York-Adams football teams set to start 2021 season: Get the lowdown on each of the openers

ROB ROSE
717-505-5418/@robrosesports
York High's Jahiem White carries the ball against Central York last season in the District 3 Class 6-A title game.
  • The 2021 high school football season begins this weekend.
  • There are 18 games involving York-Adams teams: 17 on Friday night and one on Saturday afternoon.
  • Two of the featured games pit Central York at Exeter and Gov. Mifflin at York High.

Last season was unlike any other in York-Adams League history.

COVID-19 delayed the campaign and shortened the schedules.

Still, the 2020 season also saw two local teams battle each other for a District 3 Class 6-A title and Central York reach the state 6-A championship game.

With almost every team set to play a full regular-season schedule of 10 games, it's time to take a look at each of the contests involving Y-A League teams in Week One.

With York-Adams football looming, here's a one-stop site with information on all 23 teams

Each game is set to kick off at 7 p.m. Friday, except for Hamburg at York Tech, which will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday. Biglerville's game at Pequea Valley was postponed because of a COVID issue in the Canners program. Last year's records are parenthesis:

DIVISION I

Central York (10-1) at Exeter Township (6-2): The Panthers begin their run to repeat as District 3 6-A champs with a tough test on the road in Berks County. Quarterback Beau Pribula returns, but several Central York players will step into starting roles for the first time with high expectations. Exeter went 6-2 last season and returns its top two running backs, top three wide receivers and a senior quarterback in his first season as the starter.

Dallastown (1-5) at Hempfield (4-4): The Wildcats started practices earlier this month prepared to run the ball a ton behind its big offensive line. That changed with the transfer of standout wide receiver Kenny Johnson last week from York Suburban. Hempfield comes off a 4-4 season and returns its starting quarterback, running backs, wide receivers and tight end.

Jeffery Nyamekye is one of Red Lion's leading returning players.

Cedar Cliff (4-4) at Red Lion (5-2): The Lions are looking to replace their offensive and defensive leaders from last season in Randy Fizer and Davante Dennis, respectively. Luckily for them, Cedar Cliff is also replacing several senior starters from last season, including its quarterback. Red Lion fans should be excited to see if Jeff Nyamekye and LaDainian Strausbaugh can sprint past defenders like they did on the track in the spring en route to a state relay title.

Milton Hershey (0-0) at South Western (2-5): The Mustangs are in the midst of changing their offensive and defensive schemes under first-year head coach Tony Shermeyer. It’s unclear how well South Western will adjust to a new spread offense in Week One after years of the Wing-T, but it will be facing a motivated opponent. Milton Hershey hasn’t played since 2019 after the school opted out of the fall season in 2020. Senior running back Dion Bryant is the Spartans’ offensive star to watch.

Spring Grove (4-3) at Waynesboro (5-3): The Rockets begin the season with high expectations after they had a winning record in 2020. The first test for the talented Spring Grove team is a Waynesboro squad that went 5-3 last season and features a run-focused attack. The Indians return a pair of running backs that combined for 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2020.

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Governor Mifflin (8-1) at York High (7-1): After one season of playing only league opponents, the Bearcats are back to opening the season with a big test. The Mustangs come off a trip to the PIAA 5-A semifinals and will feature Penn State commit Nicholas Singleton, who rushed for 1,311 yards and scored 22 touchdowns in 2020. York High has its own star running back coming off a big season. Jahiem White led the Y-A League with 1,332 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns.

DIVISION II 

Octorara (6-2) at Kennard-Dale (4-2): The Rams lost the Y-A League Division II Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, but return double-digit players that got time on the field in 2020. Octorara went 6-2 last season and returns its quarterback and top two running backs, who combined for 1,200 yards and 18 touchdowns.

Columbia (4-4) at Eastern York (1-5): Head coach Josh Campbell said the Golden Knights want to break the scoreboard this season. They'll get a chance to do it on their home field first. Eastern York returns Y-A League all-star players at quarterback, running back and wide receiver. They'll look to get the program a winning record this season. Columbia comes off a 4-4 campaign and returns several key starters, including its senior quarterback.

