YORK-ADAMS DIVISION I FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Central York set for season of great expectations

  • Central York returns multiple college football prospects in 2020.
  • Dover moves up from York-Adams League Division II.
  • Randy Fizer moves from wide receiver to quarterback for Red Lion.
Gerry Yonchiuk directs his Central York football team during a summer workout. Yonchiuk is in his first season leading the Panthers, who return a lot of talent from a team that finished 9-2 in 2019, including a 7-0 mark in York-Adams Division I.

Taking over a talented team with great expectations already presented enough challenges for Gerry Yonchiuk.

This summer, however, that was the least of Yonchiuk's worries. 

Central York High's new football head coach had to find a way to teach the Panthers his new offense through a computer screen for most of this offseason. Yonchiuk, though, isn't concerned that his team will be prepared to play when the season begins Friday night.

YORK-ADAMS DIVISION II FOOTBALL PREVIEW: New Oxford must fill big holes, to face new foes

YORK-ADAMS DIVISION III FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Delone Catholic aims to repeat as champion

When Yonchiuk met with reporters during York-Adams League virtual media days early in August, he estimated the Panthers had 90% of their offense installed already. That was a benefit of having a similar coaching philosophy to former Central York coach Josh Oswalt, who is now at Cumberland Valley.

“It’s not that it’s that drastic of a change from what Josh did here, but from a terminology standpoint everything is different,” Yonchiuk said. “I believe we’re a little ahead of schedule and I think that’s due to the knowledge of the guys we have. The coaching they received before I got here was exceptional, so my deal is to try and continue with it, adapt what we’re doing and go with that.”

Central York High quarterback Beau Pribula throws a pass against Red Lion High last season.

In addition to knowledge and coaching, Central York's roster has talent, and lots of it. Led by junior quarterback and Penn State commit Beau Pribula, the Panthers' offense should be even better than last year's group which went 9-2, won the York-Adams League Division I title at 7-0 and reached the District 3 Class 6-A playoffs.

Central York High quarterback Beau Pribula commits to Penn State

Pribula has a pair of talented senior wide receivers in Judah Tomb and Taylor Wright-Rawls, who were both Y-A D-I all-stars last year. Both have already received college offers.

Central York's Judah Tomb runs a York High kick-off back for a Panthers' touchdown, Friday October 25, 2019.
John A. Pavoncello photo

Blocking for Pribula is senior tackle Josh Gaffney, an NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision commit to the University at Albany. Senior tight end Kyle Fontes, an FCS Bucknell University commit, will also provide blocking and pass catching for the Panthers.

HEISER: Central York football standout commits to D-I program, now focuses on Panthers season

Central York football standout Kyle Fontes says Bucknell offer "was too good to pass up"

In the backfield, next to the future Nittany Lions' quarterback, will be a pair of talented runners. Senior Isaiah Sturgis was a D-I first-team all-star with 602 rushing yards and eight touchdowns last year, along with junior Imeire Manigault, who racked up 670 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns.

“I want to distribute to all the athletes we have,” Pribula said. “We have a lot of athletes this year and I want to get the ball in their hands to do things because I think they can be dangerous.”

While the Central York team certainly has the names to win games this season, Yonchiuk was most excited when talking about the players' desire to battle each other no matter how insignificant the drill or activity may seem.

With the combination of talent and work ethic, Yonchiuk and the Panthers have high hopes for this season, especially since the team boasts a senior class filled with future Saturday players.

Central York High School football team gets in a summer workout under the leadership of new head coach Gerry Yonchiuk, Tuesday, July 22, 2020
John A. Pavoncello photo

“These guys will compete at checkers, I swear whatever it is they just compete at it,” Yonchiuk said. “That’s a winning team and a winning program. I’m just so very fortunate and blessed to come into it. That’s what these guys expect, they expect to win and dominate games.”

Whitt leads returning York High runners: After a D-I first-team all-star season in 2019 with 1,086 rushing yards and eight touchdowns, Tyrell Whitt returns to the Bearcats' backfield in 2020.

Along with Whitt, York High returns running back Kelvin Matthews, a D-I honorable-mention back last season.

York High's Tyrell Whitt is tackled by a host of Central York defenders, Friday October 25, 2019.
John A. Pavoncello photo

The Bearcats need to replace a loaded offensive line that saw multiple members go on to play in college after their senior seasons.

Along with the linemen, York High will look to Sam Stoner to lead the offense. He replaces Tobee Stokes, now at FCS Saint Francis University. Senior wide receivers James Bryant and Rashim Lee will likely be Stoner's top targets in the passing game.

