Sports Q&A with York-Adams career passing leader Chase Roberts

The Hanover senior quarterback broke the record in his final high school game on Saturday.

Ryan Vandersloot
For The York Dispatch

Chase Roberts had high expectations for his Hanover football team back in the summer. Already one of the more prolific passing offenses in the York-Adams League, the Nighthawks' aerial attack figured to be even more dangerous with Roberts, a starter his previous three seasons, heading into his final campaign.

Then came the unfortunate circumstances in mid-August which saw head coach Wil Rider step away from the program. Coaching changes — even in the most planned-out of cases — can sometimes lead to discontinuity that shocks the entire squad. The Hanover program was not immune to it. A season that completed last weekend saw the Nighthawks finish with a bitterly disappointing 3-7 record overall.

Despite the turmoil, Roberts continued to do what he does best — throw the ball. Heading into the season, the Hanover senior found himself just 1,662 yards shy of former Central York star Cade Pribula’s league mark of 6,923 yards, set in 2018.

Roberts, like his team, got off to a slow start this year. He threw for under 100 yards in three of his first four contests. He was just over 1,200 yards shy of the mark with only six games left. As the season hit the midway mark, however, Roberts and the Hanover offense began to take off. Roberts threw for 276 yards in a victory over Fairfield, and he also threw his milestone 50th touchdown pass in that contest.

Even in losses to Biglerville and Delone Catholic, Roberts put up big numbers that set him up to pass Pribula in the regular-season finale. Needing 235 yards, Roberts and his close friend Joey Wilkinson put on a show in their last game together. Roberts connected with Wilkinson nine times for 317 yards and three scores to lead the Nighthawks to a 35-25 victory over York Tech while setting the league passing mark in the process.

Roberts finished his illustrious career on the gridiron in high school with 7,017 yards and 60 touchdown passes.

We caught up with Roberts to ask him about his record and other things in this edition of Sports Q&A.

Hanover's quaterback, Chase Roberts (3) at Media Day for the local high school football teams in York on August 2, 2022.

Question: When we talked at Media Day back in early August, you didn’t mention anything about setting the league’s all-time passing mark. Was that something you had on your mind heading into the season?

Roberts: “Yeah, a little bit. My dad had talked to me about it a couple weeks before the season, but at that time we were still trying to figure out who was going to be in what positions and just trying to figure out how we could win as many games as possible. The season didn’t start great, so it kind of faded out of my mind, but I definitely knew about it.”

Q: Heading into the regular-season finale, you knew you were close. What was that last week like for you and what was the game like?

Roberts: “The week wasn’t too different. I obviously watched film and I saw the defense that they were going to play and, I’m not going to lie, it brought a smile to my face. I figured that we could be in a good position and that we would have a good opportunity to do it. Then, during the game, the very first pass I threw to Joey, I kind of got out of the pocket and chucked it and he was five yards open and I went up to him and told him, ‘This is going to be all night’.

"They were kind of giving me updates on the sidelines that I was this close or that close. Then at halftime, that coaches told me I was just 35 yards away and that they were going to try to get it out of the way as soon as possible and that we could just then try to play after that. I didn’t even know which specific pass it was (that broke the record) until after I checked Twitter and saw it, but it was exciting.”

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Q: Was it true that all your yards Saturday were with Joey?

Roberts: “I actually just looked at the stats a couple hours ago and I think Joey had 317 and I finished with 319 or something like that. I know that Dylan Bull had one catch for two yards on a pop pass, but when Joey’s open, he’s open so that’s who I’m going to throw it to.”

Q: How much of an effect did the coaching change leading up to the season opener have on the you and the team as a whole?

Roberts: “I think more than what the normal outsider may think. I know that (interim coach Zac Corrick) didn’t come in and change the plays or change a whole bunch of stuff, but I think that everybody has a different style when it comes to play-calling and how to balance the offense and stuff like that, so I think actually threw us off a good amount. Obviously Zac stepped in and he had never been in a situation like that before. He didn’t call plays and he was never the guy and had to manage the whole game, and I think that was probably a big part of our early-season struggles. We were all trying to get used to what play we were going to run and when. He was trying to learn and I was trying to learn his way and stuff like that, but when you’re in a situation like that it takes time to learn.”

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Q: Have you had time to determine where you’d like to play at the next level yet?

Roberts: “I’m kind of just taking it day-by-day. I have a couple of school’s that are on my list. Susquehanna University is up there, Misericordia, Lebanon Valley, Albright, Millersville … I’m still just kind of looking around. I have my favorites and I think I’m closing in on making a decision, but I’m waiting to get acceptance letters back and all those kinds of things. I still have to take some last-minute visits just to make sure that the decision that I’m going to make for the next four years is really where and what I want to do.”

Q: Any idea if the school is going to put anything up to commemorate your milestone?

Roberts: “I’m not sure. I’ve been talking to my athletic director about it. We have stuff and banners for every sport hanging up in that gym, but we need to get something up for football. We’ll see. I’m sure they’ll do something that hangs in the school for a good amount of time.”