York Suburban wins battle of elite running backs, improves to 5-0 against Kennard-Dale

  • York Suburban improved to 5-0 with a 35-13 win over Kennard-Dale.
  • Savion Harrison ran for 118 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries.
  • Wyatt McCleary had 97 yards on 13 carries for the Rams.

Over the course of a game, one play usually doesn’t have a major impact on the final score. 

The first snap of the second half in the game between York Suburban (5-0) and Kennard-Dale (3-2) proved to be the exception to the rule. 

Trailing by two scores and kicking off to begin the second half, Kennard-Dale coach Chris Grube tried to catch Suburban off guard and recover a short kick. 

Kennard-Dale at York Suburban football, Friday, Septmber 20, 2019.
John A. Pavoncello photo

The Trojans were able to jump on the ball, and the first play from scrimmage illustrated the difference between the teams in a York-Adams League Division II contest. Suburban quickly delivered the big play that Grube hoped would've sparked a comeback for the Rams. 

Suburban senior running back Savion Harrison sprinted past the Rams’ defense and into the end zone for a 52-yard touchdown run that helped lead the Trojans to a 35-13 victory on Friday. 

“It feels great. It gives us momentum (and) gets us hype,” Harrison said. “After we get those runs, we just feel that we can compete with them. We went into the game saying it was going to be a great game, it was going to be close, so we had to ball out. So that’s what we did.” 

Harrison and the rest of the Trojans’ offense certainly showed up in the win and Harrison delivered two of the big plays that created a gap between the teams too significant for the Rams to close. 

York Suburban running back Savion Harrison breaks a tackle by Kennard-Dale's Colin Griffin before sprinting to the endzone for a Trojans' touchdown, Friday, September 20, 2019.
John A. Pavoncello photo

The senior and his shiny, gold cleats racked up 118 yards on 12 carries with two touchdowns. Grube called Harrison the best running back in York County and his counterpart, Kennard-Dale senior fullback Wyatt McCleary, added that Harrison’s vision as a runner helped him create big plays. 

“He waited for his blocks to set up and he was out,” McCleary said. “He is a tough kid to tackle and he is a good running back.”

Establishing the run: Entering the game, McCleary and Harrison were second and third in rushing yards in the York-Adams League, respectively. Both coaches wanted to stop the other team’s backfield star, but only Suburban was able to make its opponent one dimensional on offense. 

Kennard-Dale at York Suburban football, Friday, Septmber 20, 2019.
John A. Pavoncello photo

McCleary had averaged 180 rushing yards per game in the Rams’ first four games, but was held to 97 yards on 13 carries. Grube said he had never seen a team commit so many players to stopping the run and McCleary added that the Trojans’ physicality was the key to their success. 

“They stacked the box and they played their assignments well,” McCleary said. “They manhandled us inside. It’s tough when you try to run inside and they have three guys off the center, but it’s football.” 

All systems go: Although Harrison had a big night on the ground and junior running back Nate Banks added another 55 yards and a touchdown out of the backfield, it was the Trojans’ balanced offense that fueled their victory. 

With Harrison leading the rushing attack and two key senior linemen — Nasier Spellman and Garth Barclay, committed to NCAA Division I Syracuse University — back from injury, Suburban was able to set up its passing game. 

Junior tight end Isaiah Pineda caught two touchdown passes, one from each of the Trojans’ quarterbacks. 

Senior Max Reinecker started the game and played the first half before he sat out the second half as a precaution because of a forearm bruise. Sophomore Camden Brewer ran the offense like he was the starter and the Trojans didn’t miss a beat. 

Harrison said that, with his usual offensive line blocking for him in addition to the wide receivers and tight ends making plays, Suburban becomes even more dangerous for opposing defenses. 

“Once our offense comes together and we can run and pass, it makes it harder for the defense because they have to key on both now,” Harrison said. “So, we can get bigger plays and make bigger plays.”

York Suburban quarterback Max Reinecker stiff arms Kennard-Dale defensive end JJ Kennedy to break away for a pass attempt, Friday, September 20, 2019.
John A. Pavoncello photo

Room to grow: While he was happy with the result and undefeated record, Suburban coach Andy Loucks said the best is yet to come from his team once the players all get on the same page. He added that the Trojans will need to keep improving if they want the final five games of the season to end the same way the first five did.

“We’re still feeling each other out,” Loucks said. “We got some pieces that are just back... so we’re still not where we need to be, but we’re getting there. We’re progressing, so that’s a positive and I like that.”

York Suburban 7 13 8 7 - 35

Kennard-Dale 0 7 0 6 - 13

Scoring Plays

First Quarter

YS - Max Reinecker 48-yard TD pass to Isaiah Pineda (Griffin Smith kick)

Second Quarter

YS - Nate Banks 55-yard TD run (Griffin Smith kick)

KD - Jacob Copenhaver 9-yard TD pass to JJ Kennedy (Ryan James kick)

YS - Savion Harrison 46-yard TD run

Third Quarter

YS - Savion Harrison 52-yard TD run (Nate Banks pass to Isaiah Pineda for two-point conversion)

Fourth Quarter

YS - Camden Brewer 15-yard TD pass to Isaiah Pineda (Griffin Smith kick)

KD - DJ Noland 1-yard TD run

Reach Rob Rose at rrrose@yorkdispatch.com.