Coach Russ Stoner and the rest of his coaching staff celebrate with the York High Bearcats' football team after a big victory vs. Dallastown during the 2017 season. Elijah Armold, York Dispatch
Following are capsule looks at the York-Adams League Division I football teams:
►Team: Central York.
►Coach: Josh Oswalt, third season.
►2017 Record: 6-4 overall, 5-2 Division I.
►Key returners: Cade Pribula, QB; Hunter Werner, RB; Darnell Johnson, DB; Devin Gaffney, OT/DT; Reid Hershner, TE/DE; Ben Bartkowski, OL/DL.
►2018 schedule: Aug. 24, West York; Aug. 31, Cumberland Valley; Sept. 7, at Hempfield; Sept. 14, Red Lion; Sept. 21, at New Oxford; Sept. 28, at South Western; Oct. 5, Spring Grove; Oct. 12, Northeastern; Oct. 19, Dallastown; Oct. 26, at York High.
►Outlook: Nearly all successful football teams require a skilled quarterback. Fortunately for the Panthers, Pribula, who has committed to Delaware, is perhaps the most talented QB in the York-Adams League. Pribula, however, will need help from skill players such as Werner, Hershner and a group of sophomore and freshmen receivers if Central wants to claim the D-I crown.
►Quotable: “Whether you’re a freshman, sophomore, junior or senior, our expectations remain the same. Our goals are to compete each week, win a division title, win a district title and win a state title.” — Oswalt.
►Coach: Ron Miller, first season.
►2017 Record: 8-3 overall, 6-1 Division I (D-I co-champion).
►Key returners: Nyzair Smith, RB; Raymond Christas, C/DT; Lucas Skelley, OL/DE; Josh Sebastian, WR/DB; Jordan Cook, QB.
►Schedule: Aug. 24, Hempfield; Aug. 31, at Manheim Township; Sept. 7, Penn Manor; Sept. 14, at South Western; Sept. 21, Northeastern; Sept. 28, at York High; Oct. 5, New Oxford; Oct. 12, at Spring Grove; Oct. 19, at Central York; Oct. 26, Red Lion.
►Outlook: The Wildcats will look to Cook, who missed last season because of injury, for leadership at the QB position. Dallastown, however, has Smith to carry the load at running back after he rushed for more than 2,000 yards last year. The addition of Miller, who was one of the league's most successful coaches during his run at West York, has brought a sense of excitement to a program looking to take things to the next level by winning a District 3 6-A title.
►Quotable: “(Former) Coach (Kevin) Myers and I are obviously different personality types. But overall I’ve been thrilled and excited by the talent and the amount of talent that we have. The transition has been pretty smooth to be quite honest.” — Miller.
►Team: New Oxford.
►Coach: Jason Warner, first season.
►2017 Record: 0-10 overall, 0-7 Division I.
►Key returners: Brayden Long, QB; Connor Becker, WR/S; Andrew Sanford, RB/LB; Dylan Forbes, LB/FB; Jason Lookenbill, TE/DE; Brennan Romanoff, RB/DB.
►Schedule: Aug. 24, at Bermudian Springs; Aug. 31, Conestoga Valley; Sept. 7, at Solanco; Sept. 14, at York High; Sept. 21, Central York; Sept. 28, Spring Grove; Oct. 5, at Dallastown; Oct. 12, Red Lion; Oct. 19, at South Western; Oct. 26, Northeastern.
►Outlook: There’s only way to go for the Colonials this year — up. After a winless 2017 campaign, the New Oxford boys are starving for victories. The program’s last triumph was back in October of 2015.
►Quotable: “Our focus has been 100 percent internal. We’re just trying to build our own house first.” — Warner.
►Coach: Jon Scepanski, sixth season.
►2017 Record: 6-4 overall, 3-4 Division I.
►Key returners: Zech Sanderson, QB; Frank Brown, RB; Stephen Gundy, C/DT; Kelvin Brown, G/DT; Caron Puryear, T/DT; Carter Puryear, OT/DT.
►Schedule: Aug. 24, Solanco; Aug. 31, Carlisle; Sept. 7, at Mifflin County; Sept. 14, Spring Grove; Sept. 21, at Dallastown; Sept. 28, Red Lion; Oct. 5, at South Western; Oct. 12, Central York; Oct. 19, York High; Oct. 26, at New Oxford.
►Outlook: While York High, Dallastown, Central York and Red Lion get mentioned the most as the top teams in the division for 2018, don’t be surprised if the Bobcats find their way into the fray. With Sanderson and Brown both back and healthy, the Northeastern boys were frequently mentioned as a possible surprise team in a poll of Division I coaches.
►Quotable: “We have a good group coming back from last year. We have eight starters coming back offensively and six defensively and having that type of experience is crucial.” — Scepanski.
►Team: Red Lion.
►Coach: Jesse Shay, sixth season.
►2017 Record: 8-3 overall, 5-2 Division I.
