The York Suburban football program went more than three decades between its last league division title in 1982 and finally snapping the drought last year.
After knocking off Gettysburg, 28-22, on Friday night, the Trojans have now earned at least a share of the York-Adams League Division II title for the second straight season, the first time the program has done that since the 1961-62 seasons. With one more win next Friday night over Eastern York, York Suburban can make it back-to-back years of being outright division champions.
"We played catch-up to everyone else early on," Suburban head coach Andy Loucks said. "The kids were able to catch back up because the kids worked their tails off to get back to where we needed to be in order to beat good football teams, for instance, like Gettysburg."
Facing a Warriors (5-4 overall, 3-2 Division II) team that entered the night with just one league defeat and looking to move into a tie for the division lead with York Suburban (7-2, 5-0) and Eastern York, it was the Trojan defense that dominated the game.
With Suburban up by 20-7 at halftime, it looked like the Trojans were going to pull away with the contest. But, Gettysburg opened the third quarter with a strong opening drive, eventually scoring to make it 20-14.
"I've known (Gettysburg head coach) Matt (Heiser) for 25 years," Loucks said. "They were going to come out and fight in the second half to try to win that football game because that's his personality and they follow his personality. They don't quit."
A pair of missed field goals by Suburban in the second half kept the game within a score late into the fourth quarter. The Warriors looked to have a drive going to tie or take the lead in the fourth quarter, but a fumble on third down gave the Trojans the ball back in good field position and led to their put-away touchdown. Jadon Haynes punched in the insurance touchdown from three-yards out, putting Suburban ahead 28-14.
Gettysburg did score a late touchdown with five seconds to play to bring the game to within a score, with Ferrious Ashford scoring on a 40-yard catch and run, but it was too little, too late.
The Suburban defense completely shut down Gettysburg's rushing attack in the first half, forcing the Warriors to resort to their less-efficient passing game. And it showed.
For much of the first 24 minutes, Gettysburg struggled moving the ball offensively on successive drives, while the Trojans used a steady mix of runs and passes to established enough of a lead to hold onto it through the entirety of the second half.
After Suburban got a quick 3-and-out to open the game defensively, the offense drove 89 yards on 12 plays to take a 7-0 lead early in the game. The drive was capped by quarterback Ben Igo's 16-yard run. That touchdown was followed by a nine-yard score through the air by Willie Batty, hauling in the pass from Igo to make it 13-0 Trojans late in the first quarter.
The only real sign of life the Warriors' offense showed in the first half came on the ensuing possession when quarterback Josh Clapsaddle connected with Brady Fouchie for a 43-yard score to cut their deficit to just 13-7 by the end of the first quarter.
York Suburban scored the only points of the second quarter, a 26-yard touchdown catch by Haynes on 3rd and long, to give the Trojans a 20-7 lead at halftime. Gettysburg was held to just 88 yards of offense and four first downs in the first half, 69 of which came through the air. Suburban, meanwhile, racked up 207 yards of offense and 13 first downs.
"(Edny Celius) is the best running back in the county," Loucks said about Gettysburg's run game. "He gets a crack and he's gone. He's a player. So, the games that he's run wild, they've had no problem winning. So, we knew from way back in Week 1, if you're going to beat Gettysburg, you gotta shut him down."
Celius, the league's fourth-leading rusher entering the night, was held to zero yards on three carries in the first half and just 47 yards on 13 total carries for the game.
Clapsaddle ended his night going 10-of-21 for 195 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Ashford led all receivers in the contest with 114 receiving yards on six catches.
Haynes entered the night as one of the Y-A League's leading rushers, but was limited to just seven carries for 57 yards, primarily used as a defensive player. Most of his carries, however, came in the second half when Teague Hoffman went down with a minor injury, forcing Haynes into a larger offensive role.
"I was more excluded to defense this game, but when I saw that Teague went down, I knew that somebody had to carry the ball, so I just stepped up," Haynes said. "When your team needs you, you gotta step up."
Hoffman finished with a game-high 84 rushing yards on 14 carries, while Igo completed 13-of-19 passes for 184 yards and two touchdowns.
The difference in the game, however, was in the turnovers. The fumble and interception was the difference in the outcome, according to Heiser.
"When you're in a close game, you can't turn the ball over," Heiser said. "We made those mistakes tonight."
The Trojans will look to cap a second straight 8-2 season and perfect division mark when they travel to Wrightsville next Friday in a contest that will decide if Suburban will be outright Division II champions.
The Warriors close out their season in Week 10 with a visit from West York.
YORK SUBURBAN 28, GETTYSBURG 22
YS — Igo 16-yard run (Weinstein kick), 4:55
YS — Batty 9-yard catch (Kick failed), 1:34
Get — Fouchie 43-yard catch (Bridel kick), :44
YS — Haynes 26-yard catch (Weinstein kick), 3:55
Get — Newman 10-yard run (Bridel kick), 8:16
YS — Haynes 3-yard run (2-point conversion good), 1:08
Get — Ashford 40-yard catch (2-point conversion good), :05
First Downs: Get, 17. YS, 21
Rushes-Yards: Get, 34-114. YS, 39-230
Passing Yards: Get, 195. YS, 184
Comp-Attempts-INTs: Get, 10-21-1. YS, 13-20-0
Penalties-Yards: Get, 3-35. YS, 4-25.
Punts-Average: Get, 3-44.0. YS, 2-28.0
Fumbles-Lost: Get, 2-1. YS, 0-0
Individual Passing: Get, Clapsaddle, 10-21-195, 2 TD's. YS, Igo, 13-19-184, 2 TD's. Harris, 0-1-0.
Individual Rushing: Get, Celius 13-47. Newman 10-39. Ashford 3-11. Gayle 3-9. Clapsaddle 2-8. YS, Hoffman 14-84. Haynes 7-57. Torres 9-57. Igo 7-28. Harrison 2-4.
Individual Receiving: Get, Ashford 6-114. Fouchie 3-70. Gayle 1-11. YS Deardorff 4-62. Hoffman 4-60. Haynes 2-47. Batty 2-15. Torres 1-0.
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at email@example.com