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MEYER: The seven best plays from a memorable 2018 York-Adams League football season

  • The top play is Red Lion QB Zach Mentzer's game-winning TD pass to Randy Fizer vs. York High.
  • Dallastown RB Nyzair Smith shows up on the top seven list with two highlights.
  • Dayjure Stewart, Elijah Workinger, Taylor Wright-Rawls and Anthony Jamison also had top highlights.

York Catholic's loss last Saturday to Southern Columbia marked the end to another York-Adams League football season. 

Red Lion quarterback Zach Mentzer game-winning touchdown pass to Randy Fizer against York High is the top-ranked play of the 2018 season.  John A. Pavoncello photo

The final month of the campaign featured several cold, rainy games. Somehow, it was only three months ago when it was too hot for most local teams to practice outside.

While the season ended without much playoff success from local teams, aside from York Catholic, York High and Bermudian Springs, the season will be remembered for the stars that littered Friday nights with highlight plays. 

I saw 14 games this season, covering eight of the 23 York-Adams League teams. I wish I could have gotten out to see each team, but I'm only one man.

From those games, here are my top seven plays (that I got on video) from the 2018 York-Adams League football season:

7. Dayjure Stewart's user truck stick

Central York vs York High during football action at Smalls Field in York City, Friday, Oct. 26, 2018. York High would win the game 54-14, sharing the Division 1 title with Red Lion. Dawn J. Sagert photo

This entire list could be a Dayjure Stewart highlight tape. The senior running back from York High was the best player in the Y-A League, breaking the league's single-season rushing record with 3,045 yards. 

He tallied more than 400 yards in a single game on several occasions and scored 40 total touchdowns. 

The kid is electric.

This highlight, however, isn't one that most will remember. It isn't his 75-yard punt return against Central York or his 86-yard touchdown run against Northern York that set the single-game rushing record in a District 3 playoff game. 

York High beats Central for share of D-I title

Most of Stewart's top runs involved him juking defenders out of their shoes or reversing field for a long score. This one, however, shows possibly his best attribute as a runner: power.

In York High's 54-14 win over Central York to claim a share of the D-I title, Stewart ran for a 9-yard touchdown, trucking over a defender on his way into the end zone as simply as flicking up on the right joystick when playing the video game "Madden" for the user truck stick function.

Anyone who saw the NCAA Division I recruit this season knows he has all the skills — the vision, the speed, the power — of a college running back.

As Red Lion head coach Jesse Shay said during the season: "Dayjure Stewart is the best running back I have seen down in this league since I’ve been here the last six years. Hands down. No question.”

6. Elijah Workinger's big boot

This was a hard one. It wasn't about whether a play from Red Lion senior Eli Workinger would be on the list, but rather which play. 

Workinger, the Division I Defensive Player of the Year, totaled an insane 136 tackles as a middle linebacker, scored eight touchdowns on offense and was named the top kicker in the division.

His most crucial play of the season was an onside kick that Red Lion recovered en route to defeating York High 21-20. 

His most outstanding play, though, was in an early season win over Waynesboro. Workinger booted a 49-yard field goal — a distance rarely achieved by high school kickers — that would've been good from at least 55 yards. 

Red Lion front 7 overpowers Waynesboro in win

Oh, and he made a one-handed touchdown catch in that game, too. 

5. Nyzair Smith goes airborne

Dallastown running back Nyzair Smith avoids a tackle. Bill Kalina photo

Like Stewart, this whole list could be Nyzair Smith plays. The Dallastown senior was second in the league in rushing with 1,985 yards and 25 touchdowns in 10 games. 

One of Smith's best highlights this season, oddly enough, didn't even come on a touchdown. In Dallastown's game against Central York, the Wildcats were in the red zone after a long drive in a game they'd end up losing 35-28.

Smith took a handoff up the middle and hurdled two Central York defenders. It isn't the first time Smith jumped over a defensive player, and it likely won't be the last for the NCAA Division I recruit.

