Archive for the ‘Football’ Category

High school football season starts Friday night.

Are you ready?

The York Dispatch sure is.

For complete coverage of Friday’s action, visit yorkdispatch.com.

John Walk will cover the West York-Central York rivalry. Look for his game story, and lots of photos, shortly after the conclusion of the game.

In addition, Ryan Vandersloot will man our live high school scoreboard, to keep you up to date on all of the games.

You can also check out the action on Twitter. Walk will send out Tweets from @yorksportsguy, while Vandersloot will Tweet from @yaiaascores.

It’s all on yorkdispatch.com on Friday night.

By MEL BARBER
505-5443/@ydfood

Graham Nelson, dressed as the Red Lion Area Senior High School mascot, and student-athletes recommend the burger and sauce sandwich from their concession

Graham Nelson, dressed as the Red Lion Area Senior High School mascot, and student-athletes recommend the burger and sauce sandwich from their concession stand. From left are, front row: Paige Taylor, Johnnie Tamny, Kendall Lookingbill and Heather Jackson; and, back row: Ben Warner, Kendrich Gillespie-Boyd and Judge Kunce. Watch the video at youtube.com/yorkdispatchvideo. (Hanna Byrne photo)

ENTER THE CONTEST:www.facebook.com/yorkdispatch

Friday night football is a tradition stretching far back in American consciousness. We all know the key components: the burly players, the peppy cheerleaders, the brassy band, the roaring crowd.

But from letter jackets and milkshakes at the soda fountain to Vines and gourmet meals in the stands, food has always been as much a part of the experience as huddling in a succession of ever-thickening sweaters, jackets and coats as winter creeps up on the fans.

By the time 7 p.m. rolls around and we’re scrunching down the seats to make room for one more friend, the concession stand crew has been hard at work for about six hours.

In Spring Grove Area School District, the job of overseeing the concessions goes to Tess Piety, president of the athletic boosters. Running two stands — home side and visitors side — with a volunteer crew of 10 to 12 people per side keeps her plenty busy.

“Sometimes it can be a little bit hectic and chaotic, but that’s part of the fun and fever of Friday night football,” she says. “If you hear our fans erupt, it definitely gives you a sense of excitement.”

The menu: Like the players on the field watching their win-loss record every year, concession stand crews take pride in upping their game. Folks who remember grabbing popcorn, a hot dog and maybe an ice-chest can of soda or a tiny cup of hot chocolate would be amazed at the offerings these days. You thought juggling the hot dog, the soft pretzel and the soda while navigating the crowd was tough? Bring a tray.

“We do have kind of an extensive menu. We do everything from hot dogs to soft pretzels to sausage sandwiches to hamburgers,” Piety says. “We also have a french fry vendor that comes in, which is a local businessman in Spring Grove, and this year we will also be adding Chick-fil-A.”

She’s not done.

“We’re also attempting to add a few new items to our menu,” she says. “We’ve always had pizza, but this year we might be offering some hot soups for those cold fall evenings.”

Spring Grove High School students Autumn Leese and Austin Piety talk up the school’s concession stand specialty, baked potato. Vote for your favorite

Spring Grove High School students Autumn Leese and Austin Piety talk up the school’s concession stand specialty, baked potato. Vote for your favorite at http://www.facebook.com/yorkdispatch. (Randy Flaum rflaum@ yorkdispatch.com)

Game nights aren’t just excuses to pile up the junk food and snack your way through four quarters of raucous cheering with a gang of friends anymore. The menus are practically home-cooked, four-course meals. There’s a reason for that evolution, as the concession stands cater to families with packed schedules.

“I think for some, especially for parents of players that drop their students off at the field late afternoon, early evening, they’re not worried about cooking dinner for their families, knowing they can feed them at the concession stand,” Piety says. “So I think it’s important for us that we can tailor to individual needs, whether you want a snack or to eat something hearty for dinner.”

Continuity: The pride in what they’re serving — and the knowledge that all of the money generated from concessions goes right back into supporting the athletic programs in the district, with some left over for academic programs like the Link Crew mentoring at the high school — builds a strong core of volunteers who come back year in and year out to hand off your food with a smile. Their off-the-field effort isn’t as visible as the performances from the players or the marching band, but it’s an indispensable piece of a larger whole.

William Penn Senior High School students, from left, Tristan Brown, Danara Muldrow and Imarii Dennison talk about their favorite foods. Watch the video at

William Penn Senior High School students, from left, Tristan Brown, Danara Muldrow and Imarii Dennison talk about their favorite foods. Watch the video at youtube.com/yorkdispatch video. (Randy Flaum rflaum@ yorkdispatch.com)

“We have some volunteers, like Bob Smith, who is an icon in the concession stand, and he has been a coach and a parent and a volunteer for our district for a very long time,” Piety says. “I truly think it’s the camaraderie that they’ve built with some of the volunteers over the years, and that they truly enjoy giving back to the community and the excitement of Friday night football under the lights.”

The dedication of volunteers, the donations from local businesses, and the hunger of fans for a special treat at the game keep high school concessions fueled season after season, sport after sport.

“We couldn’t do it without the support of our entire community,” Piety says.

— Reach Mel Barber at mbarber@yorkdispatch.com.

Win prizes for yourself and your school

The York Dispatch is running a contest to celebrate the York-Adams league schools and the hardworking concessions crews with prizes for the top three vote-getters. Visit The York Dispatch on Facebook to vote for your favorite school and — if you want to — share a food-related memory of Friday night football or name your favorite food from the concession stand.

Your vote could win your school a gift certificate for Weis Markets to help stock up on supplies. First place gets $100, second place gets $50 and third place gets $25.

And because we don’t want to leave out the community members who help make everything possible, three lucky voters will each receive a $20 gift certificate.

You have two weeks to cast your vote. Try it on your phone from the stands as you bite into that first soft pretzel or sausage sandwich of the season Friday.

By JOHN WALK
505-5406/@yorksportsguy

Following are capsule looks at Friday’s opening-night high school football games involving York-Adams League teams:

Bermudian Springs at New Oxford, 7 P.M.: The Colonials (6-5 last year) and Eagles (10-2 last year) enter coming off solid seasons, but are both replacing about half their starters. The only sure bets for both clubs is the running game should be solid, considering New Oxford returns its entire offensive line while bulldozer Colton Dull (1,107 rushing yards, 14 touchdowns last season) is in the backfield again for Bermudian Springs.

Biglerville at Annville-Cleona, 7 P.M.: The Canners (1-9 last season) have 17 starters returning this year, but will have to take a large step forward considering all nine losses last fall were not close except for one. Annville-Cleona (4-7 last season) should provide a solid test. The Little Dutchmen are coming off a playoff appearance and expect to keep the momentum going.

West York at Central York, 7 P.M.: The Bulldogs won four of their last five games a year ago, when a young team appeared to turn the curve following a tough start to the 2013 campaign. Now West York’s 17 returning starters will aim to pick up where they left off against the defending York-Adams League Division I champion Panthers. Longtime Central York coach Brad Livingston has to replace nearly his entire starting roster. So this will be the first peak we’ll get at the new toys he’ll employ this fall.

