Week 1 York-Adams League high school football preview capsules
The following are game capsules for York-Adams League teams for Week 1 of the high school football season. All games are at 7 p.m. on Friday night unless noted otherwise.
Bermudian Springs at New Oxford: Don’t let the class-size discrepancy fool you. The Eagles, a Class 3-A school, are among the favorites to win Division III, while the Colonials, a 5-A program, are simply looking to not go winless for a second consecutive season. Bermudian graduated quite a bit from a year ago, but returns junior Chase Dull at quarterback, who has started since his freshman season. New Oxford was inexperienced in 2016 and much of its core is returning, which should make it more competitive. The Eagles won last year’s meeting, 42-26.
Dallastown at Hempfield: Traditionally two strong big-school programs, both had rare early ends to their seasons in 2016. The Wildcats went 7-3, but failed to make the District 3 6-A playoffs. Dallastown was coming off a strong 2015 season and graduated a lot of players heading into last season. The Wildcats are always competitive under Kevin Myers and should be again in 2017. The Black Knights collected just three wins in 2016 after going 10-3 the previous season. Dallastown won in 2016, 17-13.
South Western at Gettysburg: You can bet that the nerves will be running wild for first-year Mustang head coach Chris Heilman. The South Western graduate and longtime assistant in the program will coach his first game as the boss. He was the only new Y-A coach hired during the offseason. The Mustangs went 4-6 last year, but do have a significant number of returners. The Warriors also lost several key players from last year’s 6-4 squad that tied for second in Division II. The senior class is experienced, but both lines will take time to develop, which could lead to early-season struggles. South Western blanked Gettysburg last season, 35-0.
Northeastern at Daniel Boone: The Bobcats had huge expectations in 2016 and, for the most part, lived up to them. It didn’t result in a Division I crown, but they did make the District 3 5-A playoffs. Now, Northeastern seems destined to take a step back from its 8-3 year after heavy graduation losses. Still, the Bobcats should be a winning team in 2017. The Blazers were 3-7 in 2016 and, while an improvement could be in store, it doesn’t seem likely that it leads to a win in the opener. The Bobcats thrashed Daniel Boone last season, 60-6.
Red Lion at Waynesboro: This is a showdown between two big schools that both graduated a bunch from 2016. The Lions lost nearly all of their starters to graduation from last year’s squad that went unbeaten in the regular season and 10-1 overall. The Indians graduated 20 kids from last year’s 7-4 team. Red Lion should still be strong, primarily because so much of this year’s starting cast saw significant varsity experience late in games last season when the Lions were blowing out teams. One of those returners is Zach Throne, who will move from wide receiver to quarterback to replace Sam Emig. Red Lion won last year’s contest, 38-14.
Spring Grove at Hershey: The Rockets are desperately hoping that this is the year they can get above the .500 mark under head coach Kyle Sprenkle. After finishing 2015 strong to make the district playoffs, a 4-2 start in 2016 was halted by a 1-3 finish. Even as a 5-A school, Spring Grove has been plagued by low numbers. The Rockets will need guys to step up on both sides of the ball if they want to contend for a district berth. The Trojans, on the other hand, are simply hoping to put a 1-9 2016 season behind them. Current head coach Frank Isenberg is in his second season after being the third head coach in as many seasons in 2016. Spring Grove easily rolled to a win last year, 42-9.
Central York at West York (0-1): This traditional Week 1 rivalry has a new wrinkle this year after the Bulldogs decided to move a non-league game against Gov. Mifflin up to Week 0. So one team has game experience while the other doesn’t. The Panthers enter the season with serious Division I and district expectations. Central went 7-4 last year after the emergence of Cade Pribula at QB as a sophomore. After losing its opener to Mifflin, 48-13, West York has its home opener. The Bulldogs struggled last week in the first half, achieving just one first down, but showed better signs in the second half, scoring both touchdowns. Central cruised to a 45-15 win last year.
Reading at York High: The Bearcats enter with some of the highest expectations for the program in recent memory. Led by arguably the best running back in the league, Khalid Dorsey, and an offensive line only getting better and more experienced, York High could be a middle-of-the-pack team in 2017 after going 1-9 in 2016. Like the Bearcats, the Red Knights are a team that always has plenty of athletes, which makes these games highly entertaining. Reading is coming off a 4-6 year, so it might be a little further along than York High. Last year’s game saw the Red Knights win, 35-24.
Shippensburg at Dover: The Eagles definitely have the talent to contend for a Division II title, thanks in part to an experienced group of seniors. Much of this group has seen significant varsity experience for the past two years and it’s ready to make it show on the field and improve on a 4-6 year in 2016. The offensive line is talented and the backfield duo of Derek Arevalo and Brandon Lawyer should reap the benefits of that. The non-league schedule isn’t going to be easy, starting with a Greyhounds team that made the District 3 4-A title game a season ago, going 11-2. Carter Van Scyoc is back for a second season at QB, but he’ll be without some of his top receiving targets from 2016 and a less-experienced offensive line. Shippensburg rolled 42-6 last year.
