FOOTBALL

York-Adams League Week 9 football preview: Capsules for each game

Thomas Kendziora
York Dispatch
Spring Grove against Red Lion during their homecoming football game in Spring Grove on Friday, Oct. 7, 2022.

Only two weeks remain in Pennsylvania’s high school football regular season. Homecoming games have largely given way to senior nights. York-Adams League divisional pictures have crystallized, and the drama now lies in the PIAA power rankings.

As teams jockey for playoff spots and seeds, one win or one loss can make a massive difference. Just take Dallastown, which dropped from ninth in the District 3 Class 6A rankings down to 13th after a 28-25 loss to Dover. One result was enough to push the Wildcats’ season to the brink.

With two games left, several teams are safely in, others are firmly out, and a few teams are still on the bubble in their respective classes. Here’s a look at where things stand after last weekend.

Class 6A (19 teams, 8 spots): Central York jumped from fourth to second with its win at Red Lion. York High, meanwhile, dropped from sixth to seventh after narrowly beating Spring Grove. Dallastown is 13th, Red Lion is 16th and York Tech is 19th.

Class 5A (26 teams, 12 spots): New Oxford moved up from fifth to fourth, South Western held steady in sixth, Dover climbed two spots to No. 8 and Spring Grove dropped two spots to No. 10. Northeastern is 25th.

Class 4A (23 teams, 10 spots): Kennard-Dale climbed from No. 9 to No. 8 despite losing in OT against York Suburban, which moved up a spot into 10th. Susquehannock moved from 13th to 11th and is knocking on the door. Eastern York is now 18th and West York is 19th.

Class 3A (14 teams, 6 spots): With six teams at 6-2 or better, time might be running out for 4-4 Littlestown (9th) and Biglerville (10th). Bermudian Springs dropped from ninth to 11th, while Hanover remained 13th.

Class 2A (7 teams, 4 spots): Delone Catholic moved from fourth to third with its fifth straight win. Four teams are 5-3, which means fifth-place York Catholic (3-5) needs two victories and some help down the stretch.

Class 1A (3 teams, 2 spots): Fairfield is firmly in second after a win last week, and a 6-1 Steel-High team likely awaits the Green Knights in two weeks.

In the more immediate future, the local Week 9 slate features 12 games in total, with the first-place squads in Divisions I and II both playing out of league. Ten games kick off at 7 p.m. Friday, with Bermudian Springs-York Tech following on Saturday afternoon and New Oxford welcoming Fort Hill (Maryland) on Saturday evening.

DIVISION I

York High vs. Dallastown during football action at Smalls Athletic Field in York City, Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022. York High would win the game 66-49. Dawn J. Sagert/The York Dispatch

South Western (6-2, 2-2) at York High (5-2, 4-0): The Bearcats know rival Central York is waiting in the wings next week, but they can’t afford to overlook South Western. The Mustangs, winners of three straight, have allowed just 13.5 points per game this season. Something has to give when that unit faces a York High offense averaging 45.1 points per contest. Bearcats running back Jahiem White has amassed 649 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns (plus a pick-six on defense) in his last two outings alone.

Spring Grove (5-3, 2-2) at Dallastown (3-5, 2-2): The current D-I standings include two unbeatens, two winless teams and three squads at .500, including this pair. Spring Grove has found success keeping the ball almost entirely on the ground; in last week’s 40-37 loss to York High, the Rockets attempted four passes and ran 61 times. Dallastown is on the other end of the spectrum, with QB Owen Strouse among the York-Adams League’s leading passers and WR Kenny Johnson a threat at all times.

Northeastern (1-7, 0-5) at Red Lion (2-6, 0-4): It’s homecoming for the Lions, who are eager to snap a six-game skid after starting this season 2-0. It’s also Northeastern’s final chance at a Division I win. Red Lion has stayed within reach of Spring Grove and Central York into at least halftime in its last two contests.

DIVISION II

Dover celebrates a touchdown by Thomas Smyser during football action against Eastern York at Dover Area High School in Dover Township, Friday, Oct. 7, 2022. Dover would win the game  35-7. Dawn J. Sagert/The York Dispatch

Dover (6-2, 3-1) at Kennard-Dale (3-5, 2-2): The Eagles take a four-game winning streak into this matchup, while the Rams will look to avoid a third straight loss. Kennard-Dale will need a strong effort from its defense − which allows the third-fewest yards but the sixth-most points among Y-A teams − against Dover and dual-threat QB Aric Campbell.

Eastern York (2-6, 1-3) at York Suburban (4-4, 2-3): The host Trojans have a chance to close district play with three straight wins after starting with a trio of losses. You can bet they’ll lean heavily on Mikey Bentivegna, whose four total touchdowns and game-winning two-point conversion lifted them past Kennard-Dale, 29-28, last Friday. Eastern York looks to rebound from a 40-28 loss against Susquehannock.

Susquehannock (3-5, 1-3) at West York (1-7, 1-3): While the Bulldogs are out of the playoff hunt, they’ll have chances this week and next to play spoiler on their home turf. The Warriors, who had averaged 9 points per game before erupting for 40 last week, are only one spot outside of the playoff picture but likely need to win out.

DIVISION III

Littlestown (4-4, 4-1) at Biglerville (4-4, 2-3): The Thunderbolts kept their Class 3A playoff hopes alive with a dramatic win over York Catholic last weekend, but they still need to run the table and get some help if their season is to reach November. Biglerville, meanwhile, can secure at least a .500 record for the season just one year after going winless. It’ll be a contrast of styles, with QB Alex Popoff spreading the ball around for Littlestown and RB Seth Lady leading the Canners’ ground attack.

Hanover (2-6, 1-4) at Delone Catholic (5-3, 5-0): The Squires cemented their status atop the division by running all over Bermudian Springs for a 42-21 win last week. A top-two spot — or maybe even No. 1 — in the Class 2A power rankings is within reach if Delone Catholic can close the season strong. Hanover’s last two losses have come by a combined four points (17-14 against York Catholic, 23-22 at Biglerville).

Fairfield (2-5, 2-3) at York Catholic (3-5, 3-2): With last week’s 29-24 loss at Littlestown, the Fighting Irish saw their hunt for a division title all but disappear and their playoff chances take a massive hit. But the final home game of the season provides more than enough motivation to put four good quarters together against the Green Knights, who handled York Tech 27-7 last Friday.

Bermudian Springs (3-5, 3-2) at York Tech (1-7, 0-5): It’s a 1 p.m. Saturday kickoff for the final time at York Tech this season. The visiting Eagles saw their three-game winning streak halted by Delone Catholic last weekend but have rebounded admirably from an 0-4 start. The Spartans have dropped six straight.

NON-LEAGUE

Central York against Red Lion during their homecoming football game in Springettsbury on Friday, Oct. 14, 2022.

Reading (3-5) at Central York (7-1): The Panthers are essentially in a dead heat with Cumberland Valley — which in Week 2 handed Central York its only defeat — and could possibly vault to No. 1 in the power rankings without needing any help. But that’s all for naught if they don’t take care of business against the Red Knights, who’ve struggled to a 1-4 record in Lancaster-Lebanon Division I.

Fort Hill (6-1) at New Oxford (7-1): The Colonials welcome the Sentinels all the way from Cumberland, Maryland, for this 6 p.m. Saturday tilt. That’s about a two-hour drive for Fort Hill, which opened this season 5-0, lost its first game on Oct. 7 and rebounded with a 52-0 win last week. The Sentinels have outscored opponents 245-75 this fall; New Oxford’s margin is a similarly dominant 249-95.