Goff leads Central York to 43-38 win over York High for Division I title
The Panthers completed their fourth consecutive season with an unbeaten division record.
The motto for Central York football on Friday night was simply this — In Juelz We Trust.
Juelz Goff, the Panthers' top running back, entered the night with over 1,300 yards on the ground. But the senior was thrust into a slightly different role for his team’s big clash with York High at Small Athletic Field. With quarterback Nasir Still unavailable for the huge York-Adams League Division I showdown, Goff was forced into the Wildcat formation throughout the evening.
Goff took nearly every snap, and he followed his blockers for big gains all night. The CY speedster proved his might on the contest’s first play, a 65-yard touchdown run a mere 17 seconds into action. Time and time again throughout the contest, it was the same.
After scoring three touchdowns in the first half, Goff finished off the biggest drive of his team’s season late in the fourth quarter with his fourth of the night, a touchdown that proved to be the difference in Central’s 43-38 triumph over the Bearcats.
For the fourth season in a row, the Panthers completed their run through the Division I season unbeaten, improving to 9-1 overall and 6-0 in the division to claim the title.
“It was something we had to do out of necessity,” Central York coach Gerry Yonchiuk said of his use of Goff. “He’s a special player. Why not put the ball in the (hands of the) best player? Just like they did with (York High star running back Jahiem White) on the field for them, we did the same.”
When asked why Still, who has rushed for nearly 500 yards and thrown for nearly 1,200, wasn’t in the lineup, Yonchiuk had a short response.
“He wasn’t allowed to go,” Yonchiuk said. “That’s all I’m allowed to say.”
Without Still, Goff was saddled with carrying the offense but finished with 36 carries for 225 yards and four touchdowns in the victory.
He set the tone early, carrying the ball on 15 of his team’s 16 plays in the first quarter and tallying 152 yards with three touchdowns to help the Panthers race out to an early 22-8 lead.
“Coach said that we were going to have to make the adjustment knowing that we weren’t going to have our quarterback,” Goff said. “And I was up for the task. They asked me to do something, and I went out and I did it.”
Central scored on all five of its full drives in the first half, with Parker Hines' 77-yard run and Nigier Dewitt's 8-yard score capping off second quarter drives. The Panthers only attempted one pass all night, a 30-yard connection from DeWitt to Hines late in the first half.
“The best thing that could have happened for them was Still not being able to play,” York High coach Russ Stoner joked.
Bearcats stay in it: Needing stops defensively to get back into the game, the Bearcats finally provided their potent offense (298 total yards) with a chance to make up ground in the third quarter. York High forced a pair of punts on Central's first two possessions of the second half — the only two times all night the Panthers did not score a touchdown on drives, not including kneeldowns to end both halves.
Both of those stops resulted in the Bearcats (6-3 overall, 5-1 Div I) executing a pair of touchdown drives with White (18 carries, 108 yards, two touchdowns rushing and five catches, 49 yards, one touchdown) finding the endzone each time.
White’s second score — a 1-yard run — came with 9:34 left in the contest, clawing the Bearcats to within four points (36-32).
“I honestly think we outplayed them,” Stoner said. “But you can’t come out and spot them 21 points.”
It is hard to stop a great offense three straight times, and the Panthers proved that on their most important drive of the season to date. CY drove 65 yards over 14 plays — all runs by Goff — that ended with a score, but also drained 8:25 off the game clock.
“We just had to get it done,” Goff said. “We had to finish it.”
'We couldn't stop 'em': York High did force a couple of third downs on the drive, but each time, Goff was able to move the chains with clutch runs.
“We had a chance with four and half minutes left in the game,” Stoner said. “But we couldn’t stop ‘em.”
Trailing by 11, the Bearcats didn’t throw in the towel. The home team drove 70 yards for a touchdown drive that only needed 49 seconds, with Sam Stoner (14-for-26, 131 yards, two TDs) hitting David Warde for a 20-yard strike with 20 seconds left. But needing an recovery on the ensuing kickoff, the Bearcats were unable to get one, which allowed Central York and Goff to close out the victory.
Impressive run: Yonchiuk told his team after the game that he was very proud of what they did, including the seniors, who completed their entire high school careers without losing a Division I contest. This year’s senior class — which includes Goff, Hines, DeWitt and others — didn’t want to be the class that saw the program’s impressive streak come to an end.
“We’ve kind of had a chip on our shoulder ever since the summer, ever since we started working,” Goff said. “With 7-on-7s and practice … we’ve just been working as a team more so than everybody focusing on one person. We just worked together and that’s how we built our chemistry.”