VIDEO: Central York QB Cade Pribula discusses the Panthers’ 35-28 win over Dallastown, WR Taylor Wright-Rawls and his own scrambling ability. JACOB CALVIN MEYER, @jcalvinmeyer
Small Field will be the center of the York County football universe on Friday night.
The Central York-York High winner will emerge with at least a share of the York-Adams League Division I championship.
The two rivals enter the game at 8-1 overall and 5-1 in the division. The teams also feature two of the most dynamic offensive attacks in District 3 — maybe even the state of Pennsylvania.
The Bearcats, powered by standout running back Dayjure Stewart, are averaging more than 50 points per game. The Panthers, riding the strong right arm of quarterback Cade Pribula, are putting up more than 42 points per outing. Stewart nearly has 2,000 yards rushing this season, while Pribula has thrown for more than 2,700 yards.
It could, and probably will, quickly turn into a track meet. The first team to 50 points may earn the win. It should also be one of the most compelling high school games in recent memory.
Fortunately for both the Panthers and Bearcats, no matter what happens, the season will not end. Both teams look to be locks to earn District 3 playoff berths.
Central enters at No. 3 in the District 3 6-A power ratings, with the top eight teams making the field. York High is No. 4 in 5-A, with the top 14 teams earning district berths. Both teams, however, will look to capture a ninth victory to solidify, or even improve, their seeding and also earn first-round home games.
Not all the Y-A teams are as fortunate as the Bearcats and Panthers. Several will be fighting for their playoff lives Friday night. That’s because they’re sitting precariously on the district bubble entering the final week of the regular season.
Class 6-A: Let’s start in Class 6-A.
There will be a ton at stake when Red Lion visits Dallastown in one of the most intense neighborhood rivalries in York County.
With a win, Red Lion (7-2, 5-1) will earn a share of a D-I title and will also sew up a District 3 6-A playoff berth. The Lions are No. 6 in the power ratings. Even with a loss, Red Lion would appear to have a decent shot at making districts.
Dallastown (5-4, 4-2), meanwhile, must almost certainly win to have any chance to make districts. The Wildcats are currently on the outside looking in at No. 9 in the power ratings. Remember, only eight teams will make the 6-A bracket.
Class 5-A: In the 14-team 5-A bracket, two York County teams sit right on the bubble. Northeastern (4-5) is No. 14, and Dover (5-4) is No. 15.
Northeastern hits the road to take on New Oxford (3-6), which is a much-improved outfit this season. Dover, meanwhile, travels down Route 74 to battle surging West York (4-5) in another longtime rivalry.
Both the Bobcats and Eagles know wins will likely be needed to gain district berths.
Class 4-A: Win or lose, Gettysburg (7-2) should make the 10-team 4-A district playoffs.
The Warriors are No. 6 in the power ratings and can, and likely will, improve on that with a nonleague win vs. visiting Greencastle, which enters at 2-7.
West York is No. 10, but they’ve been steadily climbing the ratings. The Bulldogs faced a brutal early schedule and started 0-5, but have won four straight to get back into the playoff picture. Still, they’ll likely need to beat Dover to secure a district berth.
York Suburban (4-5) and Susquehannock (3-6) enter at No. 12 and No. 13 in 4-A. They will face off in Glen Rock on Friday. The loser will be eliminated from playoff contention. The winner will still have some faint district hopes but will need lots of things to fall its way — chiefly, Dover must beat West York.
Class 3-A: Bermudian Springs (6-3) is No. 5 in 3-A, while Littlestown (6-3) is No. 6.
Both the Eagles and Thunderbolts are heavily favored to win Friday. Bermudian travels to 2-7 Biglerville, while Littlestown plays host to 2-6 Fairfield.
With six teams making the 3-A bracket, both Bermudian and Littlestown look almost certain to extend their seasons to an 11th week.
Class 2-A: York Catholic (9-0) moved up No. 1 in the 2-A ratings after last week’s impressive 35-7 victory over Delone Catholic (8-1) in a battle of unbeatens.
Delone fell to No. 2 in 2-A.
Both the Fighting Irish and the Squires are likely to win Friday. York Catholic plays host to winless York Tech (0-9), while Delone will welcome archrival Hanover (3-6). An Irish win will sew up an outright D-III crown and an unbeaten regular season.
If both the Irish and Squires win as expected, they should sew up home playoff games in the first round of the four-team 2-A playoffs.
It could also set up the possibility of a Delone-York Catholic rematch in the district 2-A final.
Class 1-A: Fairfield is just 2-6 but looks locked into the No. 2 spot in 1-A.
There are just three 1-A teams in District 3, with the top two advancing straight to the district final. Halifax (8-1) is No. 1 in the power ratings, while Millersburg (0-9) is No. 3.
Overview: So that’s where we stand heading into the last week of the regular season.
There are 12 games involving Y-A teams on Friday, and 10 of them will have district playoff implications.
Yes, the Central York-York High game will, justifiably, be the featured attraction, but there is no shortage of other attractive, and meaningful, match-ups, including several battles featuring longtime rivals.
It promises to be intense, entertaining and enjoyable.
— Steve Heiser is sports editor of The York Dispatch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.