Dayjure Stewart wasn’t the biggest star of York High’s 68-35 win over Dallastown Friday night.
That was Rob Rideout, who totaled 306 yards from scrimmage and scored four touchdowns — two rushing and two receiving.
It was Stewart, though, who York High head coach Russ Stoner went to when the Bearcats needed a score.
After jetting off to a 34-0 lead in the first half, York High (6-0, 3-0) found itself up by only six points over visiting Dallastown at the end of the third quarter. The Wildcats scored a touchdown before the end of the first half and three more to start the third quarter.
With the momentum fully in favor of Dallastown, Stoner turned to Stewart before the next offensive drive and told him to "giddy up.”
"I told him, 'We’re riding you right now. Great players make great plays, and it’s your time," Stoner said.
Stewart ran the ball three times on the drive, and that was all York High needed to march down the field and score. The last run, from 15 yards out, ended with Stewart flipping into the end zone to give the Bearcats a 12-point lead heading into the fourth quarter — shifting momentum back to York High.
"With a talented kid like Dayjure Stewart, you have to hold your breath every time he touches the ball," Stoner said.
After Stewart’s touchdown run, the Bearcats got their mojo back, scoring four more times in the fourth quarter for the convincing win against a Division I foe that was undefeated in York-Adams League play entering Friday.
"It was a dogfight," said Stewart, who ran for 163 yards on 23 carries and scored four total touchdowns. "We knew it would be a dogfight coming in, so we knew we had to keep playing hard."
Fast start: The Bearcats proved their athletic superiority in the first half, pressing down on the gas pedal on every play, many of which were home runs.
The 34-point outburst started with a 37-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Seth Bernstein to Rideout, who was able to create separation on single coverage after the defense keyed on Stewart.
"The difference to me is that they had Nyzair (Smith)," Stoner said, naming the player all defenses key on when playing Dallastown. "We had Dayjure (Stewart), Rob (Rideout), Tobee (Stokes), (Anthony) Jamison, Seth (Bernstein). We have several guys who can make plays for us on offense."
Stewart scored the next two touchdowns in exciting fashion. He returned a punt 75 yards for a score only two minutes after Rideout's touchdown. Less than four minutes after the punt return, he ran for a 66-yard touchdown to put York High up 20-0 in the first quarter.
The long touchdowns were a theme for York High all night. The most plays the Bearcats had in a scoring drive was five, as they averaged 3.33 plays per scoring drive.
Bernstein's big arm: Bernstein and Rideout connected for another long, play-action pass in the second quarter, a 44-yarder that put the Bearcats on Dallastown's 6-yard line.
(Seth) is throwing a better deep ball than most of the kids I’ve coached," Stoner said. "He understands what we’re doing. The play-action piece is a big deal, because you’re faking the ball to Dayjure, and that opens things up."
Stoner went right back to Rideout on the next play, calling a jet sweep for the senior on the 6-yard touchdown.
With three minutes left in the first half, Bernstein and Rideout hooked up once again. Bernstein threw a deep ball to Rideout on the first play of the drive, and the speedy wideout reeled in the high-arching throw and ran untouched to the end zone for the 75-yard score.
"When I have the best offensive line in front of me and I have the best weapons, I can just throw it up and they’ll go get it," Bernstein said.
The senior completed eight of 12 pass attempts for 294 yards four touchdowns.
"I have been waiting for this performance," said the often-overlooked quarterback. "But it just comes down to training every day and waiting for this."
Dallastown comeback: With the game seemingly out of reach late in the first half, the Wildcats gave themselves some life with a score before halftime.
Smith, who ran for 321 yards and four touchdowns last week against Northeastern, scored from 10 yards out with 18 seconds left for the Wildcats' first score of the game.
What then happened in the third quarter is almost inexplicable. Dallastown (3-3, 2-1), after being outclassed by York High in the first half, was easily the better team during the 12-minute period.
It started with a 46-yard touchdown run from Smith, who ran for 225 yards and three touchdowns on 33 carries.
"We knew we couldn’t get all those points back on one play," said Dallastown head coach Ron Miller. "We had to win one play at a time, and the kids bought into it. I thought we had something going."
After a York High three-and-out, Smith scored again, this time from 4 yards out. He carried the load on the 90-yard scoring drive, tallying 51 of the yards.
After the Bearcats oddly tried a fake punt from their own 31-yard line on fourth-and-20, the Wildcats drove down the short field to go down by one score with about 13 minutes left in the game. Quarterback Jordan Cook scored on the 1-yard QB sneak.
"I thought we got really lackadaisical to start the second half, but we righted that ship and continued to play football," Stoner said.
York High trickery: After Stewart's clutch running gave the Bearcats the 12-point lead, they continued to pile on in a fourth quarter that saw four more York High touchdowns.
Stoner pulled a trick out of his back pocket after the Wildcats went three-and-out. Bernstein faked a handoff to Stewart and flicked a shovel pass to Tobee Stokes. Stokes then handed it off to Rideout in the backfield, who ran 75 yards for the score.
"Our kids just got beat," Miller said. "They out-athleticism’d us. I guess that’s the best way you could put it."
Garbage time scores: Bernstein threw his third and fourth touchdown passes of the game in fourth quarter. The first was a 38-yard strike to Jamison, who caught the pass with one hand in the end zone.
The second was a 31-yard score from Bernstein to Stewart on fourth-and-23. Bernstein guided a pass to Stewart on a flat route, and the NCAA Division I recruit ran for the score.
In between those scores was a Dallastown 70-yard touchdown score on a deep pass from Cook to Isaiah Harrison.
York High's last score was a 32-yard run by sophomore backup Tyrell Whitt.
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Dallastown 0 7 21 7 — 35
York High 20 14 6 28 — 68
York High: Stewart 66-yard run (kick missed), 4:58 (YH 20, DT 0)
York High: Rideout 75-yard pass from Bernstein (Brown kick), 2:54 (YH 34, DT 0)
Dallastown: Nyzair Smith 10-yard run (Kenan Fullerton kick), 0:18 (YH 34, DT 7)
Dallastown: Smith 46-yard run (Mitchell Groh kick), 10:12 (YH 34, DT 14)
York High: Stewart 19-yard run (Bernstein pass failed), 0:53 (YH 40, DT 28)
Dallastown: Isaiah Harrison 70-yard pass from Cook (Groh kick), 5:26 (YH 54, DT 35)
Total offense: 475 yards
Total offense: 611
Sacks: 2 for 13
Jordan Cook: 11-21 passing, 165 yards, TD; 19 carries, 43 yards (sacked twice for -13 yards), TD
Nyzair Smith: 33 carries, 225 yards, 3 TDs; 2 receptions, 11 yards
Isaiah Harrison: 3 receptions, 100 yards, TD
David Geppi: 3 receptions, 36 yards
CJ Baldwin: 2 receptions, 8 yards
Cashiss Day: 1 reception, 7 yards
AJ McDaniel: 1 reception, 3 yards
Jahmar Simpson: 5 carries, 42 yards
Seth Bernstein: 8-12 passing, 294 yards, 4 TDs; 2 carries, 6 yards
Dayjure Stewart: 23 carries, 163 yards, 2 TDs; 1 reception, 31 yards, TD; 75-yard punt return TD
Rob Rideout: 4 receptions, 225 yards, 2 TDs; 2 carries, 81 yards, 2 TDs
Tino Conquest: 2 carries, 9 yards
Tobee Stokes: 3 carries, 26 yards; 2 receptions, 0 yards
Anthony Jamison: 1 reception, 38 yards, TD
Tyrell Whitt: 1 carry, 32 yards, TD