COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF: York Catholic is reloaded and ready to replace stellar senior group

  • York Catholic High football is coming off a 12-1 season in 2018.
  • The Fighting Irish graduated the Y-A Division III Co-Defensive Players of the Year.
  • The senior class' goal is to teach the younger players the program's winning ways.
Eric Depew, York Catholic
Football Media Day, Thursday August 1, 2019.
John A. Pavoncello photo

Editor's note: This is one in a continuing series of team previews for the 2019 York-Adams League football season:

Despite an undefeated regular season in 2018, York Catholic coach Eric DePew isn’t letting his team get too full of themselves as a new season begins.

The Fighting Irish, winners of three straight York-Adams Division III titles, expect to win now and DePew made it clear to his team how they need to conduct themselves if they want to replicate the success of last year’s team.

“It’s a new season. These guys know how to prepare for that,” DePew said. “They realize if they look ahead or get too cocky, bad things can happen.”

Part of the reason why this team is focused on preparing for this season, and not resting on last year’s success, is that a number of players are replacing elite athletes on the field.

Jarred Kohl and Harris Kohl were named Division III Co-Defensive Players of the Year, while running back Cole Witman and wide receiver Manuel Montes were named Division III First-Team All-Stars.

Despite a large number of seniors graduated from last year’s squad, DePew has big expectations for the group that will be on the field this year.

“We might be better at the skill positions than we were last year,” DePew said. “We have a lot of guys with experience that got in games, so I look at it as we’re just reloading.”

York Catholic's Benjamin Nelson-Moir, left, and Luke Brauer celebrate Nelson-Moir's touchdown against Southern Columbia last season during a PIAA Class 2-A quarterfinal football game in Shamokin. Nelson-Moir will return for the Fighting Irish this season. York Catholic finished 12-1 last season.  
John A. Pavoncello photo

Rising senior wide receiver/defensive back Benjamin Nelson-Moir said that the senior class’ goal is to become the leaders that the previous senior classes were and continue the school’s success.

“We know what the seniors have done for us in recent years and we’re trying to teach these younger guys,” Nelson-Moir said. “Our school has been known for being a winning football program, so we know that it’s not only our job to go out there and win ball games, but we have to teach these younger guys how to do so as well.”

Although the pressure is on the Fighting Irish to repeat the dominant season they had a year ago with new players, Nelson-Moir said the team is up for the challenge.

“We know it’s pressure, but we have guys who can play under pressure,” Nelson-Moir said.

Following is a capsule preview of the 2019 York Catholic season.

Delone Catholic's Joe Hernandez, back, looks to take down York Catholic's Mitchell Galentine during the District 3 Class 2-A football title game at South Western High School in Hanover last season. Galentine is among the key returning players for the Irish this season. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Team: York Catholic Fighting Irish.

Coach: Eric DePew, ninth season.

2018 record: 12-1 overall, 7-0 Division III.

Key losses (Division III All-Stars in bold): Harris Kohl, lineman; Jared Kohl, linebacker; Richard Pokrivka, lineman; Massimo Antolick, running back; Tyrese Murray, cornerback; Cole Witman, running back.

Key returners (Division III All-Stars in bold): Noah Kiel, senior, tight end/linebacker; Benjamin Nelson-Moir, senior, wide receiver/defensive back; Michael McBrairty, junior, lineman; Mitchell Galentine, junior, quarterback; Andrew Adams, sophomore, running back/linebacker; Connor Phillips, senior, tight end/linebacker; Cormac Sterling, senior, running back/linebacker; Jabbar Sease, senior, running back/defensive back.

2019 schedule (Division III games in bold): Aug. 23 vs. York Suburban (7 p.m.); Aug. 30 vs. Trinity (7 p.m.); Sept. 6 vs. Susquehannock (7 p.m.); Sept. 13 at Littlestown (7 p.m.); Sept. 20 vs. Biglerville (7 p.m.); Sept. 27 at Bermudian Springs (7 p.m.); Oct. 4 vs. Fairfield (7 p.m.); Oct. 11 at Hanover (7 p.m.); Oct. 18 at Delone Catholic (7 p.m.); Oct. 26 at York Tech (1 p.m.)

Reach Rob Rose at