COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF: Preview look at the 2017 York Catholic Fighting Irish football team
- York Catholic finished 10-2 overall last season.
- The Fighting Irish went 7-0 en route to the York-Adams Division III crown.
- The Irish also won the District 3 Class 2-A title and earned a state playoff berth.
This is the eighth installment of our daily preview capsules leading up to the start of the York-Adams League high school football season.
►Team: York Catholic Fighting Irish.
►Coach: Eric Depew, seventh season.
►2016 record: 10-2 overall, 7-0 in York-Adams Division III (division champion).
►Key losses (Division III All-Stars in bold): Dan Yokemick, Jakkar Kinard, Brenden Kennedy, Ryan Sewell, Adam Bittner, Jake Hamilton, Mike McKim.
►Key returners (Division III All-Stars in bold): Matt Knauer, OL-DL; Liam Landis, OL-DL; Riley Brennan, WR-LB; Kyle Dormer, RB-LB; Carter Sinclair, FB-LB; Kevin Duncan, TE-LB; Dimitri Amalfitano, WR-DB; Wes Burns, QB; Drew Snelbaker, RB-LB; Harris Kohl, OL-DL; Jared Kohl, OL-DL; Richard Pokrivka, OL-DL.
►2017 schedule (Division III games in bold): Sept. 1, vs. York Suburban (7 p.m.); Sept. 8, vs. Susquehannock (7 p.m.); Sept. 15, at Berks Catholic (7 p.m.); Sept. 22, vs. Delone Catholic (7 p.m.); Sept. 29, at Hanover (7 p.m.); Oct. 6, at Littlestown (7 p.m.); Oct. 13, vs. Biglerville (7 p.m.); Oct. 20, at Bermudian Springs (7 p.m.); Oct. 27, vs. Fairfield (7 p.m.); Nov. 4, at York Tech (2 p.m.).
►Outlook: York Catholic delivered an unforgettable season in 2016, winning its first district title (Class 2-A) in 34 years and advancing to the state playoffs for the first time ever.
A number of key players from last year's team graduated, including quarterback Dan Yokemick, running back Jakkar Kinard and receivers Brenden Kennedy and Ryan Sewell. Yokemick passed for the 1,327 yards and 20 touchdowns in addition to rushing for 1,098 yards, Kinard rushed for a league-best 2,071 yards, while Kennedy and Sewell grabbed 40 and 17 passes, respectively. Yokemick and Kinard shared York-Adams Division III Player of the Year honors.
Despite the graduation losses, the Fighting Irish aren't dialing back on the goals for 2017. "Hungry for a repeat" head coach Eric Depew wrote when listing team strengths. The other team strength? The offensive and defensive lines. "We have four returning starters up front, and this is a physical-type group," Depew said.
It certainly is an imposing group. Liam Landis, Matt Knauer, Harris Kohl, Jared Kohl and Rich Pokrivka average 248 pounds, with Landis the biggest guy of the quintet, checking in at 6 feet, 5 inches and 360 pounds.
"We've worked together a year now, and we consider ourselves a tight group," " Landis said.
The Fighting Irish may not be explosive as they were last season, but with six starters returning on both offense and defense, they certainly have to again be considered a contender for division and district honors.
Reach Dick VanO'Linda at email@example.com.