The following are first-round District 3 playoff match-ups featuring teams from the York-Adams League.
District 3 Class 6-A Quarterfinals (Friday)
No. 6 Central Dauphin East (6-4) at No. 3 Red Lion (10-0) (7 p.m.): The Panthers aren’t your typical 6-4 team. C.D. East compiled its barely .500 record while playing in the toughest division in the Mid-Penn Conference, as well as playing a tough non-league schedule. The Panthers went 3-4 in division play after a 3-0 non-league start, but are coming off a strong win over a playoff-bound Bishop McDevitt program. The Lions capped a perfect regular season for the eighth time in program history, but for the first time since 1974. And it’s not like Red Lion squeaked by in many of those wins, either. The Lions have an average margin of victory of 28.6 points per game. The only concern might be that, come crunch time, the Lions don’t have a ton of close-game experience to fall back on, only playing in one game decided by 10 points or less all season. Predicted winner: Red Lion.
No. 7 Central York (7-3) at No. 2 Wilson (9-1) (7 p.m): If it wasn’t for Red Lion’s perfect regular season, the Panthers would be the feel-good story of the Y-A League this year. But Central’s turnaround from 3-7 in 2015 to 7-3 and playoff bound under first-year head coach Josh Oswalt is still a nice story. The Panthers played some of their best football in their toughest games, coming up with road wins over Northeastern and Dallastown. They're also the only team to remain within one score of Red Lion in the fourth quarter of a game all year. However, awaiting them is a perennial district championship favorite in the Bulldogs, who own six district titles. The only blemish on Wilson’s schedule this year came from the class’ top-seeded team, Central Dauphin, in the third week of the season. So, the Bulldogs enter this game riding a seven-game winning streak. If Central wants to even have a shot in this one, it can’t afford to fall behind like it did so many times this season because Wilson isn’t a team that will let you back in it. Predicted winner: Wilson.
District 3 5-A Quarterfinals (Friday)
No. 6 Cocalico (7-3) at No. 3 Northeastern (8-2) (7 p.m.): The Eagles are Lancaster-Lebanon League Section 2 co-champions with Manheim Central, going 6-1 in section play. Cocalico is just two years removed from playing for a district title, but is coming off a 5-5 season in 2015. The Eagles were held under 20 points just twice all season and are 7-1 since beginning the year with back-to-back losses. The Bobcats are in the midst of a five-game winning streak after suffering back-to-back defeats in Weeks 4 and 5 to begin section play. Northeastern had the second-best scoring offense (36.5 points per game) in the Y-A League, while also boasting the best scoring defense in the Y-A League, allowing just 10.2 points per game. Predicted winner: Northeastern.
District 3 4-A Quarterfinals (Friday)
No. 5 Lampeter-Strasburg (6-4) at No. 4 York Suburban (8-2) (7 p.m): The Pioneers had a very up-and-down season, winning their first three games before closing out the year just 3-4. L-S also enters the District 3 playoffs off its worse game of the season. Despite averaging nearly five touchdowns per game on offense, the Pioneers were held to a season-low six points in a 35-6 Week 10 loss to Cedar Crest. This is a familiar situation for the Trojans. Just like last season, Suburban enters the postseason at 8-2 and on an eight-game winning streak. However, the Trojans will try to better last year’s team by winning their first-round playoff game. Quarterback Ben Igo finished third in the Y-A League with 1,309 passing yards and the team is averaging 30.5 points per game on offense, while allowing 20.0. Predicted winner: York Suburban.
District 3 3-A Semifinals (Friday)
No. 4 Littlestown (7-3) at No. 1 Middletown (10-0) (7 p.m.): The Thunderbolts had a nice bounce-back year after a disappointing 2015 season. They returned to the postseason as the last team in the four-team field. Littlestown enters with the third-best scoring offense (32.3 ppg) in the Y-A League and the fourth-best scoring defense (12.0 ppg). It will need every bit of both when it takes on the Blue Raiders in this one. Middletown joins Red Lion as the only two undefeated teams left in District 3. The closest game Middletown played in all season was a 14-10 win over Palmyra. Over the entire year, the Blue Raiders have an average margin of victory of 32.5 points per game. Predicted winner: Middletown.
No. 3 Bermudian Springs (8-2) vs No. 2 Wyomissing (7-3) at Albright College, (7 p.m.): The Eagles finished as runners-up in the Y-A League Division III standings. Bermudian hasn’t put together a winning streak longer than three games all year, meaning that in order to win a district title, the Eagles will need to at least get to four straight wins. The Spartans began the year with two straight losses, but responded nicely and now enter the postseason with wins in seven of their last eight games, with the only loss being in Week 10 to a powerful Berks Catholic outfit. Wyomissing is no stranger to district action. The Spartans own seven district crowns. Predicted winner: Bermudian Springs.
District 3 2-A Final (Saturday)
No. 1 York Catholic (9-1) vs. No. 2 Newport (9-1) (at Boiling Springs High School) (6 p.m.): The Fighting Irish are in their fourth straight District 3 championship game, but maybe a change in class and location can do them some good. The previous three title games were played at the 1-A level and in Hersheypark Stadium. Now, as a 2-A program, it’ll play at Boiling Springs High School. For the second straight season, running back Jakkar Kinard will finish as the Y-A League's leading rusher and he’s only gotten stronger late in the season. After averaging just more than 5.0 yards per carry through the first six games of the season, he’s now up to 7.3 yards per attempt. The Buffaloes enter with the same strong record as the Fighting Irish, however they’ve done it by playing a weaker schedule. York Catholic played a schedule where the opponent winning percentage was .545, the best in the class. Newport’s opponents, meanwhile, had just a .373 winning percentage. There’s no doubt that the Fighting Irish will be the best team the Buffaloes have faced all season. Predicted winner: York Catholic.
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at email@example.com.