COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF: A preview look at the Red Lion Lions

Patrick Strohecker
York Dispatch
  • Red Lion won the Division I title last season, going 10-0 in the regular season.
  • The Lions graduated 10 all-stars from last year's team, including Offensive Player of the Year Sam Emig and Co-Defensive Player of the Year Nick Argento.
  • Zach Throne is moving from wide receiver to quarterback to lead the offense this season.

This is the 23rd, and final, installment of our daily preview capsules leading up to the start of the York-Adams League high school football season.


►Who: Red Lion Lions.

►2015 record: 10-1 overall, 7-0 Division I.

►Coach: Jesse Shay, fifth season.

►Key losses (Division I All-Stars in bold): Sam Emig, senior, quarterback/kicker/punter; Nick Argento, senior, offensive/defensive lineman; Dylan Gurreri, senior, running back; Jeff Lucas, senior, offensive lineman; Bronson Warner, senior, offensive lineman; Patrick Daugherty, senior, fullback/linebacker; Paul Jones, senior, wide receiver/cornerback; Stephen Tierney, senior, offensive/defensive lineman; Ben Frey, senior, tight end/defensive end; Dakota Cleary, senior, center; 

►Key returners (Division I All-Stars in bold): Zach Crossland, senior, running back/safety; Zach Throne, senior, quarterback; Jamel Foster, senior, wide receiver/linebacker; Denny Dennison, senior, wide receiver/cornerback; Elijah Workinger, junior, running back/linebacker.

►2016 schedule (Division I games in bold): Sept. 1 at Waynesboro (7 p.m.); Sept. 8 vs. Daniel Boone (7 p.m.); Sept. 15 at Chambersburg (7 p.m.); Sept. 22 vs. York High (7 p.m.); Sept. 29 at Northeastern (7 p.m.); Oct. 6 vs. South Western (7 p.m.); Oct. 13 at New Oxford (7 p.m.); Oct. 20 vs. Central York (7 p.m.); Oct. 27 vs. Spring Grove (7 p.m.); Nov. 3 at Dallastown (7 p.m.).

Red Lion football coach Jesse Shay is the Y-A Division I Coach of the Year. Bill Kalina photo

►Outlook: Jesse Shay never beat around the bush last year when he would say that, if Red Lion was to ever win a Division I title, 2016 was the year. It was such a senior-heavy team that it would've been a disappointment not to accomplish that. Well, the Lions accomplished that, running the table in the regular season before losing a defensive struggle in the opening round of districts.

Now, the question for 2017 isn't if Red Lion takes a step back, but how substantial of one? Fortunately, the many holes needing to be replaced this year will come from players who still saw significant varsity time last season. Because the Lions blew out many of their opponents, the second-string players often saw the field, providing them with experience.

Still, replacing D-I Offensive Player of the Year Sam Emig at quarterback (and kicker and punter) and Co-Defensive Player of the Year Nick Argento won't be easy. Taking over for Emig will be Zach Throne, who actually had a strong junior season as a wide receiver, but will now transition to QB. He's athletic, like Emig was, so he should lead the offense fine.

Red Lion should still be a playoff team, but repeating last year's undefeated regular season is unlikely.

►Quotable: “There are some players that would go ahead and say, 'My year is on the banner. I was on that 2016 team,' and they'd be happy with that. I don't want players like that and everything that these players have shown me, last year is dead and gone to them. We don't want to talk about it anymore. (We want to) make our own mark on the program." — Jesse Shay

— Reach Patrick Strohecker at