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HEISER: With District 3 football playoffs looming, it's crunch time for York-Adams teams

  • There are two weeks left in the high school football regular season.
  • More than half of the York-Adams League teams still have District 3 hopes.
  • York High (6-2) is No. 2 in the latest District 3 Class 5-A power ratings.
The York Suburban players celebrate during last week's win over Gettysburg. The Trojans are 8-0 on the season.

There are two weeks left in the high school football regular season.

That means there are two very pivotal games left for most of the York-Adams League teams.

That’s because it’s getting down to crunch time in the District 3 playoff chase.

If the season ended today, 10 of the 23 Y-A teams would make the district field. Over the next two weeks, those teams will look to secure those berths while also improving their chances of possibly earning home playoff games and maybe even getting first-round byes.

A number of other teams, meanwhile, are on the outside looking in at the moment but have legitimate chances of earning district berths — if they can win out during the regular season.

So, more than half of the Y-A teams are playing meaningful football going down the home stretch. That’s a very good thing for the coaches, players and fans of those programs.

Here’s a look at how the district race shapes up heading into the ninth week of the 2019 season:

Central York's Brendan Harris (10) dodges and weaves his way through the line for good yardage against Red Lion, Friday, September 13, 2019
John A. Pavoncello photo

Central York football team continues its rampage through York-Adams Division I opposition

Class 6-A: The surging Central York Panthers (7-1) appear certain of a berth in the eight-team field in 6-A.

The Panthers have been running roughshod over their Y-A Division I foes thus far this season, outscoring them 254-28 over five games. A six-game winning streak has helped Central move up to No. 4 in the 6-A power ratings.

Central’s remaining games are at Dallastown (2-6) and at home vs. York High (6-2). The game vs. the Bearcats will almost certainly decide the D-I crown.

If the Panthers can win out, they’ll almost certainly get a top-four seed and a first-round home game. That’s crucial, because the 6-A bracket is absolutely loaded. Manheim Township is unbeaten (8-0), No. 1 in the district 6-A power ratings and considered a legitimate state title contender.

Wilson (7-1) is No. 2, Central Dauphin (6-2) is No. 3, and Harrisburg (5-2) is No. 5. If Central can win out and possibly move up to No. 3 in the final 6-A power ratings, it could get a much more winnable first-round pairing vs. the No. 6 seed. The rest of the current 6-A power ratings have Cedar Crest (6-2) at No. 6, Cumberland Valley (4-4) at No. 7 and Chambersburg (5-3) at No. 8.

Red Lion (4-4) currently sits at No. 9 in 6-A but has winnable games left vs. Spring Grove (2-6) and Dallastown. Win out, and the Lions could sneak into the 6-A field.

Class 5-A: This bracket is the largest in the district playoffs, with 14 teams getting berths.

York High at No. 2, Northeastern (6-2) at No. 7 and New Oxford (5-3) at No. 8 appear locked into the field.

York High, if it can win out, would likely be one of two 5-A teams to get first-round byes. Winning out, however, will not be easy for the Bearcats. They play host to Northeastern this week and are at Central in the regular-season finale.

Northeastern, meanwhile, will finish its regular season at home vs. New Oxford. This week, the Colonials  are at home vs. South Western (3-5).

The Mustangs are No. 16 in the current 5-A power ratings and could move into the final top 14 if they beat New Oxford and Spring Grove in their regular-season finale to get to 5-5.

In the 5-A first-round games, the No. 3 through No. 8 seeds will receive home games. Shippensburg (8-0) is No. 1 in the 5-A power ratings.

Savion Harrison's career night pushes York Suburban past Gettysburg, 30-19

Class 4-A: Unbeaten York Suburban (8-0 and No. 3 in the 4-A power ratings) and Gettysburg (6-2 and No. 8 in the 4-A power ratings) should both make the 10-team 4-A bracket. It would be a major surprise if either team loses over the final two weeks.

Suburban, if its finishes 10-0 as expected, would be one of six 4-A teams to get a first-round bye and one of four teams to get a quarterfinal home game.

Gettysburg, if its finishes 8-2, could grab one of the six first-round byes.

Susquehannock (No. 13 at 4-4), Kennard-Dale (No. 15 at 4-4) and Eastern York (No. 16 at 3-5) have faint 4-A playoff hopes. None of those three can afford a stumble going down the stretch and then must also receive some help (meaning losses) from the teams ahead of them.

Susquehanna Township (7-1) is No. 1 in the 4-A power ratings, while Berks Catholic (5-1) is No. 2.

Class 3-A: Six teams get into the 3-A playoff field, and right now Bermudian Springs is No. 5 and Littlestown is No. 6. Both are 5-3.

The two teams will square off at Littlestown on Friday night in what could turn out to be an elimination game. Both the Eagles and the Thunderbolts, however, will be heavily favored to win their regular-season finales, so Friday’s loser could still earn a district berth at 6-4.

The top of the 3-A bracket is stacked, led by traditional powers Wyomissing (No. 1 at 8-0), Middletown (No. 2 at 7-1) and Lancaster Catholic (No. 3 at 7-1). The top two teams in 3-A get first-round byes.

Class 2-A: After stumbling to an 0-3 start vs. a very tough schedule, Delone Catholic has stormed to five straight wins vs. Y-A D-III foes, outscoring those teams, 196-40. All of those wins came by at least 27 points.

That has moved Delone to No. 3 in the 2-A power ratings. The top four teams will make the district field.

The Squires have two games remaining,  at home vs. York Catholic (4-4) and  at Hanover (1-7). York Catholic, the defending D-III and District 3 2-A champion, handed Delone both of its losses in 2018, and the Nighthawks and Squires are longtime rivals.

If Delone wins out, it will make districts but will likely face a road game at either No. 1 Upper Dauphin (8-0) or No. 2 Steel-High (7-1). Delone lost to Steel-High earlier this season, 35-28, and beat Upper Dauphin in last year’s district playoffs, 48-23.

If York Catholic can beat Delone again, it could get back into districts. The Irish are No. 6 in the latest 2-A ratings and end the season vs. winless York Tech.

Class 1-A: Someone will have to win this title.

There are only three teams in 1-A from District 3. They are Millersburg (No. 1 at 2-6), Fairfield (No. 2 at 1-7) and Halifax (No. 3 at 0-8). The top two will face off for the district title.

Fairfield has a good chance to get its second win this week vs. Class 6-A York Tech. That should be more than enough to secure the Green Knights a berth in the final.

— Steve Heiser is sports editor of The York Dispatch. He can be reached at