►Key returners: Elijah Workinger, FB/MLB; Ben Hornberger, S/WR; Jared Miller, G/DL; Tyler Ness, RB/S; Kobe Martin, CB,; Bailey Royer, DE; Jason Nazarenus, CB/WR.
►Schedule: Aug. 24, JP McCaskey; Aug. 31, Waynesboro; Sept. 7, at Chambersburg; Sept. 14, at Central York; Sept. 21, South Western; Sept. 28, at Northeastern; Oct. 5, York High; Oct. 12, at New Oxford; Oct. 19, Spring Grove; Oct. 26, at Dallastown.
►Outlook: While the Lions have a good bit of talent coming back, the key to their season may very well come down to finding a replacement for another Division I all-star QB. Coming into 2017, Zach Throne stepped up to fill the big shoes of 2016 graduate Sam Emig. With Throne now gone via graduation, another competition for starting duties is brewing between a trio of players from different classes: a senior (Zach Mentzer), a junior (Nic Shultz) and a sophomore (Randy Fizer).
►Quotable: “This is probably the most experience we’ve returned in the last three or four years. In previous years we kind of walked into the first day of practice saying that we don’t really know what this particular position is going to give us. This year we have a pretty good understanding of who our players are and what they can do.” — Shay.
►Team: South Western.
►Coach: Chris Heilman, second season.
►2017 Record: 3-7 overall, 2-5 Division I.
►Key returners: Derek Huff, QB; Maeson Felton, RB/CB; Tyler Herbison, OT/DT; Dalton Stacho, OT/DT; Josh Tippin, G.
►Schedule: Aug. 24, Gettysburg; Aug. 31,at Chambersburg; Sept. 7, at Carlisle; Sept. 14, Dallastown; Sept. 21, at Red Lion; Sept. 28, Central York; Oct. 5, Northeastern; Oct. 12, at York High; Oct. 19, New Oxford; Oct. 26, at Spring Grove.
►Outlook: Much like the Colonials, the Mustangs are starving for success. The South Western boys know that there is no such thing as an easy game while playing in D-I, but with key returners on the line and at QB and RB, a reversal of their record from a season ago is not out of the question.
►Quotable: “I thought that we played our best football the last four games of the season last year. While they didn’t all correlate into wins, I think we played our best. And that was when we had some sophomores and juniors playing who, I thought, grew up.” — Heilman.
►Team: Spring Grove.
►Coach: Kyle Sprenkle, fourth season.
►2017 Record: 1-9 overall, 1-6 Division I.
►Key returners: Nick Shaqfeh, QB/LB; Braden Brandt, RB/DB; Eric Glass, MLB/FB; Briar Fultz, WR/RB/DB; Nolan Gise, OL/DL.
►Schedule: Aug. 24, Lampeter-Strasburg; Aug. 31, Muhlenberg; Sept. 7, at Conestoga Valley; Sept. 14, at Northeastern; Sept. 21, York High; Sept. 28, at New Oxford; Oct. 5, at Central York; Oct. 12, Dallastown; Oct. 19, at Red Lion; Oct. 26, South Western.
►Outlook: The Rockets were certainly not happy with how their 2017 campaign unfolded. After the last game of the season, the Spring Grove boys decided to quickly put things behind them while working toward turning things around this year behind Shaqfeh, who has two-plus years of experience under his belt. Production from the receiving position could very well determine the team’s success.
►Quotable: “This is a tough division as always, but being 1-9 wasn’t acceptable to any of us. I think we have a good core group of guys that really endured a tough season and are coming back hungry for a better season. We’ve put a lot of work in (during) the offseason to try to correct the situation that we were in.” — Sprenkle.
►Team: York High.
►Coach: Russ Stoner, third season.
►2017 Record: 9-2 overall, 6-1 Division I (D-I co-champion).
►Key returners: Seth Bernstein, QB/DE; Dayjure Stewart, RB/DB/K/P; Robert Rideout, WR/S; Trey Bernstein G/DT; Anthony Jamison, WR; William Molina, OT/DT; Dionte Wilson, DB.
►Schedule: Aug. 24, at Reading; Aug. 31, JP McCaskey; Sept. 7, at Cedar Crest; Sept. 14, New Oxford; Sept. 21, at Spring Grove; Sept. 28, Dallastown; Oct. 5, at Red Lion; Oct. 12, South Western; Oct. 19, at Northeastern; Oct. 26, Central York.
►Outlook: Bernstein, who played tight end last season as a junior, will return to the QB position that he held two years ago when he was at Eastern York. He’ll enjoy a bevy of talent around him, starting with the elusive Stewart and the speedy Rideout. After a turnaround season that led to a District 3 5-A berth, the Bearcats found motivation for the upcoming season in a trouncing at the hands of a much-stronger Gov. Mifflin squad in the district playoffs.
►Quotable: “There’s a routine and there’s a standard now. There’s no more guessing. They all know what needs to be done. They all seem to be understanding that conditioning is not on the coaches, but that it is on the player. Before (I came here) it was more like a ‘why are you doing this to me?’ type of thing, but now there are times when I can walk away and they’ll all just do it themselves.” — Stoner.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.