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Week 1 York-Adams high school football game capsules

Patrick Strohecker
505-5402/@P_Strohecker
  • Week 1 of the York-Adams League football season starts Friday.
  • In all, there are 19 games involving York-Adams teams on Friday.
  • There are four match-ups pitting York-Adams teams against each other.

The following are game capsules for Week 1 of the York-Adams League football season. All games are slated for 7 p.m. Friday. Each team is listed with last year's record.

Dallastown will face Hempfield this Friday, one of the best matchups on the Week 1 slate. The two teams combined for 18 wins a year ago. Dawn J. Sagert - dsagert@yorkdispatch.com

Hempfield (9-4) at Dallastown (9-2): The Wildcats enter this season without several instrumental players who helped the team win a Division I title in 2015. Dallastown may take a step back after three consecutive seasons of winning at least nine games, and it’ll get a stiff test right out of the gates. Awaiting the Wildcats in Week 1 are the Black Knights, a team that is coming off a 2015 year that saw it go all the way to the District 3 4-A semifinals. Hempfield is in the same boat as the Wildcats this year because of a lot of losses to graduation. So, while this is the first meaningful game for both teams, it’ll also serve as the first true gauge for each side to see what they’ll have moving forward.

Gettysburg (1-9) at South Western (7-4): This is one of a few cross-division match-ups between Y-A League teams in Week 1. If Division I truly is Northeastern’s to lose, then the Mustangs are one of a few teams that are just a rung down on the ladder and ready to pounce should the Bobcats slip. Despite losing a number of all-stars from 2015, what South Western does have is arguably the most dynamic player in the league. This game will mark the return of Division I recruit Drew Hartlaub, the senior running back who tore his ACL in Week 1 last year. Awaiting South Western are the Warriors, a team coming off a 1-9 season in 2015 that was, by all accounts, a rebuilding project. Just how much has changed for the better from 2015 to 2016? This is the first chance to answer that question for Gettysburg. The Mustangs won last year's meeting, 38-13.

STROHECKER: Northeastern favored to win Division I

Daniel Boone (3-7) at Northeastern (9-3): Varsity football is still relatively new for the Bobcats, but this year is about as good as any to see the program win its first Division I title. This home opener for Northeastern has all the makings of being like a Division I college football opener when a Power 5 school begins the year against a low-rated team as a tune-up. The Bobcats return numerous standouts from last year’s team that made it to the District 3 3-A quarterfinals, while the Blazers went just 3-7 in 2015 and could be over-matched in this one.

Waynesboro (6-4) at Red Lion (7-4): The Lions are a team built to contend in the Y-A Division I race and could make a run at a District 3 6-A playoff spot. While the team would like to know what it has on offense as it tries to cope with the graduations of quarterback Dalton Grove, wide receiver Kendrick Boyd-Gillespie and running back Alex Keough, Red Lion’s true test in Week 1 could come on defense. The Indians enter the 2016 season on the heels of two straight six-win seasons, most of which is the product of a high-flying offense. Waynesboro scored at least 30 points seven times in 2015 and 40-plus points on four occasions.

Hershey (3-7) at Spring Grove (5-6): The Rockets finished strong in 2015 and made the playoffs under first-year coach Kyle Sprenkle. Now, Spring Grove is hoping to use that as a springboard to bigger success. The Rockets welcome back Jake Messersmith under center for a third straight year, by far the most experienced quarterback in the league. Meanwhile, the Trojans will enter the season with a new head coach for the second consecutive season. Hershey went just 3-7 in 2015 and has been a program near the bottom of the district power ratings for the past two years.

