Central York coach Josh Oswalt wasn’t happy with the result of his District 3 Class 6-A quarterfinal game, and it had less to do with how his players performed and more to do with how they were prepared.
The Panthers (9-2) were outplayed in all three phases of the game in a 47-14 loss to Harrisburg (8-3). Oswalt’s issue was the fact that his team hasn’t played a school its size since league play started and Central York wasn’t ready for the size and speed that Harrisburg featured.
“This is going to piss a lot of people off, but our league is not tough,” Oswalt said. “Our league is not tough at all. It’s no disrespect, there’s good teams and we haven’t beaten those teams every year, but that’s what is happening.”
The Panthers dominated opponents in the York-Adams League this year, allowing more than seven points in a game once and scoring at least 30 points in all eight contests.
Despite its only loss being a one-point defeat at Cumberland Valley, Central York was forced to go on the road once the playoffs began. He added that the Panthers could go undefeated next year and would likely be a No. 3 seed once the playoffs began, at best.
“We went 9-1, great that’s not our goal,” Oswalt said. “Our goal is to win these games. We go 9-1 and we go on the road. People can complain about it, but that team is obviously better than us.”
Panthers get mauled: The Cougars certainly were the better team on Saturday and showed it from the opening whistle.
Harrisburg held Central York to consecutive three-and-out drives on its first two possessions, while the Cougars found the end zone on back-to-back series to start the game.
Quarterback John McNeil had the Cougars’ offense scoring early and often in the first half.
The junior had two passing and two rushing touchdowns before the break and was helped by a pair of talented running backs.
Jahmir Plant broke two big touchdown runs of 42 and 52 yards, respectively, while Jaylon Johnston sprinted away from the Panthers’ defense for a 66-yard score late in the game.
Late-game points: Central York sophomore Beau Pribula tossed a pair of second-half touchdowns to get the Panthers on the board. The biggest play, and a sign of what could become a deadly combination next season, was a 93-yard touchdown to junior wide receiver Judah Tomb.
Building for future: Despite being down 33-0 at halftime, Central York fought to get back into the game in the third quarter. The Panthers forced turnovers on the first two Cougars’ drives after halftime, but the lead Harrisburg built up was too significant.
“They’re kids and I think they thought it was going to be similar to last week (against York High) and it wasn’t. The reality was, it wasn’t,” Oswalt said.
After the tough loss, Oswalt was disappointed in how the season ended because of the expectations he and his team had for the year.
“We didn’t reach our goal and that’s tough because our goals were: win playoff games, have an opportunity to make it to the district championship and stack wins,” Oswalt said. “We didn’t get there, so that’s going to be tough.”
Although the 2019 season ended on a losing note, next season looks promising, with a talented group returning, including Pribula, Tomb and junior wide receiver Taylor Wright-Rawls. Oswalt is excited about how the team will look next season and how they will improve because of Saturday’s loss.
“A lot of guys grew up today,” Oswalt said. “There’s guys that honestly going into the season I thought they (wouldn't) play as much as they did, let alone start. Even in this game today, they stepped up big and held their own or put some things together.”
Harrisburg 13 20 0 14 - 47
Central York 0 0 7 7 - 14
H - John McNeil 9-yard TD pass to Trevion Carey
H - John McNeil 57-yard TD pass to Donte Kent
H - John McNeil 2-yard TD run
H - 42-yard TD run by Jahmir Plant
H - 3-yard TD run by John McNeil
CY - Beau Pribula 93-yard TD pass to Judah Tomb
H - 52-yard TD run by Jahmir Plant
H - 66-yard TD run by Jaylon Johnston
CY - Beau Pribula 23-yard TD pass to Mason Myers
Reach Rob Rose at firstname.lastname@example.org.