Editor's note: This is the final preview in a series of team previews for the 2019 York-Adams League football season:
Replacing the 3,045 rushing yards that Dayjure Stewart totaled in 2018 won’t be easy, but York High coach Russ Stoner has a plan.
Instead of expecting one player to try and fill the role that Stewart played on the offense last season, Stoner will lean on his 18 seniors to elevate themselves and their younger teammates to replicate the Bearcats’ success, which included an 11-2 overall record in 2018, with a District 3 Class 5-A semifinal appearance and a York-Adams Division co-championship.
“Fortunately for us, we have such great leadership,” Stoner said. “We have such a great group of guys that are really tremendous.”
Replacing Stewart in the backfield primarily will be a pair of rising juniors in Tyrell Whitt and Marcellus John. In addition to Whitt and John, rising senior Tobee Stokes will become the starting quarterback and play a major role in York High’s rushing attack.
Stokes has experience playing quarterback in the past, but spent previous seasons as a running back and slot receiver for the Bearcats.
Stoner said Stokes and his fellow seniors have become coaches in their own way for the younger players and worked with them through the offseason to prepare for this year.
While Stoner and the coaches are always teaching players themselves, he said nothing sinks in with players more than learning from the leaders on the team.
“It’s more powerful for them coming from their teammates than it is from the coaching staff,” Stoner said.
With a large group of players returning from a successful 2018 campaign, Stoner looks to the seniors to show the incoming Bearcats what is expected of them so the program can reach new heights.
“We need these guys to teach the young guys what it means to be a Bearcat and that pride aspect,” Stoner said. “So next year (and) the following year we continue to do what we’re doing here at York High.”
Following is a capsule preview of the 2019 York High season.
►Team: York High Bearcats.
►Coach: Russ Stoner, fourth season.
►2018 record: 11-2 overall, 6-1 York-Adams Division I.
►Key losses (Division I All-Stars in bold):Dayjure Stewart, running back; Rob Rideout, wide receiver/defensive back; Josh Griffith, lineman; Anthony Jamison, wide receiver;Tino Conquest, wide receiver/defensive back;Kahleel Allen, defensive end; Isaiah Peterson, lineman.
►Key returners (Division I All-Stars in bold):Tobee Stokes, senior, quarterback; Antonio Jones Jr., senior, lineman; Trey Bernstein, senior, lineman;Dwayne Beady, senior, lineman; Maurice Feazell, senior, defensive end/tight end; William Molina, senior, lineman; Aaron Johnson, junior, linebacker/running back; Marcellus John, junior, linebacker/running back; Tyrell Whitt, junior, running back.
►2019 schedule (Division I games in bold): Aug. 23 at. Pittsburgh Central Catholic (8 p.m.); Aug. 30 at J.P. McCaskey (7 p.m.); Sept. 6 vs. Cedar Crest (7 p.m.); Sept. 13 at New Oxford (7 p.m.); Sept. 20 vs. Spring Grove (7 p.m.); Sept. 27 at Dallastown (7 p.m.); Oct. 4 vs. Red Lion (7 p.m.); Oct. 11 at South Western (7 p.m.); Oct. 18 vs. Northeastern (7 p.m.); Oct. 25 at Central York (7 p.m.)
Reach Rob Rose at email@example.com.