York Tech Spartans deal with shadow of tragedy heading into 2021 football season

ROB ROSE
717-505-5418/@robrosesports
Ronald Lake is seen here as a junior for the York Tech football team. Lake died unexpectedly recently.
  • York Tech senior captain Ronald Lake died unexpectedly recently.
  • Lake was expected to be a key figure on the Spartans' 2021 team.
  • York Tech beat Hanover in 2020 to end a 35-game losing streak.

Editor's note: This is one in a series of previews for York-Adams League football teams.

York Tech broke its three-season-long losing streak in 2020 with a win over Hanover.

Building off the momentum of the victory, the Spartans got new helmets heading into the 2021 season, but will be missing one of their best players once the games begin.

Wide receiver/defensive back Ronald Lake died unexpectedly earlier this month. He was set to be a team captain and key part of Tech’s offense and defense.

Lake was a key player for the Spartans as a junior last season, intercepting two passes to help the team break its 35-game losing streak.

'A kid that lit up the room': Remembering York Tech football team captain Ronald Lake

Additionally, running back/defensive back Hunter Sommer graduated after he was named an York-Adams League Division III all-star. He will also be missed after making big plays out of the backfield and as a kick returner.

The Spartans will now look to senior quarterback Ja’mar Johnson to lead the team’s attack after a solid junior season. Johnson's return has head coach Matt Glennon excited.

Matt Glennon, York Tech
Football Media Day, Thursday August 1, 2019.
John A. Pavoncello photo

“He was all (league) last year as an athlete, but he's gotten into the offense role,” Glennon said. “He’s a field general that takes charge of the field for us, he will check a lot and audible on the line of scrimmage, he picks up that real easily. In our offense, that's the most important position, obviously in most offenses, but really we rely on our kids to really see things at the line of scrimmage, check out of plays and into other plays that are best for them. He's pretty good at that, so having that settled, at least for now, is reassuring.”

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Still, Glennon knows that dealing with the loss of Lake will be difficult.

"He was just a kid that lit up the room. Always had a smile on his face," Glennon said. "Always. I'm not exaggerating. The kid was just gregarious and kind, and it's just a tragedy."

Glennon said the team will wear stickers with Lake's No. 10 this season to honor him and will keep a locker reserved for him, among other things not fully set yet.

Here is a capsule look at the 2021 Spartans:

►Team: York Tech Spartans.

►Coach: Matt Glennon, third season (Previously coached team from 2013-2014.)

►2020 record: 1-6 in York-Adams Division III.

►Key losses (Division III All-Stars in bold): WR/DB Ronald Lake; RB/DB Hunter Sommer.

►Key returners (Division III All-Stars in bold): QB/DB Ja’mar Johnson; RB/LB Travis Wagner.

►2021 schedule (Division III games in bold): Aug. 28 vs. Hamburg; Sept. 4 vs. Octorara; Sept. 10 at Northern Lebanon; Sept. 18 vs. Delone Catholic; Oct. 1 at Littlestown; Oct. 9 vs. Littlestown; Oct. 15 at Bermudian Springs; Oct. 23 vs. Fairfield; Oct. 29 at York Catholic.

Reach Rob Rose at rrose@yorkdispatch.com.