Emerging young talent could help York Suburban defend its York-Adams Division II title

  • York Suburban opened the 2020 football season with a 43-28 win vs. Eastern York.
  • Sophomore wideout Kenny Johnson had six catches for 209 yards, with five touchdowns.
  • Junior quarterback Camden Brewer threw for 331 and five TDs, all to Johnson.

Andy Loucks wasn’t sure how well the York Suburban High School football team would play headed into its first game.

The Trojans’ head coach knew his team was filled with talent, but without a traditional offseason, including any scrimmages, it wasn’t clear how the team would perform without the members from a loaded senior class that led the team to an undefeated regular season in 2019.

If Week 1 is a sign of the future, the Trojans will be just fine. 

Junior quarterback Camden Brewer threw for 331 yards and five touchdowns, all to sophomore Kenny Johnson, as York Suburban scored a 43-28 win vs. Eastern York. Suburban's opening point total was more points than the team scored in all but two games during last year’s historic run.

York Suburban quaterback Camden Brewer launches a pass as the Trojans host Lampeter-Strasburg in the District 3 Class 4-A quarterfinal, Friday, November 8, 2019. John A. Pavoncello photo

“To be honest, that’s just getting started,” Brewer said. “Me, Kenny and a lot of the other guys worked very hard in the offseason. Five touchdowns to one guy, I didn’t expect that, but that’s credit to him, he’s been working really hard. You’ll see a lot of the others guys in the upcoming weeks, they’ve been working really hard as well. So, it’s all credit to them making plays on the ball.”

Johnson’s breakout game took everyone on the team by surprise, including Johnson. The 6-foot, 1-inch sophomore needed only six catches to record five scores and 209 receiving yards, and added an interception on defense for good measure.

As a freshman, Johnson played sporadically because of injury issues, but started the Trojans’ District 3 playoff game. Loucks was confident that Johnson’s abilities would show up, but without a ninth-grade team in the program, the coaching staff projected Johnson would be a key player this season with some more time to develop.

“We knew he was a very talented athlete, but we didn’t know if he would be ready as a freshman,” Loucks said. “That’s a big jump from junior high to varsity football, so we knew there was talent there, but we didn’t know how well he would do. He progressed throughout the year, especially when he got healthy, so we figured he would be a very good player for us.”

York Suburban sophomore Kenny Johnson lines up to run a play during practice. Johnson scored five touchdowns and had 209 receiving yards in the Trojans' week one win.

Johnson credited the offseason work he, Brewer and their teammates put in for the dominant performance.

“The chemistry on the field was insane,” Johnson said. “It was just pitch and catch. Everything we worked on over the summer played out and it all worked out. Honestly, I didn’t expect that, but I knew it was going to be a big game.”

Loucks said the team had no concerns about Brewer’s abilities to make plays on the field, but coming into this season there was one specific skill the coach wanted to see his quarterback work on — leadership.

York Suburban head coach Andy Loucks.

Brewer took on that challenge by making sure his teammates continued to work out and stay in shape during the shutdown period of the COVID-19 pandemic and got players to the field to run routes.

“They were all great leaders, and with them not being on the team, somebody had to step up and be a leader and take charge and I wanted to accept that role,” Brewer said.

As Brewer continues to work on becoming a leader, the Trojans’ other young talented players will be growing along with him. Senior tight end Isaiah Pineda and senior running back Nate Banks return after all-star seasons, but Suburban has a young core to build around.

York Suburban's quarterback Camden Brewer is seen here in action last season.

Sophomore running back/safety Mike Bentivegna scored a touchdown, had an interception and collected two tackles for a loss in Week 1. Junior running back Jayce Henderson and junior wide receiver Dyemon Jordan also emerged as key players in the Trojans’ offense.

One week into this team’s run to repeat as York-Adams League Division II champion, the Trojans look ready to compete again this season after a dominant opening offensive performance. Led by Brewer, the Trojans worked to continue the program’s success this offseason and they don’t plan on relaxing anytime soon, despite the early results.

“It’s relieving because personally I worked really, really hard in the offseason and it’s a nice feeling (to see) hard work does get you somewhere, but I gotta keep working throughout the season and keep trying to get better every day and every game,” Brewer said. “So, I just gotta keep slightly improving and the sky’s the limit.”

Reach Rob Rose at rrose@yorkdispatch.com.