Red Lion senior Jamel Foster and head coach Jesse Shay discuss the team's 31-14 win over York High in Week 4 of the 2017 Y-A League season.
RED LION — The Red Lion football team saw and heard all the praise heaped upon its Week 4 opponent, York High, in the days leading up its Friday night, Sept. 22 showdown.
It was all deserved, as the Bearcats got off to a 3-0 start in non-league play and did so in convincing and flashy fashion.
But, the last the Lions checked, they were the reigning York-Adams League Division I champions and were also unbeaten after non-league play. Granted, Red Lion was coming off a Week 3 in which it received a forfeit victory over Chambersburg, but unbeaten is unbeaten and the Lions faced a stiff Division I test right off the bat.
Highlights from Red Lion vs York High football
Only one of the two teams could come out of Friday night's game still undefeated and establish itself in the upper echelon of the division. And, until anyone proves otherwise, Red Lion is still the class of Division I, defeating York High, 31-14, at Horn Field to move to 4-0 on the year and 1-0 in league play. The Bearcats fell to 3-1 on the season and 0-1 in Division I.
"We proved that, the team that we had last year is gone and we can still play football," Lions' senior Jamel Foster said. "It's not the same team that it was last year. We can still play football, especially with a great team like York High."
If there was any concern about Red Lion having to shake off any rust from not playing a game in Week 3, that was quickly put to rest on its opening possession. Electing to receive the opening kickoff, the Lions marched down the field, chewing up nearly half of the first quarter, before Zach Throne capped the drive with a one-yard touchdown to put Red Lion ahead, 7-0.
That drive set the tone and, for the rest of the night, it was all Lions.
Red Lion maintained the one-score lead heading into the second quarter, until Throne connected with Denny Dennison on a 24-yard touchdown strike on fourth and long, putting the Lions ahead 14-0. An Elijah Workinger 41-yard field goal right at the end of the first half carried Red Lion into the halftime break with a 17-0 advantage.
"Our quarterback did a real nice job running our run-pass option," Lions' head coach Jesse Shay said. "He's got the freedom to look and see what (York High) is doing and adapt the call to whatever he sees."
Throne continued to dominate the game, mostly with his feet, in the second half. Red Lion extended its lead to 24-0 on a 59-yard scoring drive, with Throne gobbling up 44 of the yards on quarterback keepers, to which the Bearcats had no answer.
"Our line did a heck of a job blocking up front and Eli did a heck of a job (going in motion)," Throne said. "We just executed like I know we should."
York High finally got on the board late in the third quarter to avoid getting shut out, with Nigel Williams scampering in from 11 yards out to make it a 24-6 ballgame.
However, the Lions' defense never let the comeback gain steam, constantly suffocating the Bearcats' offense. Throne put the game to rest with his third rushing touchdown of the night — and fourth overall — on a 65-yard run with less than four minutes to play in the game.
Williams broke off a 63-yard run for his second touchdown of the night with one minute to play in the game, adding a consolation score for York High.
While Throne had the big game offensively for Red Lion, the story was how the Lions' defense played, particularly against the Bearcats' standout running back, Khalid Dorsey.
Dorsey, who entered the game leading the Y-A League in rushing, was held mostly in check.
Dorsey was averaging 235.3 yards per game through the first three contests and more than 12 yards per carry, but, in the first half, was held to minus-1 rushing yard on four carries. He did get going some in the second half, breaking off runs of 28 and 29 yards to eventually end the night with 78 rushing yards, but it was his most benign performance of the season, in large part because of the Red Lion defense.
"Our defensive ends did a really good job of bottling him up, so he didn't get around to the outside too much and we just came up and had to tackle him," Foster said about stopping Dorsey.
Dorsey still led York High in rushing, but there was no consistent performer on the team to keep the Bearcats in the game. Seven false start penalties and a pair of holdings stalled drives and regularly set York High behind the sticks.
Throne finished the night completing 15 of 18 passes for 134 yards and running for 145 yards on 21 rushes. His favorite receiver was Zach Crossland, who hauled in nine passes for 68 yards, most of which were on jet sweep plays that also regularly chewed up yards to keep drives moving forward for the Lions.
Up next for Red Lion is a road game against Northeastern, which dropped its first game of the season to Central York on Friday night.
Meanwhile, this Bearcats team must now deal with its first sign of adversity as they host 3-1 Dallastown in Week 5.
RED LION 31, YORK HIGH 14
RL - Throne 1-yard run (Workinger kick), 6:37
RL - Dennison 24-yard catch (Workinger kick), 5:25
RL - Workinger 41-yard field goal, :7.3
RL - Throne 5-yard run (Workinger kick), 3:32
YH - Williams 11-yard run (2-point conversion failed), :18.4
RL - Throne 65-yard run (Workinger kick), 6:29
YH - Williams 63-yard run (Williams 2-point conversion), 1:00
First Downs: YH, 12. RL, 17
Rushes-Yards: YH, 28-203. RL, 37-192
Passing Yards: YH, 104. RL, 134
Comp-Attempts-INTs: YH, 8-22-0. RL, 15-18-0
Penalties-Yards: YH, 9-55. RL, 4-30
Punts-Average: YH, 3-25.3. RL, 3-41.3
Fumbles-Lost: YH, 0-0. RL 1-0.
Individual Passing: YH, Anciso 8-21-104, 0 TD. Smallwood 0-1-0, 0 TD. RL, Throne 15-18-134, 1 TD.
Individual Rushing: YH, Dorsey 12-79. Williams 4-76. Stewart 8-37. Anciso 4-11. RL, Throne 21-145. Ness 6-39. Crossland 6-10. Mentzer 1-9. Gurreri 3-(-)11.
Individual Receiving: YH, Rideout 4-75. Stewart 4-29. RL, Crossland 9-68. Dennison 2-35. Workinger 2-17. Ness 2-15.
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at firstname.lastname@example.org