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COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF: A preview look at the York High Bearcats

Patrick Strohecker
York Dispatch
  • York High is coming off a 1-9 season in 2016, but is much improved and returns a number of skill-position players.
  • Russell Stoner is entering his second season as the team's head coach.
  • Running back Khalid Dorsey has received a number of FCS scholarship offers to play in college.

This is the 17th installment of our daily preview capsules leading up to the start of the York-Adams League high school football season.

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►Team: York High Bearcats.

►Coach: Russell Stoner, second season.

►2016 record: 1-9 overall, 1-6 Division I.

►Key losses (Division I All-Stars in bold): Erik Mann, senior, safety; Malik Perkiss, senior, offensive/defensive lineman; Durvel Wilson, senior, safety/cornerback.

►Key returners (Division I All-Stars in bold): Dayjure Stewart, junior, running back; Khalid Dorsey, senior, running back; J.J. Bryant, senior, cornerback; Robert Rideout, junior, wide receiver; Jamal Watson, junior, defensive lineman; Anthony Jamison, junior, wide receiver; Dahmier Banks, senior, offensive/defensive lineman.

►2017 schedule (Division I games in bold): Sept. 1 vs. Reading (7 p.m.); Sept. 8 at J.P. McCaskey; Sept. 15 vs. Cedar Cliff; Sept. 22 at Red Lion (7 p.m.); Sept. 29 vs. Dallastown (7 p.m.); Oct. 6 at Spring Grove (7 p.m.); Oct. 13 at Northeastern (7 p.m.); Oct. 20 vs. South Western (7 p.m.); Oct. 27 at New Oxford (7 p.m.); Nov. 3 vs. Central York (7 p.m.).

William Penn coach Russ Stoner speaks to reporters at the York-Adams Football Media Day at the York Newspaper Company Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017. Bill Kalina photo

►Outlook: It's rare that you can get excited about a 1-9 season, but there's optimism surrounding the 2017 Bearcats.

The one win in 2016 was still an improvement over the winless 2015 campaign, but it was more than just about the lone win. York High was a lot more competitive in its losses than the previous year, showing that it was becoming a more complete team in the first year under Stoner.

Now it's time for the Bearcats to take the next step, which is to win more than a game and become more of a threat in Division I. That doesn't necessarily mean contend for a division title. That's likely still a ways away. What it could mean, though, is perhaps stealing a win or two from some teams that, on paper, might look better than York High.

The Bearcats boast a respectable stable of skill-position players. That should make the offense strong, led by Football Championship Subdivision-recruit Khalid Dorsey at running back. There's also a quarterback battle going between three different candidates, Seth Bernstein, Josiah Smallwood and Micah Anciso, all of whom are transfers.

York High football team ready to take next step in second year under Stoner

Also, Friday night games will be back at Small Field after the final four home games of last year were moved to Saturday afternoons after a shooting in the parking lot during the home opener ruined the high school tradition for the 2016 Bearcats.

EDITORIAL: Return to Friday night football at William Penn is right move at right time

►Quotable: "I thought our kids did a pretty good job with the circumstances last year. The one thing about our kids is that they're a close-knit group of kids, so that actually is something that probably brought them closer together and that sort of spring-boarded us into the offseason." — Stoner

— Reach Patrick Strohecker at pstrohecker@yorkdispatch.com