Central York, after slow start, sprints past Spring Grove in second half to stay unbeaten

  • Central York captured a 48-17 victory over Spring Grove on Friday.
  • Central QB Beau Pribula was 18 for 22 for 294 passing yards, with four touchdowns.
  • Spring Grove's Zyree Brooks rushed for 205 yards on 30 carries in a losing cause.
Central York sophomore running back Juelz Goff, center, carries the ball against a trio of Spring Grove defenders on Friday. Central York won the game, 48-17.

Since Beau Pribula took over at quarterback for Central York, it hasn't been a matter of "if" the Panthers would win during York-Adams Division I action, but just by how much.

The Panthers are undefeated against D-I teams since 2019, and the start to this season was no different — until Friday night.

After a pair of 60-point performances following a forfeit win vs. Red Lion, Central York found itself in the unfamiliar position of losing on Friday. Spring Grove took the ball to start the game and showed it wasn’t intimidated by the division’s dominant team.

The Rockets traded touchdowns with the Panthers into the second quarter, trailed by 10 at halftime and hung around early in the second half before Central York took control of the game and cruised to a 48-17 victory.

Central improved to 7-0 overall and 4-0 in York-Adams Division I. Spring Grove fell to 5-1 and 2-1.

Central York senior quarterback Beau Pribula runs the ball against Spring Grove on Friday. Pribula threw for 294 yards and four touchdowns in the 48-17 win.

Pribula was proud of his Panthers’ teammates after they battled through a slow start. He said the win was one his team could build on after playing past halftime for the first time in a month.

“We don't really get better out of just blowing somebody out and not playing a full game,” Pribula said. “For conditioning and just the physical aspect, but also sometimes you make mistakes in these games and they result in touchdowns and stuff, and that's not really what we want. But when we play good football teams like this that give us some tests, it's only going to make us better.”

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Pribula and the Central offense shine, as usual: While the defense had to work through some challenges, Pribula and the Panthers’ offense were prolific, as usual.

The senior quarterback had as many touchdowns as incompletions, with an 18-for-22 night for 294 passing yards and four touchdowns.

The Penn State recruit did most of his damage before halftime. Two big plays by fellow seniors on defense and special teams in the third quarter created enough separation between the squads that he wasn't needed on the field any longer.

TreyShawn Smith intercepted a pass from Spring Grove quarterback Cowan Ruhland and returned it 62 yards for a score. On the following drive, Imeire Manigault returned a punt 55 yards for a touchdown and effectively ended the game.

With the talent on Central York’s team, head coach Gerry Yonchiuk admitted it almost feels inevitable that at some point the Panthers will pull away from opponents, with big plays from guys such as Smith, Manigault, Pribula and junior wide receiver Parker Hines.

“You hope they’re not waiting on that to occur, but you kind of expect that it may, just because of how skillful these guys are,” Yonchiuk said.

Manigault had 148 receiving yards and a touchdown on five catches. Hines caught eight passes for 110 yards with one touchdown and Smith secured two touchdowns on three catches. Junior running back Ajani Walker added a rushing touchdown.

Rockets missing standout player: Beating Central York became an even bigger challenge for Spring Grove because it was without one of its top players after an alleged assault during the Rockets’ last game.

Football star who allegedly struck referee 'accepts responsibility for his conduct': Attorney

Wednesday, Northern York County Regional Police charged Spring Grove senior Tyree Brooks with one felony — attempted aggravated assault — and misdemeanor counts of simple assault and assaulting a sports official.

According to the criminal complaint, filed by an officer who was at the game on Oct. 1 vs. Dover, Brooks struck a referee who had previously ejected him from the game for unsportsmanlike conduct. The ref told the officer the punch left him "knocked out" and unable to remember the encounter.

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Brooks was arraigned on the charges Wednesday. He has a preliminary hearing in Spring Grove magisterial district court scheduled for Nov. 5.

Spring Grove head coach Kyle Sprenkle said he could not comment on Brooks’ status on the Spring Grove team postgame, but was proud of the effort his team showed despite the uncertainty around their squad while going against the reigning division champs.

Spring Grove head football coach Kyle Sprenkle is shown here during the Rockets' game vs. 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

“We focused on the team and I think that showed tonight,” Sprenkle said. “I think our focus was taking care of our team first and then we focused on preparing for Central (York).”

Spring Grove senior running back Zyree Brooks, right, runs away from a tackle vs. Central York on Friday. Brooks had 205 rushing yards and a touchdown in the 48-17 loss.

Brooks’ brother and half of the Rockets’ running back duo, Zyree Brooks, had a big night. The senior rushed for 205 yards on 30 carries, including a 62-yard score in the second quarter that put Spring Grove ahead as the teams battled early.

Senior Darien Osmun scored Spring Grove’s second touchdown on a 30-yard toss by Ruhland.

Pribula thinks Central has room to grow: With another big win and undefeated start to the season, Pribula was impressed with how the team played, but believed they have more room to grow as the talent level of the teams they play continues to increase as they get closer to the postseason.

“I think we're at a pretty good spot,” Pribula said. “We're going to face some really good teams moving forward and there's always room to get better. Really, I think we can get a lot better on both sides of the ball and we're gonna have to start facing these tough teams because really, the playoffs start now. We're gonna play Dallastown (and) York High and then it’s playoffs, so we really got to get better and start focusing. I think that guys really bought into that.”

Reach Rob Rose at rrose@yorkdispatch.com.