Central wideout Saahir Cornelius and quarterback Cade Pribula discuss their new passing attack that led to the Panthers' 38-14 win over West York. York Dispatch
Week Zero is officially in the books.
So, what did we learn from the opening Friday night of the 2018 high school football season?
And what can we look forward to this coming Friday?
Question, questions, questions.
At least now, all of the York-Adams League teams have some actual game results that might provide us with early clues about the answers.
Here are three story lines that have already developed and bear serious watching in the weeks and months to come:
Bearcat buzz: After achieving one of the more impressive turnarounds in recent memory, going from 1-9 in 2016 to 9-2 in 2017, York High entered this season with great expectations.
The Bearcats did nothing to temper those hopes with a stunning ground-game assault in a 63-16 opening triumph over Reading.
York’s much-hyped, one-two combination of Dayjure Stewart and Rob Rideout more than lived up to advance billing.
Stewart rushed 12 times for 258 yards, while Rideout ran the ball just three times for 111 yards. Stewart averaged 21.5 yards per rush, while Rideout averaged an incredible 37.0 yards per run.
Then there’s the emergence of Tobee Stokes, who had four rushes for 82 yards — a 20.5 yards-per-carry average.
Overall, York ran the ball 27 times for 478 yards, averaging a whopping 17.7 yards per rush.
There’s little doubt that coach Russ Stoner has some serious game-breaking talent in his backfield. It's created a noticeable buzz in the city surrounding the resurgent Bearcats program.
It should produce a large and lively crowd Friday night for York’s home opener at Small Field vs. longtime rival Lancaster McCaskey.
Chance to measure up: Each week in the early season, there is normally at least one high-profile “measuring-stick” game.
Typically, they are nonleague contests between big schools from rival leagues where both programs have District 3 playoff and division championship aspirations.
Last week, that game was Dallastown vs. Hempfield. The Wildcats came up just short in that one, losing 24-19.
It was undoubtedly a major disappointment for the Wildcats and their new head coach, Ron Miller. Hempfield suffered some significant graduation losses from the team that beat Dallastown twice a season ago, and the Wildcats outgained the Black Knights by more than 100 yards. Still, Dallastown lost the game.
This week, there are two “measuring-stick” games for Class 6-A schools from the Y-A League.
Dallastown gets another chance to make some district-wide noise when it travels to Manheim Township, which just happens to be the defending District 3 6-A champion. Township opened its season with a 17-10 win over Central Dauphin East.
Central York, meanwhile plays host to traditional power Cumberland Valley — a program that owns 13 District 3 titles. However, this may not be a vintage CV outfit. The Eagles got handled easily by Bishop McDevitt in its opener, 48-21.
This is a real chance for the Panthers, coming off an impressive 38-14 opening win over West York, to stamp itself as a true force in the league and district.
Thunder Clapp: It’s hard to believe that a running back could rumble for 244 yards and average 10.6 yards per carry and somehow get overshadowed.
Still, that’s exactly what happened to Susquehannock’s Daniel Clapp.
The Warriors’ 6-foot, 1-inch, 195-pound junior standout ran roughshod over Hanover in a 28-7 win. Normally, that kind of performance would garner most of the Y-A headlines.
Unfortunately, Clapp had his big game the same week that Stewart rolled to 258 rushing yards for York High.
The physically-imposing Clapp is one of just six returning starters for a Susquehannock team that is attempting to defend it Y-A Division II crown. Clapp is already more than a third of the way to surpassing the 700 rushing yards he totaled in 2017.
Clapp and the Warriors will get a better feel for where they stand this Friday when they travel to Littlestown, a team that is expected to contend for the Y-A D-III championship. The Thunderbolts are a traditional small-school power that is coming off a 35-29 victory over Boiling Springs.
If Clapp runs wild again, and the Warriors can upend the Thunderbolts on the road, it might be a sign that Susquehannock is not rebuilding but has instead reloaded for another championship run.
— Steve Heiser is sports editor of The York Dispatch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.