Dallastown head football coach Kevin Myers had one last message for his players after his team's Week 9 victory over Central York.
While the win was nice, the Wildcats still had one more regular-season game to go. One more victory in Week 10 would guarantee the 'Cats at least five more days of football the following week in districts.
That isn't the only thing at stake for the Wildcats in Week 10. Nor are they the only team with a lot on the line as the regular season concludes.
In fact, the final week of the regular season in the York-Adams League still sees all three divisions up for grabs, with three hugely important games taking place on next week's slate.
Division I: In the league's biggest-school division, you couldn't ask for a better pair of rivalry games to wrap up the year.
Entering Week 9, Central York was the last remaining unbeaten team in Division I play, standing at 6-2 overall and 5-0 in division play. However, right behind the Panthers were a trio of teams in second place — Dallastown, York High and Red Lion.
By virtue of the Wildcats knocking off Central York on the road, it created a four-way tie in Division I heading into the final week of the regular season. What's even better is the fact that those four programs will square off in a pair of head-to-head showdowns.
Around Division I, there aren't too many rivalry games in Week 10 that compare to Red Lion vs. Dallastown. The only one that can maybe match that is York High vs. Central York, but both of those teams haven't been good at the same time in a number of years.
Both the Bearcats and Panthers are strong this season, however, making the regular-season finale all the more significant.
With Red Lion traveling to Dallastown and Central York going to York High, it'll create a de facto championship weekend, with the winners of those two games being crowned co-Division I champions.
"Going into the last week of the season, where two games will decide who are the champions, I don't ever remember that in my 21 years here," Myers said. "It's a true championship weekend."
Also at stake, for at least Central York and Dallastown, will be District 3 6-A playoff berths.
After Week 9, the Wildcats sit at No. 6 in Class 6-A, with the top-eight teams qualifying, while the Panthers dropped down to No. 9 with the loss. Wins by both should get both schools in, while a loss for either could end their seasons with no postseason.
"We want district play," Central head coach Josh Oswalt said. "Winning your league will guarantee you a district playoff game, at least this year it will. This is more about earning extra games."
Red Lion appears locked into a 6-A playoff berth at 8-1 overall and at No. 4 in the power ratings. In 5-A, York High should also be a lock win or lose in Week 10. The Bearcats are also 8-1 and jostling with Governor Mifflin for home field in the No. 4 vs. No. 5 match-up.
Division II: In Division II, it's been a two-team race since the middle of the season and it's only fitting that those two schools will square off to decide the division championship.
Dover and Susquehannock are both unbeaten in division play at 5-0 and will wrap up their seasons with each other.
In order to get to this point, both teams needed come-from-behind wins over a feisty West York side the last two weeks to remain perfect in division play. In Week 8, the Warriors rallied from a three-score deficit to upend the Bulldogs, while the Eagles trailed at halftime of Friday's game before mounting their own comeback victory.
As a 5-A school, at 6-3 overall, Dover sits 10th in the latest power ratings, likely too far out to make the postseason. So, winning a Division II title could be what salvages a nice bounce-back year for the Eagles.
On the flip side, Susquehannock is sixth in 4-A at 7-2, so a win will lock up a playoff berth for the first time in more than a decade, while a loss could end their season all together.
If you were to give an edge to either team, it might be in favor of the Warriors, but only because they're the home team.
Division III: The small-school division is a bit more anti-climatic than the other two divisions, despite it not being decided.
The only reason for that is because both current co-leaders, York Catholic and Littlestown, have relatively easy games to close out the year. Both teams sit at 5-1 in division play with one-game leads over Bermudian Springs and Delone Catholic.
The Fighting Irish will face winless York Tech, while the Thunderbolts deal with Fairfield. Both games should be more or less tune-up games for districts for York Catholic and Littlestown. Both programs appear firmly locked into their respective playoff brackets, win or lose.
Still, a slip up by either team will allow for one to be outright champs, but co-champions seems the most likely.
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at firstname.lastname@example.org