior, wide receiver/cornerback.
Notable losses (Division I All-Stars in bold): Alex Keough, running back/linebacker; Kendrick Boyd-Gillespie, wide receiver/defensive back/return specialist; Dalton Grove, quarterback; James Jackson, wide receiver/defensive back; Kai’son Mitchell, defensive end; Brooks Argento, linebacker; Cole Snyder, wide receiver/cornerback; Dillon Hildebrand, wide receiver/cornerback; Colton Rider, linebacker.
2016 schedule (Division I games in bold): Sept. 2 vs. Waynesboro (7 p.m.); Sept. 9 at Daniel Boone (7 p.m.); Sept. 16 vs. Chambersburg (7 p.m.); Sept. 23 at York High (7 p.m.); Sept. 30 vs. Northeastern (7 p.m.); Oct. 7 at South Western (7 p.m.); Oct. 14 vs. New Oxford (7 p.m.); Oct. 21 at Central York (7 p.m.); Oct. 28 at Spring Grove (7 p.m.); Nov. 4 vs. Dallastown (7 p.m.)
Outlook: Red Lion continues to improve year after year under head coach Jesse Shay, topping its win total from the previous season in each of his first three years.
The next step for the Lions to take is actually two steps. The first is winning the York-Adams Division I title, a feat that’s eluded them the previous two years, finishing as runner-up or co-runner-up in 2014 and 2015. The second would be to win a District 3 playoff game. Red Lion is 0-2 in two postseason appearances under Shay. If there was ever a year for the Lions to check off one, or both, of those feats, this could be it. The team is very senior-laden, despite losing numerous key players from 2015. But, stepping up are more seniors who saw valuable time as juniors and will now try to leave their marks on the program as seniors.
Among them is Emig, the expected starting quarterback for Red Lion. He got some snaps last year as a junior, but will also be responsible for helping along a new receiving corps that must replace Boyd-Gilespie and Jackson.
One game to watch for the Lions is Week 5, when they host Division I favorite Northeastern on Sept. 30.
Coach speak: "What I want to see, whether it’s a senior, a junior — I’ve had sophomores that have been leaders — I want to see a person or a group of people step up and claim the mantle of leadership for this team.” — Shay.
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at email@example.com