Lancaster Catholic at Dallastown, 7 P.M.: The Wildcats debut on their new turf field in Week 1, coming off their most successful season after having reached the District 3-AAAA semifinals for the first time last fall. Dallastown returns about half its starters, but will have to replace playmakers Andrew Henry (1,408 yards passing last season), Robert Catchings (1,452 rushing yards) and Malik Lewis (834 yards receiving). Lancaster Catholic always provides a challenge, and this season will be no different. The Crusaders have six starters back on both sides of the ball. Their main concern is at quarterback, but coaching guru and offensive coordinator Jim Cantafio usually finds a solution there.

Delone Catholic at Trinity, 7 P.M.: Fifteen starters return looking to get the Squires back on track following an uncharacteristic losing campaign in 2013 (4-6). Behind three returning offensive linemen, look for senior running back Jake Kadis (203 rushing yards) to get his first chance at being Delone Catholic’s feature back against a Trinity club with 12 returning starters that are also aiming to return to form following a 2-8 season, which began with a 42-28 loss to the Squires.

Dover at Shippensburg, 7 P.M.: This is more a measuring stick for Shippensburg (8-3 last fall, District 3-AAA appearance) than it is for Dover (9-3, District 3-AAA quarterfinals in 2013). The Greyhounds lost nearly every starter to graduation and will again have to stop Dover’s potent running game. Gone for the Eagles is quarterback Logan Ambrose and his 550 rushing yards. But he was fourth in line on the team in running the ball behind returners Isaiah Green (1,161 rushing yards), Dorian Ledbetter (787 rushing yards) and Jake McLean (682 rushing yards).

Eastern York at Columbia, 7 P.M.: Both clubs have holes to fill on defense. Eastern York (5-5 last season) will look to take advantage with its running game. All-Star tackle Garret Ishman plows the way up front for running backs David Livelsberger (928 rushing yards) and Jake Kessler (247 rushing yards). Columbia (3-7 last season) will rely on third-year starting quarterback Kyle Warfel (937 passing yards, seven touchdowns) and wideout Daeshawn McIlwain (25 receptions for 538 yards, six touchdowns).

Fairfield at Newport, 7 P.M.: A pair of somewhat similar teams here. Fairfield had a breakout 2013 campaign by going 6-5 and reaching the District 3-A playoffs for the first time. Newport (6-5 in 2013) made it to the District 3-AA playoffs last season for the first time in 14 years. Both clubs return about half their starters, with Fairfield strong at quarterback and Newport expected to be tough in the trenches.

Gettysburg at South Western, 7 P.M.: Another game of nearly identical teams. Both clubs should be solid on defense. Both return seven to eight starters on offense and will have a new quarterback. The Mustangs (3-7 last season) differ from the Warriors (6-5 last season) in that they’ll have to find replacements for graduated running backs Dillon Thomas (490 rushing yards) and Camden Brown (368 rushing yards).

James Buchanan at Hanover, 7 P.M.: For a James Buchanan club that’s traditionally weak, a four-win season in 2013 can be considered a breakout year. With 16 starters returning, James Buchanan is aiming for the program’s first winning season in nearly 20 years. In order to do so, it will be need a Week 1 win over a Hanover team returning only seven starters from a 1-9 showing a year ago.

Waynesboro at Kennard-Dale, 7 P.M.: A matchup of two new head coaches taking over struggling programs. At Kennard-Dale (1-9 last season), Patrick Weider is the new man after serving as KD’s assistant coach last fall and York High’s assistant coach the previous seven seasons. Brennan Marion, a former Tulsa standout receiver who had a brief taste of the NFL, takes over at Waynesboro, which didn’t win a game in 2013.

Boiling Springs at Littlestown, 7 P.M.: A meeting of two teams tasked with replacing nearly its entire starting lineup, with Littlestown (12-1 last season) trying to follow up on last year’s run to the District 3-AA title game and Boiling Springs feeling confident it can take a step forward after a 2-8 campaign in 2013.

York Catholic at Northeastern, 7 P.M.: This one has the potential to be a high-scoring affair considering both teams have questions on defense but are expected to be dangerous on offense. York Catholic (8-4 last season) returns All-Star quarterback Hakeem Kinard (1,688 passing yards, 1,203 rushing yards, 33 total touchdowns), who has plenty of weapons at his disposal. Northeastern (1-9 last season) brings back 17 starters, including junior quarterback Marcus Josey (1,246 passing yards, 258 rushing yards), who will be tasked with running the Bobcats’ new spread wing-T attack.

Hershey at Red Lion, 7 P.M.: With quarterback Blake Cahill (1,580 passing yards) gone to graduation, second-year Red Lion coach Jesse Shay is aiming to improve on a 4-6 record by employing a more ground-it-out approach on offense. But this side only features four returning starters, while the defense is a bit more sound with eight starters back. Hershey is in rebuild mode with a few starters back on both sides of the ball following a 6-5 campaign in 2013.

Spring Grove at Cumberland Valley, 7 P.M.: Cumberland Valley is last year’s District 3-AAAA runner-up but will have to field 17 new starters. This program is usually solid every season, though, and will get a good test against Russ Stoner’s Spring Grove outfit, which returns 14 starters back from a 6-5 ballclub. However, the Rockets have concerns of their own with Jeff Delaughter and his program-record 3,477 career rushing yards gone to graduation. Spring Grove also has to replace quarterback Seth Hildebrand (1,622 passing yards, 468 rushing yards), receiver Logan Hall (56 receptions for 937 yards, 10 touchdowns) and three All-Stars on the defensive line, including David Shaw, who is now playing at the University of Maryland.

Susquehannock at Northern York, 7 P.M.: First-year coach J.C. Lewis has four starters back on offense and defense. He’ll aim to keep the good vibes going in Glen Rock following last year’s 3-7 campaign, the most wins for the program since 2007 (6-4). Northern is similar in that it also won three games last fall and only brings back a few starters on both sides of the ball.

Red Land at York Suburban, 7 P.M.: York Suburban (5-5 last season) relies on the arm of Thomas Merkle (1,367 passing yards) on offense and will look to linebacker Sawyer Robinson (58 tackles, 2.5 sacks) to steer a defense featuring six new starters. Red Land (4-6 last season) will bank on the talents of quarterback Garrett Scott, who collected more than 700 yards through the air and 800-plus yards on the ground a year ago.

Reading at York High, 7 P.M.: This will be our first look at the offense being employed by coaching guru and Bearcats’ new offensive coordinator George Chaump, who should only improve the already dangerous James Way, last year’s Division I Player of the Year who returns at quarterback. York High (4-6 last season) will have to stop Reading receiver and Rutgers recruit Dontae Owens.

York Tech at Pequea Valley, 7 P.M.: Pair of similar teams here with very few starters back coming off three-win seasons. And both clubs will have new players on offense trying to learn how to run the triple option. Senior Nashid Bones is moving from slot receiver to Tech’s feature back this fall, tasked with trying to fill the shoes of Calvin Savary, who graduated as the program’s all-time leading runner with 3,497 career rushing yards.

