York High football team pumped up for test vs. talented Gov. Mifflin program in Week One

ROB ROSE
717-505-5418/@robrosesports
  • York High plays host to Gov. Mifflin at Small Field at 7 p.m. Friday.
  • Both teams feature star running backs: York High's Jahiem White and Mifflin's Nicholas Singleton.
  • Singleton has already committed to Penn State. White has offers from Bowling Green and Old Dominion.
York High's Jahiem White.
York High head coach Russ Stoner addresses the team after the first day of football practice at Small Field Monday, Aug. 9, 2021. Bill Kalina photo

York High wants to be considered one of the top football programs in District 3, and the Bearcats aren’t waiting for the playoffs to prove it.

Friday night at Small Field, the Bearcats will host Gov. Mifflin, which is fresh off a four-point loss in the PIAA Class 5-A semifinals to eventual state champion Pine-Richland last fall. The Mustangs' 2021 roster features a star player committed to Penn State.

Senior running back Nicholas Singleton posted 1,311 rushing yards and scored 22 touchdowns in 2020, which earned him offers from elite programs such as Alabama, Ohio State and Notre Dame.

Although Singleton is the Mustangs’ star, York High head coach Russ Stoner said the team has the total talent to make a return trip to the PIAA playoffs.

“This is not just a one-man team for them,” Stoner said. “They have a tremendous football program and they have running backs all over the place. They have a great defense, they have a great coaching staff (and) they have a great tradition.”

Running-back showdown: Despite Stoner’s praise for the entire Gov. Mifflin program, fans and players will be looking at the showdown between the team's standout running backs.

Singleton is ranked the No. 1 running back in the 2022 recruiting class by 247Sports and a four-star recruit.

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Meanwhile, York High junior running back Jahiem White also had 1,300 rushing yards in 2020, but has no stars according to 247Sports, despite receiving NCAA D-I offers from Bowling Green and Old Dominion.

White posted a picture on Twitter ahead of the game with pictures of each running back and under Singleton’s picture it reads: No. 1 running back in the nation, “according to 247Sports.”

With a chance to showcase his skills against the top talent at his position, White has extra motivation headed into the game on Friday.

“I’m not worried about him, for real,” White said. “He’s a good player though, don’t get me wrong, he’s a good player, but we just gonna have to see who is the real dog at the end of the game.”

The Bearcats don’t want to get caught up in a White-vs.-Singleton showdown, but junior quarterback Sam Stoner said that the increased intensity White has shown during practices this week has rubbed off on his teammates.

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“The team looks at him as a temperature guy,” Sam Stoner said. “When he’s dialed in, everybody else is dialed in. When he’s messing around, other people mess around. So, with him dialed in right now everybody is at the top of their game and ready to go.”

While the fans in the stands will be looking at the pair of star running backs, both teams have aspirations to compete for their respective District 3 titles and reach the PIAA playoffs. The Bearcats are in Class 6-A.

Central York's Sam Stoner throws a pass last season vs. Central York.

York likes to schedule tough teams: The Bearcats opened the 2019 season with a showdown against a powerhouse program in Pittsburgh Central Catholic and lost, 42-7.

Without the chance to schedule nonleague games in 2020, York High has returned to scheduling the top teams from across the state in an effort to show it belongs among them going forward and has the talent to compete.

“Since 2019 we have taken big strides in the program in how we prepare and just how hard we work in preparation to get into big games like this and get in conversations with the bigger schools,” Sam Stoner said. “At the end of the day, you have to beat the best schools to be considered one of the best, so that’s what we’re trying to do — play the best and beat the best.”

Reach Rob Rose at rrose@yorkdispatch.com.