Elijah Workinger, Nyzair Smith, Dayjure Stewart and Taylor Wright-Rawls show up on the list of the top seven plays from the 2018 Y-A football season. JACOB CALVIN MEYER, 717-505-5406/@jcalvinmeyer
Central York football coach Josh Oswalt usually doesn’t have major expectations for players in their first year with the varsity team.
Last season, however, with the graduation of a pair of wide receivers, Oswalt knew if there was one first-year starter he could ask to take on a major role it was Taylor Wright-Rawls.
The 6-foot-1 wide receiver surpassed his coach’s expectations and recorded nearly 900 receiving yards and scored 10 touchdowns as a sophomore.
With the departure of another group of talented Central seniors, Wright-Rawls again will be asked to raise his game to a higher level as the team’s top receiving threat.
Despite the added attention defenses will send his way, Wright-Rawls is excited to prove himself. He views the attention defenses will give him as a positive for the team because of the opportunities it will create for his teammates.
“It makes it more of a challenge for me,” Wright-Rawls said. “It helps me to prepare the other guys on our team so that they can be successful on the field. If teams are going to worry about me, then there are going to be other threats open.”
Team-first mentality: Oswalt was impressed by how the rising junior receiver is focused on team success following a breakout season. With colleges already beginning to look at him, Wright-Rawls is more interested in the team getting better than catching every pass and padding his stats.
“That’s higher-level stuff,” Oswalt said. “Usually kids at his age are so selfish and want to put themselves in the position where they’re the only option. He’s not like that.”
Part of Wright-Rawls’ mentality comes from being in the same spot last year that some of his teammates are in this year.
Before the 2018 season, he said he was unsure of his abilities until he caught his first touchdown pass — which was nearly 70 yards — and knew he could play at the varsity level.
“After that, it just felt like I am supposed to be here and this is what I was meant to do,” Wright-Rawls said.
Work ethic: Oswalt said that there is always a concern for coaches after a player has a big sophomore season that they won’t work hard enough in the offseason and have a lesser junior season, followed by a poor senior year.
However, he isn’t concerned about that happening to Wright-Rawls because of the work ethic he possesses.
Oswalt added that before last year, Wright-Rawls had always been more physically gifted than the players he went against and could rely on his athleticism to make plays. After a conversation with the wide receiver about how much better he could be, Oswalt saw a different side of him that wouldn’t be outworked by anyone.
“If you get in his face, he is going to stand right there and give it back to you,” Oswalt said. “He’s going to want to win everything he does. You can’t teach that.”
Room to grow: That mindset is something Oswalt said Wright-Rawls needed to carry with him into his junior season, when he needs to show that the player he was last year is just scratching the surface of his skills.
While he was proud of Wright-Rawls’ season, Oswalt said that his ceiling is extremely high, and if he wants to reach his full ability, he will need to work even harder than before.
“It’s easier to step up from (being) a nonexistent player to a guy that is on the scene, than it is to maintain and continue to progress at the rate you did to put yourself on the scene,” Oswalt said.
Wright-Rawls’ goals for this season were to be an all-state receiver, win the division and make it to the state playoffs. He's already garnering some state-wide attention. Pennlive.com recently rated him one of the top 60 recruits in Pennsylvania in the 2021 recruiting class.
Putting colleges on notice: Despite attending college camps this summer at Duke University and Ohio State University and getting positive feedback according to his coach, Wright-Rawls is waiting on his first scholarship offer.
While Oswalt expected multiple schools to send scouts to games this year to watch his receiver play, there will be a number of NCAA Division I scouts there for another reason, too.
Rising sophomore Beau Pribula, whose brother Cade Pribula will play quarterback at the University of Delaware after a stellar career at Central York, is gaining Division I attention before his first start at quarterback.
Although the scouts might be there originally to see Beau Pribula, who was recently offered a scholarship by Temple University, Wright-Rawls plans to make sure they find out about him quickly.
“Even if they’re not focused on me coming into the game, they’ll know about me when they leave,” Wright-Rawls said.
Reach Rob Rose at firstname.lastname@example.org.