Michael Bentivegna, right, is one of York Suburban's top returning players.

East Pennsboro (3-4) at York Suburban (4-2): Josh Fry’s first offseason as the Trojans’ head coach has been less than ideal. Two York-Adams League all-stars — quarterback Camden Brewer and wide receiver Kenny Johnson — are no longer on the roster after transferring. Suburban does return all-star running back Mike Bentivegna, who will likely get all the touches he can handle this season. East Pennsboro won’t throw the ball much, but returns two running backs who combined for 1,100 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2020.

DIVISION III 

Delone Catholic (6-1) at Trinity (0-7): The Squires start their season with hopes of reaching another District 3 title game and the Shamrocks offer a solid chance for the team to find its footing. Trinity returns starters at several key positions, but failed to win a game last season. Delone Catholic should get a chance to see how much depth the team has in this contest. Trinity has a new head coach in former Penn State defensive lineman Jordan Hill.

Fairfield (2-5) at Camp Hill (3-3): The Green Knights said during Y-A League media day they were confident they could compete with any team this season despite a thin roster. That will be tested Week One with a matchup against Camp Hill. Although the Lions posted an average 3-3 record in 2020, they return senior quarterback Dan Shuster, who threw for 1,714 yards and 15 touchdowns last year.

Lancaster Catholic (2-6) at York Catholic (6-2): The Fighting Irish return junior quarterback LeVan McFadden after a breakout sophomore season where he was a Y-A D-II all-star. York Catholic needs to find out which players at the skill positions will replace its all-star running back and wide receiver lost to graduation. Lancaster Catholic offers a solid chance to do that with a home game against a team that went 2-6 in 2020.

Littlestown (4-3) at Boiling Springs (4-2): Littlestown bounced back from a slow start to finish with a winning record last season. The Bolts will likely have their hands full with the Bubblers, who return a ton of talent after a 4-2 season in 2020. Both teams return senior starting quarterbacks, so Week One will be a true test for Littlestown to see if it can compete for a Y-A League Division III title.

Hamburg (2-3) at York Tech (1-6): Saturday’s game will be a combination of sadness and excitement for the Spartans. York Tech opens its season shortly after the shocking death of senior captain Ronald Lake. The game will be an emotional afternoon for the Spartans as they try to keep the momentum going after getting their first win in three years last season.

CROSS-DIVISION 

West York (2-4) at Dover (1-5): The Eagles said during Y-A League media day that they were initially intimidated by the powerhouse programs in Y-A League D-I after changing divisions in 2020. That won’t be the case in Week One when they face a Bulldogs team they should still be familiar with from their days in D-II. West York looks to find the form that got the team off to a 2-0 start in 2020 with a healthier roster.

Bermudian Springs (4-3) at New Oxford (6-1): The Colonials handled the move down to Y-A League D-II well in 2020 and went undefeated in the division last season. New Oxford, however, needs to replace nearly every starter on offense this year and Bermudian isn’t an easy first opponent to do that against. The Eagles posted a winning record in 2020, but also need to fill key holes on offense, including quarterback, running back and wide receiver.

Gettysburg (4-2) at Northeastern (1-6): The Warriors are one of the favorites to win Y-A League D-II with several returning starters. The Bobcats on the other hand, enter off a season that was a struggle and need to find an identity two years removed from a playoff appearance. In this contest, the smaller school might be a favorite.

Hanover (2-5) at Susquehannock (0-6): The Warriors come off a winless season against only Y-A League D-II opponents in 2020, but they open the season against a smaller local school. The Nighthawks have hopes of taking a step forward after a two-win season and have the quarterback to do it. Junior Chase Roberts returns for his third season as the starter and Hanover is confident it has the weapons to win more games this year.

Reach Rob Rose at rrose@yorkdispatch.com.