Lampeter-Strasburg at Eastern York: The Golden Knights struggled in non-league play last year, going winless, but were strong in division play, finishing 4-6 overall. Eastern returns the bulk of its core from last year, but will go into this game with a new QB and center, after brothers Seth and Trey Bernstein transferred to York High. The Pioneers are coming off a 7-5 2016, which saw them make the District 3 4-A playoffs. L-S brings back starting QB Todd Shelley, who passed for more than 2,500 yards last season. The Pioneers won in 2016, 42-7.
Kennard-Dale at Pequea Valley (0-1): The Rams were one of three teams in the Y-A League to go 0-10 in 2016 and the only one to do it in Division II. But, in the second full season under Chris Grube, K-D returns the majority of its roster, bringing hope that 2017 will come with some wins. The Rams will be fresh out of the gates in this one, while the Braves have already played a game. They lost that one, 34-6, to Schuylkill Valley. This will be a good opening test for the Rams, who lost last year’s contest, 30-14.
Northern York (1-0) at Susquehannock: The Warriors are looking to improve on last year’s 3-7 season and bring back five starters on both sides of the ball. However, not among those are graduated QB Chase Summers and running back Jack Allred. Those two pieces are going to be tough to replace. The Polar Bears got off to a strong start already in 2017, winning in Week 0 over Octarora, 35-22. In that game, Northern put up 396 yards of offense, including 236 on the ground. The Bears won last season, 14-12.
York Suburban at York Catholic: This will be a nice opening-week test for both teams after graduating significant parts of last year’s teams. The Trojans are coming off a second consecutive Division II crown, going 8-3 overall, but again need to replace a great deal for a second straight year. Meanwhile, the Fighting Irish won Division III and the District 3 2-A title last season, making states and finishing 10-2 overall. However, all-state QB Dan Yokemick and all-state running back Jakkar Kinard were both lost to graduation. Expect both sides to be stronger later in the year. York Catcholic took this match-up in 2016, 20-14.
Annville-Celona (0-1) at Biglerville: The Canners are coming off a winless 2016, but should be better this season. Coach Alex Ramos has a more experienced group in some positions, but also still has inexperience in other places. Meanwhile, the Little Dutchmen are coming off a brutal 36-34 Week 0 loss to Trinity, in which the officials issued an apology after an incorrect call led to the Shamrocks’ winning two-point conversion. A-C nipped Biglerville in 2016, 35-30.
Trinity (1-0) at Delone Catholic: The Squires were a strong group in 2016, going 7-3, but struggled against the top Division III teams, such as York Catholic, Bermudian and Littlestown. Delone lost a lot from last year’s side, so it’ll likely revert to a team that hovers around the .500 mark. The Shamrocks, as mentioned above, were helped by a controversial call in their Week 0 win over Annville-Cleona. Right or wrong, Trinity is 1-0 and is definitely a feared team in District 3 3-A. The Squires won last year’s game, 17-7.
St. Joseph’s Catholic at Fairfield (0-1): The Green Knights come into this one already having played a game in Week 0, a 19-13 loss to Marian Catholic. The loss was the seventh in a row for Fairfield dating back to last season, but Marian Catholic is a solid team out of District 11, so the close defeat can be used as a stepping stone. The Wolves also got started last week and were shut out by Bucktail, 12-0. The Knights won last year’s meeting, 47-15.
Hanover at James Buchanan: The Nighthawks are coming off a 5-5 year in 2016, but could be stronger in 2017. Had QB Camden Mumma not gone down for half the season with a broken collarbone, Hanover could’ve found itself in contention in Division III. He’s back healthy and that’s promising for the Nighthawks, who put up big offensive numbers with him behind center. The Rockets, meanwhile, aren’t in a good place. They requested permission to leave the Mid-Penn Conference and play an independent schedule in the hopes of being more competitive. Permission was granted. The Nighthawks won last year’s game, 55-36.
Littlestown at Boiling Springs: The Thunderbolts got back to winning under Mike Lippy in 2016, going 8-3 overall and qualifying for districts. This year’s squad should again be competitive in Division III with a number of starters back. The Bubblers went 0-10 last season, but return four members of an offensive line which should contribute to a better offense. Littlestown shut out Boiling Springs in 2016, 28-0.
Harford Tech at York Tech (1 p.m.): The Spartans needed just one win over the final three games in 2016 to have their first winning season in years, only to finish 0-3 and go 4-6 overall. Still, it was a step in the right direction for a struggling program. This year, however, things don’t look promising. Tech graduated the league’s leading receiver in Jordan Ray and saw QB Josiah Smallwood transfer to York High. The Cobras went 5-5 last season, which included an opening-week victory over the Spartans, 38-14. Last year, these two teams began what should be an annual rivalry between the two vocational schools, called the “Battle for the Mason-Dixon Line.”
Reach Patrick Strohecker at email@example.com.