— Reach John Walk at jwalk@yorkdispatch.com.

By JOHN WALK
505-5406/@yorksportsguy

A young football team with a first-year coach, Northeastern couldn’t have had a tougher start to last season on the high school gridiron.

There was the Week 1 heartbreaker, when the Bobcats squandered a two-touchdown, fourth-quarter lead, capped off by sophomore quarterback Marcus Josey fumbling away the ball and a York Catholic defender scooping it up and scurrying 75 yards the other way for the game-winning score. Columbia followed in Week 2 when, facing a fourth and long with two minutes left and down by seven points, the Tide hurled a 55-yard touchdown pass, then opted to go for a two-point conversion, beating Northeastern, 8-7. A week later, the Bobcats and Shippensburg went to overtime, when Ship scored on fourth down and won with a two-point conversion, 28-27.

“Ugh, it pulls your heartstrings,” second-year coach Jon Scepanski said Wednesday afternoon, recalling last year’s early setbacks.

There’s something to be said for gaining experience and learning from mistakes, though. And following an 0-9 start to the 2013 campaign, which included a six-point loss at Susquehannock in Week 7, the Bobcats finally put together a winning performance in Week 10 over Kennard-Dale, 35-13.

As a result, Northeastern’s 17 returning starters this season feel like they should be able to keep the momentum going and get the program back to its winning ways, like the teams in 2011 (6-5) and 2012 (7-4), and in the process be a contender in the program’s first year competing in a wide-open Division I.

“There’s a lot of talk about how much harder it’s gonna be,” Josey said about Division I. “Yeah, it’s gonna be a step up from last year but I’m not too worried about it.”

Josey, who totaled 1,246 passing yards last season as a first-year starter, has added 30 pounds to his 5-foot, 11-inch frame. The added bulk will help Josey, who also totaled 258 rushing yards in 2013, since he’ll be expected to run more in Scepanski’s new spread wing-T attack.

“We’re trying to adapt to fit our kids the best way we can,” Scepanski said. “Our line has decent size but they have speed. And in the spread wing-T we can utilize our big guys moving more than with last year’s offense.”

Speed appears to be the theme of this Northeastern ballclub. On defense, the Bobcats junked the 4-3 for a 3-5-3 setup.

“It allows us to bring backers from different angles and groupings of who’s going (blitzing) and who’s not,” Scepanski said. “Again, we’re trying to fit our kids to what best fits them.”

The new offense provides plenty of options for Northeastern to attack on the ground, taking advantage of an average sized but quick offensive line and the return of the Bobcats’ top four rushers, so we should see an improvement from a club that finished second to last in the York-Adams League in rushing last fall.

This brings us to Friday’s crossover meeting with a quick and dangerous York Catholic offense — featuring quarterback Hakeem Kinard (1,203 rushing yards, 1,688 passing yards and 33 total touchdowns last season) and wideout Qua’Shawn Grooms (39 receptions for 632 yards, seven touchdowns). The matchup could turn out to be one of the most entertaining games among the 19 total Week 1 contests featuring York-Adams League squads.

“I expect to come out with a bang,” Josey said. “I really just want to stick it to them.”

— Reach John Walk at jwalk@yorkdispatch.com.

COLUMN By STEVE HEISER
505-5446/@ydsports

PLAY HERE —> Pigskin Pickers
First-place: $100 Gift Card
Second-place: $50 Gift Card
Third-place: $25 Gift Card
PLUS
Weekly winners: $10 Gift Card

Sometimes, picking high school football games isn’t all that hard.

Often times in the York-Adams League, there’s a well-defined pecking order in each of the three divisions. With a few exceptions, it usually doesn’t take a lot of thought to select each week’s winners.

The 2014 season, however, looks to be different. There appear to be no clear favorites in any the championship races. In fact, each of the divisions appears relatively wide open.

That should making picking winners each week a lot more difficult. And it should make our annual Pigskin Pickers online contest a lot more fun.

Opening night on the prep gridiron will be Friday, Aug. 29. Starting that week and going through the rest of the 10-week regular season, our readers will have the opportunity to pick each and every game involving the York-Adams League teams.

At the end of the regular season, the champion Pigskin Picker will receive a $100 gift card, while the second-place finisher gets a $50 gift card and the third-place finisher receives a $25 gift card. There’s also a $10 gift card given away each week to the best picker of the week. All ties will be broken by random computer selection.

Many of you are probably familiar with how the contest works. You will need to click the contest link and register, although if you’ve entered the contest before, you may already be registered. After that it’s pretty basic. Just follow the instructions and pick each week’s games. It’s really pretty easy. Hey, if this 50-something, technology-impaired sports editor can do it, you can, too.

And that brings us to one of the other perks of the Pigskin Pickers contest. You can prove you’re smarter that the so-called “experts” here the Dispatch. Our picks will be listed right along with yours. Then we’ll let the standings determine who knows more about high school football. Our employees, of course, will not be eligible for any of the contest prizes.

Other prep football offerings: The Pigskin Pickers contest, however, is just one part of our high school football offerings here at the Dispatch.

John Walk will anchor our prep football coverage this season.

He’ll offer a complete lookahead to the 2014 campaign. It starts this week with his Division I preview in Wednesday’s print and online editions. That will be followed by a Division II preview on Thursday and a Division III preview on Friday.

John will have more coverage next week. On Tuesday, Aug. 26, he’ll look at 10 York-Adams Players to Watch and on Wednesday, Aug. 27, he’ll detail the 10 York-Adams Games to Watch. Finally, on Thursday, Aug. 28, he’ll feature one of the opening-night games with a video and provide preview capsules on all of the Week 1 games. We’ll also debut the 2014 York Dispatch Pigskin Pickers.

Each Thursday during the season, John will provide a feature story, video, game capsules, statistics and standings.

The Pigskin Pickers will also appear each Thursday.

Many Fridays, John will also cover a game and do a story for our website. Our photo department will also be taking loads of pictures. On opening night, John and a photographer will cover the Central York-West York rivalry.

Each Monday, John will also have a high school football column, looking back at the previous weekend action and looking ahead to the next weekend’s big games.

Ryan Vandersloot, meanwhile, will once again man our high school scoreboard on Fridays and Saturdays at yorkdispatch.com, providing up-to-the-minute football scores, not to mention various other high school scores. You can also check out John and Ryan on Twitter at @yorksportsguy and @yaiaascores. Twitter updates are also available at @ydsports. Ryan also has a blog at yaiaascores.com.

So there you have it. That’s our football game plan for the 2014 high school football season. We hope you’ll enjoy our coverage, both in print and online.

And don’t forget to enter the Pigskin Pickers contest. This year’s contest promises to be among the most exciting ever. With no overwhelming favorites, most weeks will likely feature a large number of “pick ‘em” games.

One week you can be a genius and the next week you can be a dolt. Either way, it’s OK. It’s just adds a little competitive fun to the high school gridiron campaign.

Let the games begin.

