York County seniors reflect on football chapter closing

Patrick Strohecker
  • Seniors all across York County will play their final high school football games on Friday night.
  • Several of those senior spoke to The York Dispatch about what football means to them.

Dover head coach Wayne Snelbaker reflected on his final game as a member of the Eagles' high school team.

Dover senior Cole Jesmer will play his final high school football game for the Eagles on Friday night against Susquehannock. John A. Pavoncello - jpavoncello@yorkdispatch.com

In his last game with the program years ago, Wayne stepped onto the Dover field and played with his younger brother, Jim. It was the only time the two ever played together in their careers.

As the Eagles prepare for their final game of the 2016 season Friday night at home against Susquehannock, Snelbaker addressed the entire team, but mainly directed his message to the seniors who will play their last high school game on Friday night. There are several groups of brothers on the team and a few will play one last time with each other.

With more than half of the 23 York-Adams League teams set to play their final games of this football season on Friday night, a large group of seniors will step onto the prep gridiron one final time. For most of them, it will be their final time playing competitive football.

The emotions will be at an all-time high for all of them, because there's little that is more special for a high school athlete than playing under the Friday night lights. When it comes to an end, it can feel like a chapter is closing in their lives.

Jordan Ray, who led the York-Adams League in receiving this year for York Tech, committed to play football in college for FCS program Hampton University last week. Amanda J. Cain photo

The York Dispatch caught up with several seniors from three teams around the league — York High, Dover and York Tech, one from each of the three divisions — to get their thoughts as their final high school game approaches.

What do they enjoy most about high school football?

"The football community in York is such a close-knit group. Everyone knows everyone through social media, so that's great how people are always in contact, congratulating each other, and that's been great to be a part of." — York Tech wide receiver Jordan Ray

"The best thing about high school football is knowing you have a team behind you that has your back. Having your family with you, coming out of the tunnel, having the band playing, hundreds of fans yelling. It's the greatest thing." — Dover receiver Cole Jesmer.

What will they miss most about high school football?

"I'm going to miss the hard offseason and joking around and then getting ready for Friday nights." — York High defensive tackle and linebacker Marcus Mitchell.

"Just being out here and being a part of a family of a bunch of guys. The locker room during the summer. Bloomsburg (camp), that I've been doing every year since, forever that I can remember. Just hanging out with the guys." — Dover lineman Andrew Shaffer.

"Just having that crowd and your family at the games every week and playing with the teammates that you've played with since little league. I'm going to miss it because, with college, we all spread out with different schools and I'm going to miss playing in front of your friends and family." — York High linebacker and wide receiver Eric Mann.

"Not being able to put on that uniform anymore." — York High defensive tackle and linebacker Devon Estrada-Waneso.

What has this season has been like?

"It's been a fun season. I like the players and coaches. Just out here having fun, being physical and hitting people." — Shaffer.

"Everybody still showed up. I felt like our Senior Night, there were a lot of people there and it felt like the day we played McCaskey. Not as exciting, but just about. It was our last home game and it felt good." — York High tackle Malik Perkiss, on the team having to play Saturday day home games.

York High senior Marcus Mitchell has been one of the leaders on the Bearcats this year that's helped change the attitude surrounding the program. Dawn J. Sagert - dsagert@yorkdispatch.com

Has the fact that Friday is the last game hit you yet?

"It hasn't really fully hit me that it's going to be my last high school football game, but I know it's going to hit me at some point during this week. I just hope it hits me before the game so I can really go into the game with the knowledge that it's my last game and I can play to the best of my abilities." — Ray.

"It felt like the four years went so fast. I remember starting freshman football and now I'm a senior and it's over." — York High wide receiver and safety Durvel Wilson.

"It hasn't sunk in completely yet, but it's something that I think about all the time. It's never going to leave and it's always going to be there and I'll always miss playing on this field." — Jesmer.

— Reach Patrick Strohecker at pstrohecker@yorkdispatch.com