Spring Grove, York High set for much-anticipated York-Adams Division I football showdown

  • Spring Grove travels to York High on Friday night in a York-Adams Division I football game.
  • Spring Grove enters the contest at 4-0, while York High comes in at 3-1.
  • The game will feature the top two running backs in the York-Adams League.
York High sophomore running back Jahiem White stiff arms a Spring Grove defender last season. White ran for 120 yards in the 21-7 victory, scored a two-point conversion and threw a 68-yard touchdown pass.

When York High and Spring Grove met last season, the Rockets came into the game as a young team looking to show it had improved after coming off a string of losing seasons.

This season, Spring Grove is off to a 4-0 start and has its sights set on competing with the top teams in York-Adams League Division I.

The Rockets will get a chance to do just that on Friday night with a road trip to Small Field to face the 3-1 Bearcats and their high-scoring offense in a much-anticipated battle.

Spring Grove hasn’t allowed more than 20 points in any of its first four games. Matching that feat will be difficult to do on Friday. After scoring just one touchdown in Week 1 against a powerhouse Gov. Mifflin outfit, York High has averaged 53 points per game in the last three contests, and Bearcats head coach Russ Stoner doesn’t expect the scoring to slow down anytime soon.

“We are just growing up offensively,” Stoner said. “(They have) lots of young guys up front learning how to play. Obviously, Gov. Mifflin (ranked No. 1 in the state in 5-A) is just a different beast.”

York High Head Coach Russell Stoner during football action against Governor Mifflin at Smalls Athletic Field in York City, Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021. Governor Mifflin would win the game 55-6. Dawn J. Sagert photo

While the Rockets’ defense will be tasked with trying to slow down the Bearcats’ offense, Spring Grove’s offense is going to have to show up to walk away with the win. In their Y-A League opener, the Rockets erupted for 60 points vs. Northeastern, led by senior running back Zyree Brooks.

Stoner impressed with Rockets: Stoner said he was impressed but not shocked that Spring Grove has been able to get off to a 4-0 start despite losing junior quarterback Andrew Osmun to an injury in the season opener. Osmun is attracting NCAA Division I attention.

Dallastown's Nate Ward, left, works to force Spring Grove's Andrew Osmun into the sideline during football action at Papermaker Stadium in Jackson Township, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. Spring Grove would win the game 41-26. Dawn J. Sagert photo

With several all-star seniors on the roster, such as Brooks, his brother and fellow running back, Tyree Brooks, and linebacker Darien Osmun, Stoner knew the talented Rockets would be strong. He added that he believes there’s a good chance Andrew Osmun will return from his rib injury for Friday's showdown.

“I’m not surprised with that one bit. They have a tremendous group of seniors to count on,” Stoner said. “Spending some time with Andrew in the offseason, I’m sure he has done a great job of keeping his team focused. We expect to see him (Friday) night.”

The 2020 meeting: In the 2020 meeting between the teams, a game won by York High 21-7, York's Sam Stoner proved to be the better passer compared to Andew Osmun. Sam Stoner tossed two touchdowns, while Andrew Osmun completed two passes and had one touchdown and an interception. Sam Stoner is having a standout junior season for the Bearcats, leading the league with 1,044 passing yards. He's thrown 13 touchdowns with two interceptions.

York HIgh quarterback Sam Stoner is off to a strong start to the 2021 season.

In the battle of the running backs in 2020, Zyree Brooks had 91 rushing yards while York High junior Jahiem White racked up 120 yards and threw a touchdown on a halfback pass. Both rushers are a year older and each expects to be the best running back in the league when the year ends.

Brooks leads the league this season with 740 rushing yards, while White is No. 2 at 601 yards. Both are averaging more than 10 yards per carry.

Spring Grove's Zyree Brooks runs the ball for a touchdown during football action against Northeastern at Spring Grove Area High School in Jackson Township, Friday, Sept. 17, 2021. Spring Grove would win the game 60-14. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Rockets looking to make a statement: Friday will show whether there is still a large gap between York High and Central York and the rest of Division I, or if Spring Grove is set to climb from the bottom of the standings to compete for a title.

For Russ Stoner, who spent time coaching at Spring Grove, it’s great to see the Rockets reach this level and create a contest the York County community is interested to watch.

“I’m happy for Spring Grove,” Russ Stoner said. “I’m happy for our league in general.”

District implications: The Bearcats-Rockets game will have implications for the District 3 power ratings.

Spring Grove is No. 1 in Class 5-A, just ahead of Gov. Mifflin, while York High is No. 4 in 6-A.

Central York (3-0) is No. 1 in 6-A and York Catholic (3-0) is No. 1 in 2-A.

Reach Rob Rose at rrose@yorkdispatch.com.