Russ Stoner remains York High's head football coach after raucous, marathon school board meeting

The Bearcats went 7-4 a year ago, including a District 3 berth. They finished second in D-I at 6-1.

Fizer at QB for Lions: After a dominant pair of seasons at wide receiver, senior Randy Fizer will line up at quarterback for Red Lion this season.

Randy Fizer looks set to move back to quarterback for senior season at Red Lion High

Fizer played the position until his sophomore season, when a position change offered him a spot on the field and he thrived.

Northeastern's Tyshawn Bushrod, left, moves in on Red Lion's Randy Fizer during football action on Horn Field in Red Lion, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. Red Lion would win the game 41-28. Dawn J. Sagert photo

One of Fizer's top targets will be senior wide receiver Davante Dennis. The 6-foot, 5-inch Dennis is also a force on the other side of the ball, claiming a D-I first-team all-star defensive end spot in 2019. 

On the line, senior Kairen Gordon-Bey returns after a D-I first-team all-star season as an offensive linemen and a D-I second-team all-star berth on the defensive line.

The Lions were 6-4 overall in 2019 and 3-4 in D-I.

Capo leads Bobcats: Manny Capo's Northeastern career began when he entered as a replacement for an injured senior. Two years later, Capo is now the focus of the Bobcats' offense.

Capo led the Y-A League in rushing a year ago with 1,789 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns en route to a D-I first-team all-star campaign.

Northeastern's Manny Capo breaks away with the ball during football action against Red Lion on Horn Field in Red Lion, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. Red Lion would win the game 41-28. Dawn J. Sagert photo

This season will be more of a challenge for Capo. The Bobcats have lost a ton of talent and experience to graduation. Along with a majority of the offensive line, quarterback Zech Sanderson and wide receiver Jordan Lagana are off to college after D-I all-star campaigns.

One weapon returning along with Capo for Northeastern is senior wide receiver Kaden Hamilton, who holds an offer from D-I Valparaiso University.

The Bobcats finished 7-4 a season ago, including a District 3 berth, and 4-3 in D-I.

Rockets ready to roll: Although the team didn't win a division game in 2019, Spring Grove is confident in its young players entering the 2020 campaign.

With sophomore quarterback Andrew Osmun back after 1,099 passing yards in 2019 in his first year, the Rockets are excited about their future.

Like what you're reading?:Not a subscriber? Click here for full access to The York Dispatch.

Osmun will look to senior wide receiver Jonah Warehime and junior running back Zyree Brooks to help him move the ball. On the other side of the ball, junior Darien Osmun will lead the defense after he was a D-I first-team all-star at linebacker last year.

In 2019, the Rockets were 2-8 overall and 0-7 in D-I.

South Western returns talent: Barry Chamberlain returns as the Mustangs' quarterback with an offseason, albeit a unusual one, under his belt after he joined the team late last season. 

In addition to the quarterback, South Western's offense returns a number of talented runners. Charles Gaither is back at fullback after he was named a D-I honorable-mention running back along with Ty Cromer. If teams want to load the box to stop Gaither, Chamberlain will look to wide receiver Da'Shawn Gaither.

On defense, Cromer returns after a D-I honorable-mention season at linebacker and Charles Gaither will lead the defensive line after he was a D-I first-team all-star at defensive tackle last year.

South Western will look to improve its 2019 season, when it finished 4-6 overall and 3-4 in D-I.

Dallastown continues to build: After a 2-8 season, the Wildcats are excited about a large number of young players who gained experience a year ago.

Senior quarterback Andrew Jones will run and throw behind an offensive line that Dallastown is excited about, led by junior center Seth Miller.

Junior Gavin Wentz looks to build off a D-I honorable-mention defensive-end campaign. He's expected to take on a bigger role on the 2020 team.

Dallastown was 1-6 in D-I action in 2019.

Dover joins D-I: With New Oxford moving to D-II, the Eagles join D-I this season.

They will do so with a new quarterback under center in 6-4, 205-pound senior Matt Hoffman.

Helping Hoffman adjust will be junior center Andrew Snelbaker, who comes off a D-II honorable-mention season at the position. Senior tight end/defensive end Carson Snelbaker also returns after a D-II honorable-mention campaign at defensive end.

Dover was 3-7 overall and 3-3 in D-II last season.

Reach Rob Rose at rrose@yorkdispatch.com.