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New Central York football coach Gerry Yonchiuk is not really an outsider to the program

ROB ROSE
717-505-5418/@robrosesports
  • Gerry Yonchiuk is the new head football coach at Central York.
  • Yonchiuk has a relationship with former Central York quarterback Cade Pribula.
  • Cade Pribula is the older brother of current Central QB Beau Pribula.
  • Yonchiuk also has a relationship with former Central York head coach Josh Oswalt.

When Cade Pribula heard the Central York football program was in need of a new head coach, he was worried.

Not only was he concerned about the direction of the program where he set records, but also about the future of his younger brother, sophomore starting quarterback Beau Pribula.

Central York football coach Gerry Yonchiuk, center, poses with NFL legends Peyton Manning and Eli Manning while at the Manning Passing Academy camp last summer.

So, when the news broke that Gerry Yonchiuk was approved as the new Central York head coach by the school board Monday, the Central York graduate breathed a sigh of relief. Now he knows that someone he’s built a relationship with over the years and someone he trusts will be coaching his brother.

“It was a relief to find out that we’re going to have a great guy coaching Central for my brother and the great program we already have going,” said Cade Pribula, who is currently playing for the University of Delaware. “It’s a relief to know the program is in great hands.”

A quarterback coach: Cade Pribula and Yonchiuk worked together at Susquehanna Valley Sports events and Cade Pribula developed a respect for Yonchiuk’s ability to command a team and teach the quarterback position. 

Central York's Cade Pribula carries the ball during football action against Red Lion at Central York High School in Springettsbury Township, Thursday, Sept. 14, 2018. Red Lion would win the game 56-28. Dawn J. Sagert photo

“He knows the mind of a quarterback and that’s very rare in high school coaching,” Cade Pribula said. “He definitely knows what he’s talking about.”

Yonchiuk attended five Panthers boys’ basketball games this year to check out the two-sport standouts on the team. While at one of those contests, Cade Pribula and Yonchiuk chatted and the former Panthers quarterback gave his scouting report of the athletes that will be on the receiving end of passes from his brother next season — Taylor Wright-Rawls, Judah Tomb and Kai’ryn Brown.

Central York picks new football head coach

“It would be like Peyton Manning telling you the strengths of his guys with Denver or Indianapolis,” said Yonchiuk, who is resigning as the Lebanon High coach to take the Central job. “It was neat to hear a quarterback telling you what he thinks each of those guys brings to the table.” 

Along with coaching at Susquehanna Valley Sports camps, Yonchiuk has attended clinics nationwide, including the Manning Passing Academy run by NFL legends Archie Manning, Peyton Manning and Eli Manning. Yonchiuk said he isn’t sure if his schedule will permit his attending the Manning Academy this summer, but he would love to bring Beau Pribula with him, if possible. 

Central York quarterback Beau Pribula runs for a Panthers touchdown against York High, Friday October 25, 2019.
John A. Pavoncello photo

District 3 duo: In addition to his relationship with Cade Pribula, Yonchiuk has also spent some time with former Central York football coach Josh Oswalt. In fact, Oswalt and Yonchiuk have been paired as roommates for events in recent years. 

Yonchiuk said he remembered coaching against Oswalt when he played for Cumberland Valley High and that they’ve been in contact since Oswalt began his coaching career. 

When Oswalt left Central York for his alma mater, he recommended Yonchiuk apply for the position.

Josh Oswalt reflects on his decision to leave Central York for Cumberland Valley

Although he hasn’t coached a team in the York-Adams League before, between his relationships with Central York’s former coach and former quarterback, Yonchiuk said he thinks the transition won’t be too difficult.

“Yes, I am an outsider, but I’m almost an insider with that connection,” Yonchiuk said.

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Yonchiuk praised Oswalt’s success with the Panthers, which included a Y-A League Division I title last season and 9-1 regular-season record. He added that with both coaches’ emphasis on innovative offenses, the players should enjoy playing in his scheme and see no drop off in success.

“We probably (have) the most similar coaching philosophies in all of District 3,” Yonchiuk said. “Coach Oswalt took them to a level they haven’t been in terms of consistency at that high of a level. My hope is that we continue with it and my goal will be to take the next step.”

York High at Central York football, Friday October 25, 2019.
John A. Pavoncello photo

While he is excited about the returning talent to the Central York team next season, Yonchiuk said he doesn’t feel any added pressure to win. He said he looks forward to the challenge of getting the best out of a talented group of players with high expectations this year. 

An emotional return: One game that will surely generate pressure for Yonchiuk and the Panthers is the meeting with Oswalt and Cumberland Valley in York. Cumberland Valley was one of two teams to beat Central York last season and that is an afterthought compared to the emotions that the coaches and players will feel before to the game.

“That game oughta be electric,” Yonchiuk said. “They’re not going to want to disappoint him in how they play against them. They’re going to want to beat him. He’s going to want to beat Central York. I think it will be an unbelievable, playoff atmosphere.”

Yonchiuk said he hopes to be teaching at Central York when a position opens up. He will be meeting the team Wednesday night, accompanied by former players at Lebanon High that can speak to his coaching process.

Between the relationships he’s already built with past members of the Panthers’ program and the ones he plans to create in the future, Yonchiuk is looking forward to taking the team to the next level starting in 2020.

“I really feel blessed,” Yonchiuk said. “I really believe it’s an elite job. I really feel grateful for the Central York administration to believe in me and bring me in because these are big shoes to fill. I can’t wait to get started.” 

Reach Rob Rose at rrose@yorkdispatch.com.