Strong second half leads Central to victory

He wasn't able to stay on his feet for the touchdown, but he scored later in the drive. If he had stayed on his feet, it could be the top play on the list.

4. Taylor Wright-Rawls' unlikely catch

Central York's Taylor Wright-Rawls, shown here in the Panthers' win over Northeastern last week, hopes to lead Central's passing attack to a win over Dallastown Friday. Dawn J. Sagert photo

When you have an NCAA Division I quarterback such as Cade Pribula throwing you the ball, the game is a little bit easier. That was certainly the case for Central York's Saahir Cornelius and Taylor Wright-Rawls, who both caught 40-plus passes for more than 900 yards. 

On this highlight, however, Pribula's excellent arm was a little short, causing a Northeastern defender to deflect the pass. 

Deflect it right into the arms of Wright-Rawls, that is.

The sophomore wideout caught the pass and was tackled a yard short of the end zone.

Run game leads Central to win over Northeastern

There isn't video review in high school, but if there were, there's a chance that Wright-Rawls' stretch at the end of the play would've gotten him six points. 

3. Anthony Jamison's one-handed grab

York High's Anthony Jamison, left, celebrates his one-handed touchdown catch. Dawn J. Sagert photo

York High was filled with star power this season.

Stewart broke records left and right. Rob Rideout scored touchdowns on a third of his touches. Even Tobee Stokes ran for 200-plus yards when Stewart was injured.

One of the more underrated Bearcats, however, is the subject of the third-best play of the season.

In York High's 68-35 win over Dallastown, wide receiver Anthony Jamison made a one-handed touchdown grab look extremely easy. With a Wildcats defensive back hanging off him, the senior corralled the Seth Bernstein pass in the end zone with his left hand.

Stewart, Rideout lead York High to win

He then celebrated with the famous Michael Jordan shrug. An A-plus celebration for an A-plus play.

Well done.

2. Nyzair Smith's soul-crushing stiff arm

While every player on this list had several highlight plays that could have made this list, Smith's top two plays are simply too remarkable to leave off.

In Dallastown's win against Northeastern, which featured Smith totaling 321 yards and four scores, Smith's first touchdown was a 53-yard run with a demoralizing stiff arm and an ankle-breaking juke.

Dallastown’s Nyzair Smith runs for 4 TDs in win

Smith broke an arm tackle at the line of scrimmage before breaking for the sideline, where he threw down a Northeastern defender despite another Bobcat trying to drag him down from behind. Then, Smith stopped on a dime to juke a defensive back before dashing for the end zone. 

It was a thing of beauty.

1. Zach Mentzer's dime to Randy Fizer

Red Lion wideout Randy Fizer reacts after catching the game-winning touchdown against York High, Friday, Oct. 5, 2018. A good extra point attempt gave the Lions a 21-20 win over the Bearcats. John A. Pavoncello

The top play from the 2018 season isn't the top play because of the play itself, but rather the importance of it. 

There wasn't a more clutch moment in the Y-A League season than this play.

For the first 45 minutes of Red Lion's game against York High, the Lions scored only one touchdown against the Bearcats. With York High owning a 20-7 lead with about four minutes left, Red Lion quarterback Zach Mentzer completed a 15-yard pass to Randy Fizer on fourth down that the sophomore wideout took 25 more yards, including two mean cutbacks, for a score.

That play, though, isn't the top highlight of the season. The next touchdown pass from Mentzer to Fizer is.

After Red Lion recovered Workinger's onside kick, Mentzer orchestrated a touchdown drive that ended with the senior signal caller tossing a dime to Fizer in the back corner of the end zone for the win.


Red Lion beats York High in unlikely comeback

A breakdown of Red Lion's win over York High

The unlikely victory ended up being the reason the Lions earned a share of the D-I crown with the Bearcats.

Reach Jacob Calvin Meyer at