STROHECKER: Div. I, Div. III teams impress in Week 1
- Division I and Division III teams went a combined 12-4 in Week 1.
- Division II teams went 0-7 in the opening week.
- Northeastern's 60-6 win was the largest margin of victory for a Y-A League team in Week 1.
Just like that, the first official week of York-Adams League high school football is in the books.
All 23 teams in the league got started Friday night. We were blessed with some blowouts and some nail-biters, like any great football week. However, one thing stood out after the first slate of games. The Division I and Division III teams looked mighty strong in their openers.
Of the 16 games featuring teams from those divisions, the combined record was 12-4, with each division going 6-2. There were predictable outcomes but also some surprises. So here’s a more in-depth breakdown of the openers.
Division I: To start, let’s get the predictable out of the way. Three of the teams expected to battle for the Division I crown — Northeastern, Red Lion and South Western — proved why they’re receiving so much hype. The three teams combined to defeat their foes 133-20, with the Mustangs shutting out Gettysburg, the Bobcats only allowing six points to Daniel Boone and the Lions keeping high-flying Waynesboro to only 14 points. Business as expected for those teams.
Maybe one of the big shocks came from a team not often referred to as an underdog. Defending D-I champion Dallastown opened its season with a thrilling home victory over a strong Hempfield side, 17-14. It was proof that, no matter how much the Wildcats lose to graduation, you can never dismiss them as a contender.
Central York got things off to a good start under first-year coach Josh Oswalt. The Panthers showed they not only have speed on offense, but also a stout defense in their 45-15 win over West York. Spring Grove also was victorious in its opener, having little trouble getting past a Hershey program that’s been struggling in recent years, winning 42-9.
York High and New Oxford were the only Division I teams to lose in the opening week, but both showed some promise in defeat. The Bearcats, under first-year head coach Russell Stoner, gave a Reading team all it could handle on the road, losing 35-24. That’s an improvement over a year ago, when the Red Knights shut out the Bearcats. In fact, last year it took York High several games into the season to even hit 24 points scored. As for the Colonials, they played an exciting game against Bermudian Springs but ran out of gas late in a 42-26 loss.
Division III: The three favorites in Division III this year — York Catholic, Delone Catholic and Bermudian — all were victorious to open their 2016 campaigns. We mentioned Berm’s big win over New Oxford, which will help greatly in the District 3 power ratings. The Eagles are a 3-A school, while New Oxford is 5-A. The same goes for the 2-A Fighting Irish, who went on the road and defeated York Suburban, a 4-A school, 20-14. And the Squires opened up their season with a solid 17-7 road win at Trinity, a team that beat Delone handily a year ago and thumped Annville-Cleona in Week 1.
Hanover hung up 55 points in its win over James Buchanan but allowed 36 points in the process. The saying, “a win is a win” is true, but considering the Rockets scored just nine points during all of 2015, the Nighthawks might have some tightening up to do on defense. Fairfield, predictably, had little trouble with a St. Joseph’s Catholic side that had a roster only in the 20s. So, while the Green Knights’ 47-15 win was expected, they still had to go out and perform, which they did.
Littlestown might have provided the Y-A League with the most impressive win, shutting out a potent Boiling Springs offense with its 28-0 victory, showing that back-to-back down years could be a thing of the past. Boiling Springs thumped Littlestown a year ago.
Biglerville suffered a tough loss to Annville-Cleona, 35-32. That game saw each team score in the final 90 seconds, with the Canners taking the lead in the final minute, only to see the Little Dutchmen answer back in the final seconds. York Tech also opened its year with a loss to Harford Tech, losing 36-14. Still, the Spartans showed some fight.
Tough week for Division II: While Division I and Division III teams excelled in Week 1, the seven teams from Division II would probably like to hit the reset button.
The teams that make up Y-A League Division II are all still searching for their first wins, with their average margin of defeat a lopsided 22.9 points. Only Susquehannock’s 14-12 loss to Northern York and the Trojans’ six-point loss to York Catholic came down to one score, while four of the teams lost by 30-plus points.
Week 2 can’t come soon enough for the Division II teams.
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at email@example.com