Central York overcomes slow start to beat Cumberland Valley, 21-3

Rob Rose
York Dispatch
Cumberland Valley's Caiden Pines, works to pull down Central York's Beau Pribula during football action at Cumberland Valley High School in Silver Spring Township, Friday, Sept. 3, 2021. Central York would win the game 21-3. Dawn J. Sagert photo

It's rare that a game is decided by one or two plays, but that was the case on Friday night.

Early in the fourth quarter, Cumberland Valley lined up for a fourth-and-goal play on Central York's 1-yard line with a chance to take the lead. The Eagles needed just one yard, but were denied by the Panthers' defense.

Before the next play, Central York head coach Gerry Yonchiuk guaranteed his players they were going to score six points.

“I said: ‘We’re going for a 99-yard touchdown right here,’” Yonchiuk said. “I told our guys: ‘We’re going to score.’”

Central York vs Cumberland Valley during football action at Cumberland Valley High School in Silver Spring Township, Friday, Sept. 3, 2021. Central York would win the game 21-3. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Senior quarterback Beau Pribula and junior wide receiver Parker Hines made Yonchiuk look like a genius when they combined for a 99-yard touchdown pass to increase their advantage and lead Central York (2-0) to a 21-3 win.

Pribula added another touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Treyshawn Smith late in the fourth quarter to seal the victory. Junior running back Ajani Walker put the Panthers on the board first with a 25-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.

It took three quarters for the Central York offense to get going in this game. Pribula said the Cumberland Valley coaching staff, which includes former Panthers head coach Josh Oswalt and two defensive assistants, did a good job of putting him under pressure.

The Penn State football commit was held in check for most of the game and finished the contest 8 of 14 for 163 passing yards with two touchdowns and a pair of interceptions. He added 11 carries for 103 yards.

Central York's Beau Pribula, left, is pushed into the sideline by Cumberland Valley's Seth Tichenor during football action at Cumberland Valley High School in Silver Spring Township, Friday, Sept. 3, 2021. Central York would win the game 21-3. Dawn J. Sagert photo

“It’s not so much us vs. them in this game, it was us vs. ourselves, at least offensively,” Pribula said. “We knew we just had to play better, we just had to limit our mistakes and we did a little bit of a better job in the second half and we scored more points.”

Hines led the Panthers pass catchers with 99 yards on that one big catch. Smith added four catches for 49 yards and a touchdown. Walker was the top rusher seven carries for 65 yards and a score.

Central York's Ajani Walker, front, celebrates a touchdown during football action at Cumberland Valley High School in Silver Spring Township, Friday, Sept. 3, 2021. Central York would win the game 21-3. Dawn J. Sagert photo

While the offense figured out how to make something happen, the Central York defense remained dominant all game. Despite being put in tough spots by three turnovers, the Panthers shut down the Eagles.

Seniors Carter Glassmyer and Trenton Dunnick led the unit that held Cumberland Valley to three points and forced the turnover on downs that swung the game early in the fourth quarter. Dunnick also had an interception in the red zone on a fourth-down play just before halftime.

Oswalt added that while it wasn't weird going against players such as Pribula, Dunnick and Glassmyer that he coached while at Central, it was difficult.

“It was just a challenge,” Oswalt said. “It was kind of nice on that side to see how they’ve grown up and flourished and really stepped into their own as athletes. That one game a year you’re not rooting for them, but they did some impressive things tonight that they should be proud of.”

Cumberland Valley Head Coach Josh Oswalt during football action at Cumberland Valley High School in Silver Spring Township, Friday, Sept. 3, 2021. Central York would win the game 21-3. Dawn J. Sagert photo

As the Panthers walked into the locker room up 7-3, the Cumberland Valley student section showered them with an "overrated" chant. Yonchiuk said that looking at the first half, he agreed with them, but he was happy with the adjustments the players made to end up with a comfortable win.

Pribula was also pleased with how the Panthers played. With a team replacing 20 seniors after it reached the state title for the first time in school history, a 2-0 start vs. a pair of teams that often compete in the District 3 playoffs is something to be happy about.

“These guys, I couldn’t be any more proud of them,” Pribula said. “The way they respond and how young they are, it’s amazing and I’m so glad they have my back. I know they’re going to put 100% on the line every time and that’s why I love these guys so much.”

Reach Rob Rose at rrose@yorkdispatch.com.