Central York's big-play offense leads Panthers to season-opening win over West York
It's no longer baseball season in the York-Adams League, but the Central York football team was hitting home runs against West York Friday night.
Central's first three touchdowns against the visiting Bulldogs were from 79, 76 and 44 yards out en route to a 38-14 Week Zero win.
“That’s not how this offense is drawn up,” said Central York head coach Josh Oswalt. “Whatever is presented is what we can attack. If you’re going to blitz seven and sometimes eight and leave three guys on an island against our receiving corps, we’re going to get the ball to them and let them go to work.”
All three long touchdowns were passes from senior quarterback Cade Pribula, who threw for 334 yards and completed 12 of 19 pass attempts. In total, the Panthers had six plays of more than 25 yards; West York had zero.
“They sold out, and that’s what we have to do if teams are going to blitz that many guys,” Pribula said. “They were disrespecting our receivers by doing that, and I think (our wideouts) took that to heart and made (West York) pay.”
Big plays: The 79-yard and 44-yard scores were both thrown to senior Saahir Cornelius — the first touchdowns of the wideout’s career.
“All of our receivers are great athletes, and he’s probably the best one,” Pribula said. “He’s so shifty, and that helps him get open and after he catches the ball.”
Pribula's other touchdown pass was a dump off in the flat to senior running back Hunter Werner, who then ran 76 yards up the sideline for the score.
“We noticed early on that they weren’t picking up the back out of the backfield because they were blitzing and asking their middle backer to play man," Oswalt said.
Shaky first half: Pribula fumbled on the opening drive of the game, which was the first of three first-half turnovers for the veteran signal caller.
“We caught the ball well tonight, but I think I could’ve done a better job,” said Pribula, a University of Delaware commit. “We’re going to be an even better passing attack moving forward.”
After West York (0-1) went three-and-out on its first drive, Pribula arched a 20-yard pass on a corner route perfectly into the hands of Cornelius, who led all receivers with 179 yards on five receptions. The 5-foot, 11-inch receiver then ran nearly 60 yards down the sideline to give the Panthers an early 7-0 lead.
Central (1-0) kicker Nick Basile, who was 5 for 5 on extra-point attempts, then made a 38-yard field goal at the end of the first quarter to make the score 10-0.
With Central only 13 yards from scoring a few possessions later, West York cornerback Justin Wetzel jumped a Pribula pass in the end zone for the interception. It was Pribula’s second interception of the night. His first was a one-handed interception by Antron Mitchell.
Mental errors: Central was in West York territory after the Bulldogs turned the ball over on downs on their own 30-yard line due to a poorly executed hard count on fourth down. The mental mistake was one of several for the Bulldogs, including a fumble and letting the time run off the clock at the end of the first half in Central’s red zone.
“(We had) too many mental mistakes,” West York head coach Jeremy Jones said. “The game hinged on a few plays. They had some big plays, and they capitalized on our errors. Kudos to them. This team is too good to let those mental errors happen."
Despite the mistakes, West York had its chances. Quarterback Corey Wise threw a 32-yard strike to Andrew LaManna, who totaled 90 yards on six receptions, for a touchdown in the second quarter to make the score 10-6.
Central's key stop: Even though Central answered immediately with Warner’s long touchdown to lead 17-6, the Bulldogs put together a 62-yard drive to start the second half, with Ay’Jaun Marshall, who was bottled up in the first half, leading the charge.
West York got inside Central’s 10-yard line, but the Panthers stuffed Marshall on a dive play on fourth-and-one.
“We got the job done and found it within (ourselves) to make a play on third and fourth down there to get the ball back,” Oswalt said.
“We needed half of a yard, and we couldn’t get it,” Jones said.
Central York then drove 93 yards downfield, capped off by Cornelius’ second touchdown catch from Pribula, to go up three scores.
The Panthers put the game away on their next drive with an 8-yard touchdown run from Will Van-Dyke. Central added another touchdown, this time an 8-yard run by Isaiah Sturgis, with less than a minute to go.
Keeping Marshall in check: Sandwiched between those two scores was a 14-yard rushing score by Marshall, who ran for 94 yards on 23 carries.
“When you play a special back like he is, he’s going to be touching the ball 30 times a game,” Oswalt said. “We bent but didn’t break. Marshall is probably a top two back we’ll face all year.”
Both teams play nonleague games at home next week. Central York hosts Cumberland Valley (0-1), which lost to Bishop McDevitt Friday, while West York welcomes Shippensburg (1-0), which beat to Dover to start its season.
Central: Saahir Cornelius 79-yard pass from Cade Pribula (Nick Basile kick), 5:47 (CY 7, WY 0)
Central: Basile 38-yard kick, 0:02 (CY 10, WY 0)
West York: Andrew LaManna 32-yard pass from Corey Wise (kick blocked), 5:03 (CY 10, WY 6)
Central: Hunter Werner 76-yard pass from Pribula (Basile kick), 4:43 (CY 17, WY 6)
Central: Cornelius 44-yard pass from Pribula (Basile kick), 2:27 (CY 24, WY 6)
Central: Will Van-Dyke 8-yard run (Basile kick), 10:36 (CY 31, WY 6)
West York: Ay’Jaun Marshall 14-yard run (LaManna pass from Wise), 7:15 (CY 31, WY 14)
Central: Isaiah Sturgis 8-yard run (Basile kick), 0:42 (CY 38, WY 14)
Cade Pribula: 12-19 passing, 334 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT; 7 carries, 27 yards, fumble
Hunter Werner: 6 rushes, 27 yards; 3 receptions, 104 yards, TD
Saahir Cornelius: 5 receptions, 179 yards, 2 TD
Brendan Harris: 3 rushes, 5 yards
Jacob LaFrance: 3 rushes, 17 yards
Beau Pribula: 2 receptions, 16 yards
Kyle Fontes: 0-1 passing; 2 rushes, 16 yards
Taylor Wright-Rawls: 1 reception, 32 yards
Will Van-Dyke: 1 rush, 8 yards, TD
Mason Myers: 1 reception, 3 yards
Isaiah Sturgis: 1 rush, 8 yards, TD
Corey Wise: 13-19 passing, 134 yards, TD; 7 rushes, 9 yards
Ay’Jaun Marshall: 23 rushes, 94 yards, TD; 2 receptions, 17 yards
Andrew LaManna: 6 receptions, 90 yards, TD
Ethan Sloat: 7 rushes, 33 yards, fumble
Justin Wetzel: 5 rushes, 13 yards
Jose Pena: 3 receptions, 29 yards
Shane Kauffman: 1 reception, -3 yards
Jakai Jones: 1 rush, 3 yards
Reach Jacob Calvin Meyer firstname.lastname@example.org.