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STROHECKER: Despite struggles, Division II up for grabs

Patrick Strohecker
505-5402/@P_Strohecker
  • Division II teams are just 4-17 through three weeks of play in 2016.
  • Dover, Susquehannock, Gettysburg and York Suburban have each won once.
  • Kennard-Dale, Eastern York and West York are still searching for their first wins.

The York-Adams League Division II football teams haven’t fared so well this season.

The York-Adams League opens up league play this weekend and brings renewed hope for some programs that struggled during non-league competition. Amanda J. Cain photo

If you’ve paid much attention to high school football during September, you’ve probably noticed. As a group, the D-II teams are a combined 4-17 through three weeks of non-league action.

So far, Dover, Susquehannock, Gettysburg and York Suburban are 1-2, while West York, Kennard-Dale and Eastern York are 0-3.

Before the season, it was argued that there was no clear-cut favorite to win the division. Honestly, every team still has a chance at the title because, despite the division’s collective struggles, the non-league games really don’t matter in the grand scheme of the Division II race. Sure, you could probably write off the 0-3 teams from making the District 3 playoffs, while the teams with one win are likely just a loss away from having their postseason dreams dashed as well.

So, with that as the case, all seven programs need to look at Week 4 as the start of a new season. One where they can put their minds toward one goal, because every team now stands at 0-0 in division play.

When Dover head coach Wayne Snelbaker spoke following his team’s 38-14 loss on Friday night to Red Land, he referenced the team’s youth and the growing pains his team will go through during the season.

Despite a rough opening three weeks for the teams in Division II, with the start of league play in Week 4, the slate is wiped clean and all seven teams can set their sights on the division title. Amanda J. Cain photo

Quite frankly, he isn’t the only coach with those problems within the division. If there is an excuse for Division II’s struggles, it's youth.

Along with the Eagles, York Suburban is trying to replace one of the most accomplished passing games in recent York County history. Gettysburg is coming off a 1-9 season in 2015 in what was a clear rebuild, and it’s still unknown what this year will hold. Susquehannock lost a lot from last season’s 5-5 team. Kennard-Dale and Eastern York are not only inexperienced, but also have new head coaches. And West York is a team that, while it may not have admitted it, has the looks of a team building for the future.

All of this bodes well for a competitive future in Division II, but for 2016, maybe not.

Sure, the division will be nip-and-tuck over the course of the next seven weeks, but it won’t be like seeing a Red Lion vs. Northeastern showdown in Division I or a Bermudian Springs vs. York Catholic match-up in Division III. It might mean weekly contests of teams fighting to get back to .500. The eventual division champ might be .500, at best.

Of course, it means that the division is up for the taking.

Should any team hit even a three-week stretch of hot play, that could be enough to separate itself from the pack. While none of the teams boast even a winning record after three weeks, that doesn’t mean some haven’t shown signs of promise.

The Golden Knights, for instance, nearly shocked an upstart Littlestown team this past Friday, losing late, 18-14.

On a week-to-week basis, the quality of football might not be the prettiest. but Division II will provide the league's fans with entertainment for seven weeks.

Whichever team wins the division may not have a winning record, nor will it most likely make the District 3 playoffs. But, some team or teams will be crowned the Division II champion, and that’s worth something.

With the slates wiped clean beginning now, it’s there for the taking.

— Reach Patrick Strohecker at pstrohecker@yorkdispatch.com