West York (5-5) at Central York (3-7): The traditional rivalry between the two York County schools will have a different feel to it this year without Brad Livingston on the sidelines for the Panthers. The longtime coach was dismissed from the program and replaced by Josh Oswalt, who previously coached at Carlisle. Central had holes in most areas in 2015 and it remains to be seen how it’s done filling them. As for the Bulldogs, this could be the coming-out party for senior Anton Johnson, who will finally get his chance to shine at quarterback for the varsity team. He’s the perfect example of what West York will be all about this year: speed. If the Bulldogs can get to the edges, watch out. They might rip off huge chunks of yardage regularly in this one. The Panthers won last year's meeting, 31-28

York High (0-10) at Reading (6-6): This will be an interesting year for the Bearcats and their fans. On one hand, there might not be a lot of wins coming for York High after going winless last season, but that won’t measure success. What will is how first-year coach Russell Stoner can get his players to buy back into the program and build a foundation for the future. That starts in Week 1 with a road tilt against the Red Knights, who made the postseason a year ago. In recent years, these two programs have gone in different directions, with the Bearcats going south, while Reading has made progress. This could be the first step in Stoner and York High changing course and heading back on a positive path. Reading won last year's opening-week showdown, 36-0.

Dover (4-6) at Shippensburg (7-4): Much like with the Bearcats, Week 1 is the chance to start fresh for the Eagles. A once-promising 2015 campaign was marred by off-field issues, leading to a disappointing losing season. Now, the Eagles come back with a team full of experienced players, a product of underclassmen being forced into varsity action to play out the final four games because of the suspension of numerous starters. The Greyhounds are coming off a seven-win year and return most of their offense and defense. But what lingers is a 42-17 bludgeoning at the hands of Dover in last season’s meeting, just one of a few slip-ups for Shippensburg a year ago.

Eastern York (4-6) at Lampeter-Strasburg (9-3): Week 1 brings about the head coaching debut of new Golden Knights head man Jeff Mesich. He comes over from Northeastern, where he coached the defensive side of the ball with the Bobcats. However, with a defensive coordinator already in place with Eastern, he’s taking the offensive reins and is switching the Golden Knights from a run-heavy offense into more of a spread attack. That could bring about more exciting football in Wrightsville. But, awaiting Mesich and Eastern to begin the season is a tough showdown with the Pioneers, the two-time Lancaster-Lebanon Section II champs. Lampeter-Strasburg will run the ball more than in past years after graduating a three-year starting quarterback in Collin Shank, but that doesn’t mean it’ll lack offensive firepower.

STROHECKER: Division II football looks up for grabs

Pequea Valley (6-4) at Kennard-Dale (3-7): The Rams showed some fight to close out the year in 2015, but it took a coaching change to do it. Fortunately, one of the coaches who took over on an interim basis last year, Chris Grube, is back as the full-time guy. That could bring about some optimism surrounding the program, something that’s lacked for years now. Will it start in Week 1, though? That’ll certainly be tough, especially against a Braves side that enters the 2016 campaign with a chip on their shoulders after being the first team out of the District 3 2-A playoffs last year, despite going 6-4. Pequea Valley opened its season last weekend with a 14-13 win over Schuylkill Valley.

Susquehannock (5-5) at Northern York (8-4): The Warriors had a bit of a resurrection under Steve Wiles in his first year as head coach in 2015. Susky went 5-5, which was a drastic improvement from previous seasons. However, it lost a lot of what made that team better, so a step back is possible. They’ll get a good taste of a quality foe right off the bat when they travel to take on the Polar Bears, a team littered with former Y-A League coaches and a team fresh off a successful 2015 campaign. Northern made it to the District 3 3-A quarterfinals last season and has numerous pieces from that team returning. The Polar Bears won the 2015 meeting, 38-14.

York Catholic (6-6) at York Suburban (9-2): Two schools separated by about five minutes present us with a very intriguing Week 1 cross-division rivalry in the Y-A League. On one hand, you have the Fighting Irish, a program that has made it to three straight District 3 1-A title games. The Irish should be a force again this year in the Y-A League Division III standings. Catholic returns the league’s leading rusher from a season ago in Jakkar Kinard, as well as quarterback Dan Yokemick. Meanwhile, the Trojans lost a whole lot from their Division II championship team from a year ago. So, while Suburban is riding high off a strong 2015, this will actually be a good test to see where it could potentially stand moving forward in 2016.

