York-Adams League football playoff roundup: South Western drops heartbreaker to Northern York

The Mustangs lost a 21-20 heartbreaker against the Polar Bears in the opening weekend of the postseason.

Thomas Kendziora
York Dispatch

Northern York and South Western battled from the opening kickoff to the final whistle on Friday night. Neither team wanted to end their season in the first round of the PIAA District 3 Class 5A playoffs. But in a contest with razor-thin margins, a few big plays made the difference.

The No. 11-seeded Polar Bears blocked an extra point with 2:36 remaining to preserve a 21-20 lead and ultimately won by that score, sending the No. 6-seed Mustangs home heartbroken.

Northern York's Spencer Siegel (56) trying to stop Southwestern's extra point during the first round of district 3 class 5a football playoffs in Hanover on Nov.4,  2022.

Northern York (7-4) advanced to play No. 3 seed New Oxford next weekend. South Western (7-4) beat the Colonials in Week 3 of this season and would have relished another chance.

The Polar Bears took a 14-0 lead in the first half, as quarterback Timothy Bonin connected with Talon Belluscio on a 16-yard TD pass and Mason Yohn on a 49-yard strike. South Western responded with a 10-yard score from Max Wisensale to Cohen Bull, making it 14-7 at halftime. Northern went up two scores again on Magarrin Macke’s 67-yard pick-six, only for Damon Ogden Jr.’s 50-yard scamper to bring the Mustangs back within seven through three quarters.

Wisensale’s 10-yard touchdown run made it a one-point game before Northern blocked the extra point. The Mustangs forced a quick three-and-out and got the ball back with 2:15 left, but Yohn’s pass breakup sealed a turnover on downs and put the Polar Bears in victory formation. Head coach Bill Miller earned his 100th career win.

It was a Friday night of highs and lows throughout the District 3 playoffs, with two York-Adams League teams snapping postseason droughts and others entering the offseason. Here’s how it all went down.

CLASS 5A FIRST ROUND

No. 7 Dover 40, No. 10 Garden Spot 21: The Eagles held the upper hand after a wild first half, then put the clamps on the visiting Spartans in the second half to earn just the second playoff victory in school history.

More:Dover pulls away from Garden Spot for 2nd playoff win in school history

Gavin Mullins led the charge for Dover (9-2). The senior amassed 140 rushing yards, scored on an 80-yard touchdown pass and sealed the game late with an interception. Quarterback Aric Campbell threw for two touchdowns, ran for two more and completed 9 of 19 passes for 213 yards. Thomas Smyser had 84 yards receiving, while Lucas Runk added 87 yards on the ground.

The first-quarter scoring started with Dover blocking a punt and returning it for a touchdown. Garden Spot (7-4) answered with Blake Weaver’s 71-yard rushing score, and after Campbell’s 1-yard TD run, Kye Harting connected with Weaver for an 81-yard touchdown. Then came Campbell to Mullins for 80 to make it 21-14, and Garon Quillen’s 11-yard score put the Eagles up 28-21 at the break.

Runk’s 65-yard run set up Campbell’s second rushing TD, which pushed the lead to 34-21 through three quarters. And Campbell’s 26-yard dagger to Brayden Zirkle sealed the deal in the fourth, setting up the Eagles with a visit to No. 2 seed Exeter Township next weekend.

CLASS 4A FIRST ROUND

No. 7 York Suburban 41, No. 10 Donegal 6: Mikey Bentivegna has had a senior season littered with standout performances, but this game will forever stand out.

The Trojans’ star running back rushed for a school-record 382 yards and a jaw-dropping six touchdowns on only 13 carries. Five of his scores came in the first half, and the sixth gave York Suburban a 41-0 lead with 11:06 left in the third quarter. He had touchdown runs of 78, 80, 51, 11, 61 and 63 yards to lead the Trojans (7-4) to their first playoff victory since 1986.

More:South Western against Northern York during the first round of football playoffs

York Suburban beat Donegal (4-7) for the second time this season, also defeating the Indians 41-18 in Week 2. This matchup was scoreless until Bentivegna’s first breakaway with 2:51 left in the first period and had a running clock by the early third. Donegal scored with 3:37 remaining to avoid a shutout.

Bentivegna and the Trojans will visit No. 2-seed Manheim Central next weekend.

No. 8 East Pennsboro 43, No. 9 Kennard-Dale 0: The Rams entered on the heels of a rivalry win over Susquehannock, while the Panthers lost their final five games of the regular season. But East Pennsboro limited Kennard-Dale’s offense to 92 yards on 43 plays and dominated this game.

The Panthers (5-6) led 23-0 at halftime — with all points in the second quarter — thanks to a pair of touchdown passes from QB Keith Oates, and they kept rolling on the ground in the second half. Josh Angelo and Jason Gossard each scored twice for the hosts. The Rams (4-7) threw two interceptions and lost a fumble in the shutout loss.

East Pennsboro visits top-seeded Bishop McDevitt next Friday.

CLASS 2A SEMIFINALS

No. 3 Trinity 56, No. 2 Delone Catholic 17: It was a disheartening finish to the season for the Squires, who had rebounded from an 0-3 start to go 7-0 in York-Adams Division III. Against a Shamrocks squad that had already won 35-7 in a Week 2 meeting, Delone couldn’t flip the script.

The Squires (7-4) were without QB Denver Ostrum due to PIAA transfer rules (the junior was at South Western last year) and shifted playmaker Ryder Noel under center. The hosts knew they couldn’t fall too far behind, but Trinity (7-4) dominated from the jump. Freshman Messiah Mickens ran for a 60-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage and the Shamrocks took a 28-3 lead into halftime.

Mickens tallied 143 yards and four touchdowns on the ground, while QB Caleb Wray passed for three scores. After Trinity took a 49-3 lead in the third quarter, Delone found the end zone on Noel’s 11-yard pass to Landon Smith and Brady Dettinburn’s 80-yard touchdown run in the fourth.

The Shamrocks will visit top-seeded Annville-Cleona for the District 3 Class 2A title next weekend.

CLASS 1A CHAMPIONSHIP

No. 1 Steel-High 62, No. 2 Fairfield 6: The Rollers are regarded as one of the top 1A teams in the whole state, and they had no problem with the Green Knights, who by winning just two games in the regular season did enough to rank second of the class' three teams in District 3 (Halifax went 0-9). Steel-High led 62-0 at halftime and cruised to its third consecutive district title. The Rollers (9-1) will battle Belmont Charter next weekend, while Fairfield finishes the season at 2-8.