COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF: A preview look at the Central York Panthers

Patrick Strohecker
York Dispatch
  • Central York is coming off a 7-4 season in 2016, in which it went 5-2 in Division I and made the District 3 6-A playoffs.
  • The Panthers return six all-stars from 2016, but also graduated six all-stars.
  • Quarterback Cade Pribula is back for his junior season after leading the Y-A League in passing as a sophomore.

This is the 21st installment of our daily preview capsules leading up to the start of the York-Adams League high school football season.

►Team: Central York Panthers.

►Coach: Josh Oswalt, second season.

►2016 record: 7-4 overall, 5-2 Division I

►Key losses (Division I All-Stars in bold): Noreaga Goff, senior, running back; Sakai Barton, senior, wide receiver; Carter Luckenbaugh, senior, kicker/punter; Ben Ward, senior, tight end; DeArnie Waters, senior, offensive/defensive lineman; Jordan Bowie, senior, cornerback.

►Key returners (Division I All-Stars in bold): Tim Sturgis, senior, wide receiver; Cade Pribula, junior, quarterback; Quin Bacha, senior, linebacker; Deontay English, senior, linebacker; Darnell Johnson, junior, safety; Cody Southivong, senior, offensive/defensive lineman; Eddie Santiago, senior, wide receiver/defensive back; Dustin Grim, senior, tight end; Austin Ilgenfritz, senior, offensive/defensive lineman; Kollin Vaught, senior, running back/linebacker; Joey Sauers, senior, wide receiver/defensive back; Obioma Anyatonwu, senior, wide receiver/cornerback.

►2017 schedule (Division I games in bold): Sept. 1 at West York (7 p.m.); Sept. 8 at Cumberland Valley (7 p.m.); Sept. 15 vs Hempfield (7 p.m.); Sept. 22 vs. Northeastern (7 p.m.); Sept. 29 at South Western (7 p.m.); Oct. 6 vs. New Oxford (7 p.m.); Oct. 13 vs. Spring Grove (7 p.m.); Oct. 20 at Red Lion (7 p.m.); Oct. 27 vs. Dallastown (7 p.m.); Nov. 3 at York High (7 p.m.).

►Outlook: After opening everyone's eyes last year, there's no hiding for the Panthers in 2017.

Central High School football coach Josh Oswalt enters his first year as head coach of the Panthers, replacing longtime head coach Brad Livingston. Bill Kalina photo

Central York, under first-year head coach Josh Oswalt and sophomore quarterback Cade Pribula, went from 3-7 in 2015 to 7-4 in 2016, making the District 3 Class 6-A playoffs. Now, because of all of that success, Central York is being billed as the team to beat in Division I.

The Panthers graduated six Y-A League all-stars from last year's team, but also return six all-stars and a host of other talented and experienced seniors. Among those is Pribula, who led the Y-A League in passing last season and still has plenty of weapons returning.

After starting 18 players last year with no prior starting varsity experience, this year's Central team is much more mature. Ten starters return on defense alone, making the Panthers a scary team, not only in Division I, but perhaps even during the early part of the district playoffs. Big schools from York County haven't fared well in the postseason, so can Central break that trend?

The Panthers open with back-to-back road games, including a huge contest against an always-talented Cumberland Valley team, but then plays four of their five home games in a five-week stretch after that. There's a real shot for Central to be 6-1 going into a three-week stretch against Red Lion, Dallastown and York High, which could ultimately decide the Division I race.

►Quotable: "We had maybe 18 new starters last year that didn't start a game prior to (last season) and our whole projection was that we're going to grow up with these guys and see where they can take us." — Oswalt

— Reach Patrick Strohecker at