Steve Heiser is sports editor of The York Dispatch. He can be reached at sheiser@yorkdispatch.com.

There are plenty of options this fall when analyzing who could come out on top in the race for the York-Adams League Division III football crown.

Littlestown and Bermudian Springs, last year’s top two teams, have plenty of holes to fill after losing a ton of talent to graduation.

That leaves the door open for Biglerville (17 returning starters), Delone Catholic (15 returning starters) and Fairfield (12 returning starters from a six-win team).

York Catholic could very well be in the mix, too. Following a pair of four-win seasons in 2011 and 2012, the Irish had their best season under Head Coach Eric Depew in 2013, placing third in the division standings and making it all the way to the District 3-A title game to finish with an 8-4 overall record, the program’s most wins since 2002 (9-3).

York Catholic returns about half its starters this season. And those coming back are mighty talented, especially senior quarterback Hakeem Kinard, who earned a Division III All-Star nod a year ago after collecting 1,203 rushing yards, 1,688 passing yards and 33 total touchdowns. Where the Irish have questions are on defense, where they lost to graduation their entire defensive line, an All-Star linebacker and an honorable mention cornerback. If those questions are addressed, though, York Catholic could be in line to win the division title, a feat the Irish last achieved in 1992.

Here’s a look at all eight teams in Division III.

Bermudian Springs Eagles:

Coach: Jon DeFoe (16th season, 106-56 record).

Last year’s record: 8-1 league (second place Division III), 10-2 overall (District 3-AA semifinals).

Key players lost to graduation: TE-OLB-P Austin Hartzell, QB Ted Marines, OG-ILB Grant Mauro, WR-OLB Alex Orwig, DE-K Aaron Rebert.

Key players returning: FB Colton Dull, OT-DT Noah Hakes, RB Briton Shelton, CB Wyatt Gearhart, WR Ryan Markle.

Returning starters: Six on offense, five on defense.

York Catholic’s Scott Bartkowiak had 53 tackles, one sack and four interceptions last season when he was a York-Adams Division III All-Star at

York Catholic’s Scott Bartkowiak had 53 tackles, one sack and four interceptions last season when he was a York-Adams Division III All-Star at linebacker. He’s back this season. (YORK DISPATCH FILE PHOTO)

Outlook: The only sure bet for this ball club is the running game should be good to go with senior fullback Colton Dull (1,107 rushing yards, 14 touchdowns) and senior running backs Briton Shelton (585 rushing yards) and Ryan Markle (547 rushing yards) all returning on a unit that amassed 2,890 yards on the ground last fall.

The rest will be a work in progress. Sure, Markle hauled in 378 receiving yards last year, too. But the Eagles will need a new quarterback to replace the departed Ted Marines (1,332 passing yards). They’ll also have to somehow find replacements for wideout Alex Orwig (408 receiving yards) and the do-it-all Austin Hartzell, who was solid at tight end (11 receptions for 239 yards), outside linebacker (68 tackles, one sack, one recovered fumble) and punter (35.0 average on 28 punts).

All-Star defensive tackle Noah Hakes (55 tackles, 3.5 sacks, one recovered fumble) and cornerback Wyatt Gearhart (48 tackles, three interceptions, one recovered fumble) will be back to anchor a defense that will have six new starters in the daunting attempt for this unit to live up to being the best defense in the league for the third year in a row. The kicking game might also be suspect considering All-Star punter Hartzell and All-Star kicker Aaron Rebert have graduated. Looks like plenty of work for 16th-year coach Jon DeFoe this fall.

Quote: DeFoe: “Well, we think we’re gonna be right there every year. We certainly expect to be one of those teams.”

Schedule: 8/29 at New Oxford, 9/05 vs. Boiling Springs, 9/12 vs. Shippensburg, 9/19 at Hanover, 9/26 vs. Fairfield, 10/04 at York Tech, 10/10 vs. Delone Catholic, 10/17 at York Catholic, 10/24 vs. Littlestown, 10/31 at Biglerville.

Biglerville Canners:

Coach: Alex Ramos (fifth year, 20-22 record).

Last year’s record: 0-9 league (last place Division III), 1-9 overall.

Key players lost to graduation: FB-DT Joe Hurda.

Key players returning: K Jorden Trostel, OL-DL Nate Mentzer, QB Mason Unger, QB Ben Hurda, WR/DB Gage McAuliffe, RB-DB Scott Cooper, RB-DB Sam Laird.

Returning starters: Eight on offense, nine on defense.

Outlook: In the four years he’s been at Biglerville, Coach Alex Ramos fielded his youngest roster in 2013. This led to a down 1-9 campaign last fall following an impressive 9-3 season in 2012. The Canners, however, have 17 starters returning this season, the most of any team in Division III. Still, they’ll have to take a large step forward considering all nine losses a year ago were not close except for one (a 44-37 loss against York Catholic in Week 8). Plus, All-Star fullback Joe Hurda has graduated, taking his 939 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns with him.

As a result, senior Sam Laird (265 rushing yards on 45 carries last season) and senior Scott Cooper (235 rushing yards on 44 carries) will see a lot more touches this fall out of the backfield. Junior Ben Hurda (135 passing yards) and senior Mason Unger (475 passing yards) will again split duties at quarterback. Senior Nate Mentzer will anchor the offensive and defensive lines. And the kicking game should be strong with the return of All-Star Jordan Trostel (17 points after touchdown, three field goals).

Quote: Mentzer: “We were young last year, but that’s not an excuse for us this year. And we’re happy that’s not going to be an excuse. We return a ton of starters. We only lost four seniors.”

Schedule: 8/29 at Annville-Cleona, 9/05 at Waynesboro, 9/12 vs. New Oxford, 9/19 at Fairfield, 9/26 vs. York Tech, 10/03 at Delone Catholic, 10/10 vs. York Catholic, 10/17 at Littlestown, 10/24 at Hanover, 10/31 vs. Bermudian Springs.

Delone Catholic Squires:

Coach: Steve Wiles (120-42 record, 15th season).

Last year’s record: 3-6 league (seventh place Division III), 4-6 overall.

Key players lost to graduation: WR Patrick Staub, RB Nate Miller, DT Connor Bossom, DE Isaac Orndorff, LB Cody Kuhn, FB Matt Guiffreda.

Key players returning: OT-DL Chase Kint, K Jay Strickland, WR-S Tyler Loucks, TE-DE Justin Gobrecht, RB-DB Jake Kadis, QB-OLB Jake Wiles, RB-DB Tavian Dorsey.

Returning starters: Seven on offense, eight on defense.

Outlook: Senior fullback Matt Guiffreda (898 rushing yards in 2012 as a junior) went down with a broken leg in Week 3 last season and missed four games. He still ended up totaling 644 yards on the season, but his momentary absence left an already young team searching for options offensively. That contributed to the Squires uncharacteristic losing season (3-6 league, 4-6 overall). Fifteen starters (seven on offense, eight on defense) return this fall, though, aiming to get Delone Catholic back on track. Behind three returning offensive linemen, senior running back Jake Kadis (203 rushing yards) will pave the way on the ground. Longtime coach Steve Wiles also expects junior running back Tavian Dorsey (107 receiving yards, 62 rushing yards) to have a breakout season after seeing limited action as a sophomore in 2013. Jake Wiles (775 passing yards) is back under center for his senior campaign but will need new targets with the graduation of receiver Patrick Staub (485 receiving yards).

