Led by Kohl twins, York Catholic hopes stout defense can lead Irish to Division III title
- Undefeated York Catholic and Delone Catholic face off Friday for the Division III title.
- York Catholic is led by a stout defense that is allowing only 9.6 points per game this season.
- Twin brothers Jarred and Harris Kohl both lead the team in tackles with about 10 a game.
York Catholic is unlike every other York-Adams League team still in a division-title hunt.
In Division I, York High, Central York, Red Lion and Dallastown all score 35-plus points per game.
Gettysburg, the Division II front-runner, is scoring 39.5 points per game, and Delone Catholic, York Catholic’s D-III challenger, is scoring 46.9 a game.
York Catholic, however, is zigging while the rest of the league is zagging.
The Irish have started the season 8-0 with a defense-focused game plan, ranking second in the league in points allowed per game at 9.6 and yards allowed at 193. The only team that ranks better in those two stats is Delone — the squad York Catholic faces Friday night for the D-III title.
“Defense is how you’re going to win championships,” York Catholic head coach Eric Depew said. “We’re doing a great job. We’re forcing turnovers and we’re scoring on defense.”
Senior defensive lineman Harris Kohl said the team’s goal is to hold a team under 14 points every game.
“There’s nothing better than completely annihilating a team by not letting them score,” he said. “We hold our whole team to the standard that no one will score 14 points on us, and when they do, it’s a failure.”
Kohl twins: Harris, along with his twin brother Jarred, are the leaders on the York Catholic defense.
Depew said the Kohl twins, who also play offensive line, are what a coach envisions out of senior captains.
“The team wants to follow these guys,” Depew said of the 6-foot, 200-pounders. “They’re the leaders out there. It makes you a better player, better coach and better person being around guys like this.”
On paper, Jarred, a linebacker, and Harris, a defensive lineman, have near identical defensive numbers. They both are averaging about 10 tackles a game and have a combined 20 tackles for loss this season. To them, though, it still matters who has more tackles, even if it’s a half-tackle margin.
“We’re very competitive,” Jarred said. “There’s nobody that can drive you like somebody who is going to be at your house telling you how much better he is than you. You want to go home that night and be able to say that you played better that night. That’s the reason we’re good at what we do. It happens in the weight room, in school, in every little thing we do.”
Harris said he knows the reason he’s improved on the gridiron is due in large part to his brother’s honesty, and vice versa.
“Playing with your brother, you get to share in the victories and the sorrows,” Harris said. “The best thing is you have someone who will be blatantly honest with you about how well or how bad you performed that day.”
Depew said the “tough-love” mentality that Jarred and Harris share is an undervalued personality trait.
“In the world in general, people can’t handle the tough love,” Depew said. “That’s what makes (Jarred and Harris) special. They will accept the challenge, because the love is there and the respect is there.”
Two-QB system: While York Catholic’s defense is leading the way, that doesn’t mean the offense isn’t contributing its fair share.
Two different quarterbacks — senior Wesley Burns and sophomore Mitchell Galentine — have led the York Catholic offense to 28.8 points a game, which ranks ninth in the league.
“We still want a high-powered offense,” Depew said. “This year, the offense is doing enough to win, and we haven’t been turning the football over. At the end of the day, it’s about the win. It doesn’t matter how you get it.”
Galentine, along with senior Cole Witman, missed several games earlier this season for undisclosed reasons. Since their return, Witman has been sharing carries with senior Massimo Antolick, who scored four touchdowns last week against Hanover, and Galentine has been splitting snaps with Burns, who is completing 74 percent of his passes with 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions.
“Our team is fully loaded,” Depew said. “We’ve been playing both quarterbacks. They’ve both been successful running the ball and throwing the ball the last couple of weeks.”
Delone game: York Catholic, the defending D-III co-champions, will welcome Delone to town on Friday for a match-up of undefeated teams competing for the Division III crown.
“We know they’re going to come to play,” Depew said. “We know it’s going to be physical. They’re hungry, and they want it just as much as we do. It should be a classic game.”
While the Kohls will likely play football in college, they said the game atmosphere can’t get much bigger than the one on Friday.
“If you can’t get turned up for an undefeated season, a division title and a first seed in districts, then why are you playing football?,” Jarred said. “This is what people dream about.”
“It’s all come down to one game,” Harris added. “This will be the most important game in most of our lives.”
Reach Jacob Calvin Meyer at firstname.lastname@example.org.