Beau Pribula, Central York set for 'brother-vs.-brother matchup' vs. Cumberland Valley

ROB ROSE
717-505-5418/@robrosesports
  • Central York travels to Cumberland Valley on Friday night for nonleague football game.
  • Cumberland Valley is coached by Josh Oswalt, the former head coach at Central York.
  • Central York quarterback Beau Pribula started as a sophomore under Oswalt in 2019.

The old saying goes: Keep your friends close but keep your enemies closer.

That's a pretty accurate description of the situation between the Central York and Cumberland Valley football teams this week ahead of Friday's 7 p.m. nonleague showdown.

Central York's Beau Pribula breaks away from Central Dauphin's Tyrell English during District 3, Class 6A semifinal action at George Ebersole Stadium in Harrisburg, Friday, Oct. 30, 2020. Central York would win the game 42-15. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Central York's former head coach, Josh Oswalt, is now the leader of the Eagles, but some of his Cumberland Valley assistant coaches still walk the halls among the Panthers. Only a door separates the Central York offensive coordinator and the Cumberland Valley defensive coordinator. Panthers' head coach Gerry Yonchiuk said things have been cordial this week, but all doors have been closed during meetings.

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“It’s kind of crazy,” Central York quarterback Beau Pribula said. “We all know each other really well. It’s kind of like a brother-vs.-brother matchup. We know each other really well and we want to beat each other really bad, so I bet it’s going to be really fun.”

Josh Oswalt reflects on his decision to leave Central York for Cumberland Valley

Central York defensive coordinator Mike Cesarano played at Cumberland Valley with Oswalt and coached with him at Central York. Cesarano said it shouldn't be, but the game is one that has extra meaning to him and has been circled on his calendar.

He added that having the Eagles' coaches at Central York has given them the advantage of seeing which players picked up injuries and might not be available this week. Cesarano said he yelled to one of the CV assistants talking to a CY player in a walking boot that the boot would be off on Wednesday and the player would be on the field Friday at Cumberland Valley.

“You can’t hide anything from those guys, they see it,” Cesarano said.

Yonchiuk added that he knows the players respect Oswalt and want to prove to their former coach they can play, since most of them were too young to earn significant playing time before he left after the 2019 season.

Central York Head Coach Gerry Yonchiuk during PIAA Class 6-A quarterfinal action against Delaware Valley at Delaware Valley High School in Milford, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020. Central York would win the game 49-27. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Beau Pribula has grown as a QB: The one player who worked with Oswalt the most was Pribula. He played wide receiver as a freshman, while his older brother Cade was the Panthers' senior quarterback. Beau Pribula led the Panthers to the District 3 playoffs as a sophomore under Oswalt.

Beau Pribula's first loss as a quarterback came at Cumberland Valley in 2019. The Panthers lost, 13-12, and as a sophomore, Pribula struggled. He had three interceptions and three fumbles in the game, but made several big plays that showcased his skills.

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Yonchiuk said the senior quarterback's ability to break down what opposing defenses are doing impresses him more each day and has allowed him to remove almost all costly turnovers from his game.

“I think a lot of it is normal growth for a quarterback from 10th, to 11th, to 12th grade, but Beau is special in the fact that he wants to excel at everything he does,” Yonchiuk said. “He’s learned the game even so much more over these last 15, 16 months where he just studies it.”

Josh Oswalt is shown here during his days leading the Central York football program.

Improved study habits: The Penn State recruit added that a lot of his improvement can be attributed to his pregame studying of his opposition.

With so much time spent doing virtual practices and studying a new playbook ahead of his junior season, Beau Pribula spent much more time learning about other teams' tendencies, and it paid off.

“Last year I really started taking my preparation seriously,” Beau Pribula said. “I did it for a game and I realized, 'wow the game slows down so much when you actually prepare and know exactly what the defense is doing.' My sophomore year, I probably didn’t do anything, and now I have a page full of notes on Cumberland Valley, so it’s just the little things that help a lot on Friday nights and make the game a lot easier.”

The 2019 loss to Cumberland Valley still stings: Pribula has lost only three games in his two-plus seasons leading Central York, but the first one against CV still bothers him.

Central York High School starting quarterback Beau Pribula running drills during summer workout camp, Tuesday, July 22, 2020
John A. Pavoncello photo

After reaching the PIAA title game last season, Central York proved it could play with any team in Pennsylvania. This week, Pribula and the Panthers will look to show how much he and the team have grown from that game two years ago. They want to prove it against the coach that they learned under for years.

“I’ve learned a lot from that moment,” Pribula said. “That’s one I wish I could have back from my sophomore year, but I’ve learned a lot. (After) last year’s state playoff run, I’ve really learned to take it game by game and take what they give you and not try to make the play that you don’t have to.”

Reach Rob Rose at rrose@yorkdispatch.com.