The Squires had the fifth-best run defense in the league last year while sitting middle of the pack in pass defense. This bodes well for a unit that returns eight starters, led by defensive linemen Chase Kint and Justin Gobrecht up front and a strong secondary featuring Kadis, Dorsey and Tyler Loucks. The kicking game should be strong, too, with the return of senior Jay Strickland, a second-team All-Star selection last fall.

Quote: Wiles: “Last year’s record should provide motivation.”

Schedule: 8/29 at Trinity, 9/05 vs. Columbia, 9/12 vs. St. Paul’s (Md.), 9/19 vs. York Catholic, 9/26 at Littlestown, 10/03 vs. Biglerville, 10/10 at Bermudian Springs, 10/17 vs. Fairfield, 10/25 at York Tech, 10/31 vs. Hanover.

Fairfield Green Knights:

Coach: Darwin Seiler (third year, 7-14 record, last year’s Division III Co-Coach of the Year).

Last year’s record: 5-4 league (fourth place Division III), 6-5 overall (District 3-A semifinals).

Key players lost to graduation: RB Nick Mort, WR-KR Chase Senseney, OG-DT Brett Harris, DE Tyler Burhman, ILB Nick Mort, ILB Cody Anders.

Key players returning: QB Mason Flickinger, RB/WR-S Mike Quealy, WR-ILB Antijuan Washington, WR Brandon Hummel, RB Brandon Selman, OL Ryan Hovis.

Returning starters: Six on offense, six on defense.

Outlook: The Knights blew everyone out of the water a year ago. Up until 2013, Fairfield hadn’t won more than three games in a season. In his second year as head coach last fall, Darwin Seiler steered his club to a fourth-place finish in Division III, an appearance in the District 3-A tournament and went 6-5 overall, the best record in the program’s 11-year history. For his efforts, Seiler earned Division III Co-Coach of the Year honors. Eight of his players were first-team or second-team All-Star selections as well. Now the real question is if Fairfield can have a repeat performance or go back to hanging around the cellar of Division III. Twelve returning starters (six on offense, six on defense) will provide the answer. Among them is senior quarterback Mason Flickinger, who tallied 1,017 yards through the air and 355 yards on the ground last season. However, he’ll no longer be able to throw to All-Star wideout Chase Senseney (27 receptions for 530 yards, 11 touchdowns) or hand off to running back Nick Mort (1,492 rushing yards, 23 touchdowns). Attempting to fill those gaps will be wideouts Antijuan Washington (120 receiving yards) and Brandon Hummel (124 receiving yards) and the versatile Mike Quealy (92 receiving yards, 279 rushing yards).

Quote: Seiler: “Last year changed our level of expectations and that’s a fundamental change at Fairfield. I’ve been telling them all year now that one season is great, but now we got to replicate that. That’s what our challenge is this year and I don’t think we’re going to surprise anybody.”

Schedule: 8/29 at Newport, 9/05 at James Buchanan, 9/12 vs. Carson Long, 9/19 vs. Biglerville, 9/26 at Bermudian Springs, 10/03 vs. Hanover, 10/10 vs. York Tech, 10/17 at Delone Catholic, 10/24 vs. York Catholic, 10/31 at Littlestown.

Hanover Nighthawks:

Coach: Bill Reichart (first full season, 0-5 record).

Last year’s record: 1-8 league (ninth place Division III), 1-9 overall.

Key players lost to graduation: RB Trace Russ.

Key players returning: WR-FS Dylan Krieger, RG-MLB Garrett Reichart, RB-OLB Colton Ehrhart, QB-FS Kyle Krout.

Returning starters: Three on offense, four on defense.

Outlook: A 1-4 start to the 2013 season was bad enough. Then Mike Ketterman resigned at the season’s midpoint. And Hanover went on to lose its final five games to finish near the bottom of Division III for the third year in a row. Perhaps with only seven returning starters and 15 new starting spots up for grabs, the Nighthawks could use some young blood to change their fortunes. The only areas Hanover was strong in last season came in the passing game, both offensively and defensively. That should continue into 2014 with the return of senior Dylan Krieger (45 receptions for 719 yards) at wideout and junior Kyle Krout taking over the full-time starting gig at quarterback after totaling 420 passing yards in limited time last fall. Krout and Krieger are also defensive backs. Look for juniors Jordan Laughman and Colton Ehrhart to handle the running load, with Hanover having graduated its top-three runners from a year ago. Senior Garrett Reichart, son of Coach Bill Reichart, will anchor the defense at middle linebacker. The Nighthawks are still aiming to get their first win under Bill Reichart, who took over the head coaching gig in Week 6 of last year.

Quote: Garrett Reichart: “For us to get a win at our new, renovated stadium we haven’t done that yet. I think we have two very winnable games at the beginning of the season, at home I think it’s going to happen.”

Schedule: 8/29 vs. James Buchanan, 9/05 vs. Kennard-Dale, 9/12 at Eastern York, 9/19 vs. Bermudian Springs, 9/26 at York Catholic, 10/03 at Fairfield, 10/10 vs. Littlestown, 10/18 at York Tech, 10/24 vs. Biglerville, 10/31 at Delone Catholic.

Littlestown Thunderbolts:

Coach: Mike Lippy (12th year, 92-35 record, last year’s Division III Co-Coach of the Year).

Last year’s record: 9-0 league (first place Division III), 12-1 overall (District 3-AA runner-up).

Key players lost to graduation: QB-OLB-P Trevor Hildebrand, CB Dustin DeGroft, DT Kevin Billand, DL Darren Dickensheets, WR Garret Trout, DE Jake Bankert, ILB L.J. Miles, OLB Todd Cook, CB Brent Chrismer.

Key players returning: S Lucas Reynolds.

Returning starters: Lippy: Three to four on both sides of the ball.

Outlook: The Thunderbolts won their second division title in four years by going 9-0 in league play last season, reaching the District 3-AA title game and finishing with a 12-1 overall record, marking the most wins in a season in program history. Longtime Littlestown coach Mike Lippy will pretty much have a brand new team this year, though. He returns only three to four starters on both sides of the ball, highlighted by 2013 Division III All-Star safety Lucas Reynolds (59 tackles, two interceptions, one recovered fumble last season). Gone to graduation are quarterback/linebacker Trevor Hildebrand, running back/cornerback Dustin DeGroft, wide receiver Garrett Trout and defensive linemen Darren Dickensheets and Kevin Billand, all of whom were Division III All-Star selections last season.

Quote: Lippy: “The division is wide open. Wide open. Bermudian and Delone are always there. Biglerville a few years ago. It’s why you play every year and it’s why you go out on Friday night. We just hope to remain competitive like we’ve been doing years and years.”