New Oxford (2-8) at Bermudian Springs (5-5): The Greg Bowman era for the Colonials begins with a tough road challenge against the Eagles in another Y-A League cross-division showdown. Despite being the larger school, it’s hard to see New Oxford hanging with Bermudian for this game. The Colonials haven’t seen much success in recent seasons, while the Eagles are typically the class of Division III. And even though Bermudian had a down year in 2015, it ended strong, winning five of its last six games, so it enters Week 1 on with that momentum. New Oxford pulled off a shocking upset in Week 1 last year, claiming this showdown, 24-21.

STROHECKER: Irish, Eagles look like favorites in D-III

Biglerville (8-4) at Annville-Cleona (6-5): The Canners enter 2016 as the reigning co-Division III champions, but also begin the season unsure of what they have returning. Much of what made Biglerville so successful last year is gone, so this could be a transition year for Biglerville. The 2016 season begins with the Little Dutchmen, a team also in the same boat as the Canners. They lost a lot from last season’s playoff team. However, A-C has 20 seniors on its roster this year, but many of them haven’t seen a ton of varsity playing time, so it might take the Dutchmen some time to really find their stride, which was apparent in their Week 1 loss to Trinity, 55-27. A-C won this match-up in a shootout last season, 39-36.

Delone Catholic (4-6) at Trinity (3-7): The Squires could make some noise in the Division III race this season, thanks in large part to the return of numerous experienced players from the 2015 team. Among them is Brian Shermeyer, the returning quarterback for Delone from a season ago. That instantly gives the Squires a leg up in a league and division that isn't returning a whole lot of experienced QBs. They can get off to a solid start with a road win over the Shamrocks in Week 1. Trinity is just 8-22 in its last three seasons and has been facing a numbers issue during that time, but has started to see them increase in recent months. The Shamrocks won their opener last Friday over Annville-Cleona, 55-27, and also took this meeting vs. Delone in 2015, 42-28.

Fairfield (1-9) at St. Joseph’s Catholic (2-7): There aren’t many games on the Green Knights’ schedule where you’d pencil them in as the favorite, but this is one of them. With that said, Fairfield could see some improvement over recent years. That's largely because of the starting quarterback. Junior Darian Mort is a talented athlete and his performance in his second year as the team’s starting QB could dictate just how many wins the Green Knights can accumulate this season. As for St. Joe’s Catholic, it’s a team that is very light on players, with only 20 players listed on its roster online. That won’t bode well for anyone and it showed in the team's opening week shutout loss to Bald Eagle Area, 54-0.

Boiling Springs (6-5) at Littlestown (2-8): The Thunderbolts are looking to regain their form of a few years ago after suffering back-to-back losing campaigns. Because of last year’s disappointing 2-8 year, Littlestown didn’t lose any all-stars, but also only brings back one, running back/defensive back Wes Storey. He’ll be the catalyst for the Thunderbolts as they look to kick off the year on a winning note and inch head coach Mike Lippy closer to his 100th career win. The Bubblers were a playoff team a year ago at 6-5 and could be even better this year with Bryan Malone back. He rushed for nearly 1,400 yards and 17 touchdowns as a junior. If Littlestown wants to open up the year with a win, it’ll need to stop Malone first. Boiling Springs won last year's contest, 35-0.

York Tech (2-8) at Harford Tech (5-5): The Spartans will kick off their season by traveling south of the Mason-Dixon Line and into Maryland. York Tech is welcoming back former head coach Charlie Troxell for his second stint with the program. The Spartans went 2-8 last year. That seems to be about as good as the team will manage for a while. This will be a tough opening game for York Tech, facing a Cobras team that went 5-5 a year ago and has a roster more than three times the size of the Spartans.

James Buchanan (0-10) at Hanover (9-2): The Nighthawks are reigning co-Division III champs, but after losing almost all of their skill-position players from last year’s team, this could be a rebuilding year. Hanover does have wide receiver Jesean Williams back, so he’ll be the focal point of the team’s offense, as well as every opposing defense. The Rockets are coming off a season in which they were one of four winless programs in District 3 3-A, so even with the Nighthawks looking like they’ll take a step back this year, they should still manage a home victory to kick off 2016. Hanover won this game in a rout in 2015, 33-0.

— Reach Patrick Strohecker at pstrohecker@yorkdispatch.com