Schedule: 8/29 vs. Boiling Springs, 9/05 vs. Greencastle-Antrim, 9/12 at Lancaster Catholic, 9/20 at York Tech, 9/26 vs. Delone Catholic, 10/03 at York Catholic, 10/10 at Hanover, 10/17 vs. Biglerville, 10/24 at Bermudian Springs, 10/31 vs. Fairfield.

York Catholic Fighting Irish:

Coach: Eric Depew (fourth year, 16-17 record).

Last year’s record: 6-3 league (third place Division III), 8-4 overall (District 3-A runner-up).

Key players lost to graduation: OG-DE Ben Smith, OT-DT Ian Shelley, C Bradlee Rosenzweig, ILB Doug Mills, WR-CB Miles Elliott, OG-DT Mike Connor, DT Travis Fisher.

Key players returning: QB-CB Hakeem Kinard, WR-ILB Qua’Shawn Grooms, WR-OLB Scott Bartkowiak.

Returning starters: Five on offense, five on defense.

Outlook: York Catholic should be dangerous offensively again this fall with the return of quarterback Hakeem Kinard, who was downright nasty last fall. As a junior in 2013, Kinard earned All-Star honors as a quarterback (1,203 passing yards, 1,688 rushing yards, 33 total touchdowns) and cornerback (37 tackles, one interception, one recovered fumble). The good thing here for Irish fans is Kinard won’t be relied upon to do it all. He has a returning target in All-Star wideout Qua’Shawn Grooms (39 receptions for 632 yards, seven touchdowns). And if opposing defenses key on Grooms, Kinard can also throw to senior Scott Bartkowiak (17 receptions for 288 yards) or sophomore Daniel Yokemick (16 receptions for 235 yards).

Where the Irish have questions is on the defensive side. York Catholic had the second-best pass defense in the league in 2013, partly because the defensive line of Ben Smith, Ian Shelley, Mike Connor and Travis Fisher put pressure on the opposing quarterbacks. All four have graduated. Ditto for tackling machine Doug Mills, a Division III All-Star selection last fall. Cornerback Miles Elliott, an honorable mention in 2013, is also gone. On a positive note, All-Star linebacker Scott Bartkowiak (53 tackles, one sack, four interceptions) is returning.

Quote: Depew: “We have a lot of talent, a lot of speed. So we’ll take advantage of it this year.”

Schedule: 8/29 at Northeastern, 9/05 at Susquehannock, 9/12 vs. Berks Catholic, 9/19 at Delone Catholic, 9/26 vs. Hanover, 10/03 vs. Littlestown, 10/10 at Biglerville, 10/17 vs. Bermudian Springs, 10/24 at Fairfield, 10/31 vs. York Tech.

York Tech Spartans:

Coach: Matt Glennon (second year, 3-7 record).

Last year’s record: 3-6 league (eighth place Division III), 3-7 overall.

Key players lost to graduation: FB Calvin Savary, RB-CB-KR Stephaun Montouth, OLB Brock Rivera, QB Dalmar Dickson, G Dylan Bowman, G Jake Stine.

Key players returning: T Mason Carl, CB Nashid Bones.

Returning starters: Four on offense, four on defense.

Outlook: The Spartans’ three wins last season were the most wins for the program since 2009 (6-4). But second-year coach Matt Glennon brings back only four starters on both sides of the ball, losing his entire backfield to graduation, including running back Calvin Savary, who tallied 1,191 rushing yards last season to finish as the program’s all-time leading runner with 3,497 career rushing yards. Mr. Do-It-All Stephaun Montouth has also graduated after earning All-Star nods last fall as a cornerback and kick returner and an honorable mention at running back. Plus, a young team will have to learn how to run Glennon’s triple-option.

Senior Nashid Bones, an All-Star cornerback last fall, also served as a slot receiver on offense. He’ll now be moving into the backfield this fall. Glennon expects him to be the Spartans’ feature back.

Quote: Glennon: “Our center and fullback will be back. The guys who aren’t starters, they got some playing time last year. Our quarterback started a game last year then got hurt. He’ll be our quarterback this year. A couple of our linemen were working in and out last year.”

Schedule: 8/29 at Pequea Valley, 9/06 vs. Eastern York, 9/12 at Kennard-Dale, 9/20 vs. Littlestown, 9/26 at Biglerville, 10/04 vs. Bermudian Springs, 10/10 at Fairfield, 10/18 vs. Hanover, 10/25 vs. Delone Catholic, 10/31 at York Catholic.

Prediction:

Of all three divisions in the York-Adams League, this one is the toughest to predict how everything will shake out. Delone Catholic and York Catholic appear primed to battle it out for the division crown, and Bermudian Springs should be right there, too. Littlestown usually reloads every season, but with a near complete turnover of starters it’s hard to see the Thunderbolts contending for the division title. Biglerville does return nearly its entire starting roster but will have to make dramatic improvements if it hopes to make any noise. Fairfield finishes in sixth place. It’s a coin flip between York Tech and Hanover for the last two spots.

Ryan Vandersloot contributed to this report. Reach John Walk at jwalk@yorkdispatch.com.

By JOHN WALK
505-5406/@yorksportsguy

Following an 0-5 start, the West York Bulldogs came on strong toward the end of last football season, winning four of their final five games and finishing second in Division II.

They could’ve been a playoff team had it not been for a few mistakes early in the year, when a young bunch was still learning. Seventeen starters from that team return to the high school gridiron this fall for the Bulldogs, a year wiser and looking to regain the top spot of the division.

The defending division champion Dover Eagles and league newcomer Gettysburg will likely challenge West York for the division crown. Meanwhile, three other teams (Susquehannock, Kennard-Dale and Eastern York) are under new leadership. And the Golden Knights and York Suburban will be moving up from Division III to Division II this season.

The 2014 high school football season gets started Friday, Aug. 29. To get you prepped for the upcoming action, this is the second of a three-part series this week previewing the football teams of the three divisions of the York-Adams League.

Here’s a look at all seven teams in Division II.

Dover Eagles:

Coach: Eric Lam (second year, 9-3, last year’s Division II Coach of the Year).

Last year’s record: 5-0 league (first place, Division II), 9-3 overall (District 3-AAA quarterfinals).

Key players lost to graduation: QB-DB Logan Ambrose, G-ILB Cameron Beckman, K Brendan Warren, DE Dan Bisking, DT Brian Lehman, DT Trey Flythe.

Key players returning: FB-ILB Isaiah Green, TE-OLB Malik Allen, T Levi Murphy, RB Dorran Ledbetter, G-P Tyler Jacobson, RB-DB Jake McLean, C Matt Farr.

Returning starters: 14.

Outlook: It’s a story of good and bad for the defending Division II champs. The bad: Three defensive Division II All-Stars (Brian Lehman, Dan Bisking, Cameron Beckman) and Division II All-Star quarterback Logan Ambrose (355 yards passing, 550 yards rushing, 14 touchdowns last season) are gone to graduation. The good: there’s plenty of talent back on both sides of the ball. The Eagles return a little more than half of their starting roster from a team that won nine games and reached the District 3-AAA quarterfinals last fall. Among the bunch coming back is fullback/inside linebacker Isaiah Green, tight end/outside linebacker Malik Allen, lineman Levi Murphy, running back Dorran Ledbetter, defensive back Jake McLean and lineman and punter Tyler Jacobson. Those six players were Division II All-Stars in 2013. Also returning with them is center Matt Farr, who earned a Division II honorable mention nod last fall as a sophomore.

Dover’s offense was straight up potent last fall, finishing with the No. 2 scoring offense in the league (32.6 points a game) and top running game (6.7 yards a carry). Ambrose and his 550 rushing yards from the quarterback position will be tough to replicate, but he was fourth in line on the team in running the ball behind Green (1,161 rushing yards), Ledbetter (787 rushing yards) and McLean (682 rushing yards). Look for this ground attack to be the Eagles’ bread and butter once again.

The Eagles were third in the league against the run and finished in the top third of the league in stopping the pass. And the core of that defense returns in defensive back McLean, linebackers Allen, Green and Ledbetter and linemen Jacobson and Murphy. If Lam can fill in the pieces around this group, Dover might again have one of the stronger defensive units in the league this fall.

Quote: Lam: “West York is always there. Coach (Ron) Miller does a great job with them down there. And Gettysburg coming in is a team to watch out for. I really think we’re middle of the road. We’ll have to fight to earn our way.”

Schedule: 8/29 at Shippensburg, 9/05 at Big Spring, 9/12 vs. Red Land, 9/19 vs. Gettysburg, 9/26 at Eastern York, 10/03 vs. Kennard-Dale, 10/10 at Reading, 10/17 vs. York Suburban, 10/24 at West York, 10/31 vs. Susquehannock.

Eastern York Knights:

Coach: Dave Kemmick (first year).

Last year’s record: 5-4 league (fifth place, Division III), 5-5 overall.

Key players lost to graduation: FB Clayton Miller, TE-DE Christian Buser, OLB Jake Wildasin, CB Justin Keller, RB Thomas Taylor, C Elliot Royce.

Key players returning: T Garret Ishman, RB David Livelsberger, ILB Lucas Barshinger, RB-P Jake Kessler.

Returning starters: Six on offense, two on defense.

Outlook: First-year coach Dave Kemmick feels his squad has a chance at the playoffs this season. But it’ll be an uphill battle for the Knights in that quest. First, Eastern brings back only eight starters (six on offense, two on defense) from last year’s .500 squad. Second, the Knights will face stiffer competition by jumping up from Division III to Division II, returning to the level they competed in from 1976 to 2009.

On offense, Eastern will be anchored by tackle Garret Ishman, a 2013 All-Star selection. He’ll plow the way for running back David Livelsberger, who gained a team-high 928 rushing yards last fall. Senior running back Jake Kessler (247 rushing yards, 111 receiving yards) will see plenty of action as well. This bodes well for an offense with a reputation of having one of the more solid running games in the league in recent years. Newcomers Ryan Kalke, a junior, and Conrad Rhein, a senior, are battling it out for the starting quarterback spot.

Eastern had the fifth-best passing defense in the York-Adams League last year while being middle of the pack against the run. So this year’s defense, with nine new starters, has its work cut out to live up to this somewhat higher bar. Senior inside linebacker Lucas Barshinger will steer this unit. He earned a 2013 All-Star nod after totaling 84 solo tackles, two sacks, two recovered fumbles, one safety and two blocked punts.

Quote: Kemmick: “Any time I think we improve, that’s a successful season. But I think the playoffs are very realistic.”

Schedule: 8/29 at Columbia, 9/06 at York Tech, 9/12 vs. Hanover, 9/19 at West York, 9/26 vs. Dover, 10/03 at Gettysburg, 10/10 at Susquehannock, 10/17 vs. Kennard-Dale, 10/24 vs. Pine Grove, 10/31 vs. York Suburban.

Gettysburg Warriors:

Coach: Matt Heiser (third year, 9-12 record at Gettysburg, last year’s Mid-Penn Conference Colonial Division Co-Coach of the Year).

Last year’s record: 6-5 overall (District 3-AAA first round).

Key players lost to graduation: OL-DL Brent Crushong, QB Jesse Stouch, TE Tyler Clapsaddle, OL-DL Alex Neri, DB Ben Dudash.

Key players returning: OL-DL Giovani Alvarado, WR Tyler Lampe, RB-PR-KR Lane Sherman, P Kobe Wansel, LB Wade Laudeman.

Returning starters: Eight on offense, seven on defense.

Outlook: The Warriors finished second in the Mid-Penn Conference Colonial Division a year ago and went 6-5 overall, ending with a first-round loss in the District 3-AAA Tournament. Coming back from that team are 15 starters (eight offense, seven defense), including every skill position player on offense except for the quarterback. Watch out for wide receiver Tyler Lampe, a second-team Colonial Division All-Star selection a year ago who has Ivy League smarts. Lane Sherman, also a Colonial Division All-Star pick last fall, can do some damage from the running back spot and on kick and punt returns.

Quote: Heiser: “In the Mid-Penn I’m used to big, bruising offensive lineman. I see a lot of speed (in the York-Adams League). You still see a lot of size, too, but I think it’s gonna be a little bit faster.”

Schedule: 8/29 at South Western, 9/06 vs. New Oxford, 9/12 at Waynesboro, 9/19 at Dover, 9/26 vs. Susquehannock, 10/03 vs. Eastern York, 10/10 at Kennard-Dale, 10/17 vs. Conrad Weiser, 10/24 at York Suburban, 10/31 vs. West York.

Kennard-Dale Rams:

Coach: Patrick Weider (first year).

Last year’s record: 0-5 league (last place, Division II), 1-9 overall.

Key players lost to graduation: RB Mike Young, T-DT Jason Bellinger, G Matt Belt, ILB Albert Greaver, DB Logan Carlisle, FB Dallas Allen.

Key players returning: QB Kyle Amrhein, OL-DL Coleman Hamilton, OL-DL Dan Creter, RB-MLB Kendall Wales, RB-LB Josh Eaton, WR-DB Austin Jenkins.

Returning starters: Six on offense, three on defense.

Outlook: Patrick Weider is the new coach of the Rams. He follows Andy Loucks, who coached Kennard-Dale to a five-win season in 2010 but went just 3-27 the following three seasons and wasn’t brought back after the 2013 campaign (1-9 overall). Weider served as Kennard-Dale’s assistant coach last fall and before that spent seven seasons as assistant coach and offensive coordinator at York High. He takes over a roster featuring nine returning starters (six on offense, three on defense).

Austin Jenkins is back at wideout after hauling in a team-high 262 receiving yards on 12 catches last season. Senior Kyle Amrhien (598 passing yards) will be back under center, too. However, the Rams will have to replace their top three rushers from a year ago: Mike Young (1,154 yards, 10 touchdowns) fullback Dallas Allen (362 rushing yards) and Justin Fitchett (275 rushing yards). Fortunately for KD, the cupboard’s not completely bare in this department. Kendall Wales (33 carries, 104 rushing yards) and Josh Eaton (23 carries, 98 rushing yards) gained some varsity experience out of the backfield last fall. Plus, returning offensive linemen Coleman Hamilton and Dan Creter should be able to open up some holes.

Jenkins (cornerback), Wales (linebacker), Eaton (linebacker) and Hamilton will likely play both ways as well. They make up the few starters back on the defensive side for a unit that was one of the better teams against the run last fall but near last against the pass.

Quote: Creter: “I think we have a lot of work to do to begin with. And I think the group of guys that we have are willing to put in the work that is necessary to get us there.”

Schedule: 8/29 vs. Waynesboro, 9/05 at Hanover, 9/12 vs. York Tech, 9/19 at York Suburban, 9/26 vs. West York, 10/03 at Dover, 10/10 vs. Gettysburg, 10/17 at Eastern York, 10/24 at Susquehannock, 10/31 vs. Millersburg.

West York Bulldogs:

Coach: Ron Miller (ninth year, 76-23 record).

Last year’s record: 4-1 league (second place Division II), 4-6 overall.

Key players lost to graduation: T Alex Raffensberger, DE Kyle Narber, DB Isaiah Toomey, DB Justin Warfel, RB Josiah Mincer.

Key players returning: WR Ian Lichty, C Logan Stover, OG-DL Nick Kniery, QB Ross Campbell, WR-FS Terry Cains, K Darian McCauley, OLB Noah Townsley, RB Noah Bowers, WR-CB Diego Torres.

Returning starters: Eight on offense, nine on defense.

Outlook: The traditionally strong West York program ran all the way to the District 3-AAA title game in 2012. Then the Bulldogs graduated just about everyone. As a result, Coach Ron Miller had a young group on the field last fall. And the inexperience showed early when West York began the year 0-5. The Bulldogs clicked at the season’s midpoint, though, and they finished out the year by winning four of their last five games to nab second place in Division II. Had it not been for a few mistakes early in the year against Spring Grove (a 10-6 loss) and Red Lion (a 14-7 loss) in Weeks 3 and 4, West York could’ve been a playoff team. Now, the Bulldogs have 17 starters back from that squad, leading most to feel West York will regain the throne atop Division II this season.

The Bulldogs were No. 20 in the league in running the ball and No. 12 in passing. So there’s room for improvement on the offensive end. And there’s reason to believe this side gets better. Four of West York’s top five rushers return, along with a pair of road-grading All-Star linemen in center Logan Stover and guard Nick Kniery. Ross Campbell (1,070 passing yards) is back under center with All-Star wideouts Ian Lichty (282 receiving yards) and Terry Cains (260 receiving yards) at his disposal.

Darian McCauley earned an All-Star nod as West York’s kicker a season ago. So with him back, the Bulldogs should be strong in special teams.

Really the only question mark for this West York bunch is in the defensive secondary. West York ranked No. 6 in the league against the pass last fall. But All-Star defensive backs Isaiah Toomey and Justin Warfel have graduated. The Bulldogs were No. 11 in the league against the run last season, and with nine starters returning, should only be better in that department. If West York can fill the shoes of Toomey and Warfel, the Bulldogs could have one of the best defensive units in the league this fall.

Quote: Miller: “Dover is the defending champ and they have a lot of skill back. I don’t know much about Gettysburg but I anticipate they’ll have a good team. New coaches at Susquehannock and KD. Right now, until somebody proves otherwise, it’s Dover.”

Schedule: 8/29 at Central York, 9/05 vs. Dallastown, 9/12 at Red Lion, 9/19 vs. Eastern York, 9/26 at Kennard-Dale, 10/03 vs. Pius X, 10/10 at York Suburban, 10/17 vs. Susquehannock, 10/24 vs. Dover, 10/31 at Gettysburg.

York Suburban Trojans:

Coach: Jeremy Jones (second season, 5-5).

Last year’s record: 5-4 league (sixth place, Division III), 5-5 overall.

Key players lost to graduation: WR-DB Emmanuel McDowell, G Matt Kauffman, DE Ch’aim Smith, ILB Steve Salcedo, CB Jason Olsen, P Kyle Bulgarelli.

Key players returning: QB Thomas Merkle, OLB Sawyer Robinson.

Returning starters: Eight on offense, five on defense.

Outlook: Welcome back, York Suburban. Following four seasons down in Division III, where the Trojans went a combined 19-21, Suburban this year returns to Division II. The last time the Trojans were at this level, they won four league games and finished 7-4 overall back in 2009. As a matter of fact, Suburban placed in the top-half of the Division II standings seven out of eight times from 2002 to 2009. Plus, this is familiar ground for second-year coach Jeremy Jones. Before coming to Suburban in 2013, Jones spent the previous 10 seasons at West York, where he was the offensive coordinator from 2008 to 2012.

Junior Thomas Merkle returns at quarterback after tossing 1,367 passing yards last fall, contributing to the sixth-best passing offense in the league. He’ll have a pair of receivers to throw to in senior Jimmy Daglaris (12 receptions for 299 yards) and junior Collin Mailman (13 receptions for 196 yards), both of whom will have to step up to replace graduated wideouts Emmanuel McDowell (34 receptions for 584 yards) and Steve Salcedo (27 receptions for 346 yards). Overall, the Trojans return eight starters on offense. The biggest concern on this side of the ball is the running game, which finished dead last in the league a year ago. Leading rusher Ch’aim Smith (89 carries for 405 rushing yards) graduated. And second-year coach Jeremy Jones thinks his line is a bit undersized.

Suburban will have six new starters on defense. They’ll have to live up to a defensive unit that was one of the best in the league a year ago. Outside linebacker Sawyer Robinson (58 tackles, 2.5 sacks) will spearhead this group.

Quote: Jones: “Our team speed is key. We’re not very big. We have a kid that transferred from Dallastown. He’s an O-lineman. He’s big, like 300 pounds. But the rest of the line, I weigh more than them and I weigh 215, so that’s not a great sign. So we’re going to have to use our speed to get the sidelines. If we’re not, we’re in trouble.”

Schedule: 8/29 at Red Land, 9/05 vs. Northeastern, 9/12 at Spring Grove, 9/19 vs. Kennard-Dale, 9/26 at Ephrata, 10/03 at Susquehannock, 10/10 vs. West York, 10/17 at Dover, 10/24 vs. Gettysburg, 10/31 at Eastern York.

Susquehannock Warriors:

Coach: J.C. Lewis (first season).

Last year’s record: 2-3 league (fourth Division II), 3-7 overall.

Key players lost to graduation: TE-ILB Luke Knott, RB-DB Sammy Miller, WR Steven Nalls, C Adam Dell, OT-DT Logan Foore, QB-OLB Bryan Kerr, P Colin Rennoll.

Key players returning: OL-DL Nick DeLuca, RB-OLB Tucker Devilbiss, DE-OT Rulbeing Quiles.

Returning starters: Four on offense, four on defense.

Outlook: Susquehannock’s three wins last fall were the most for the program since 2007 (6-4). So it was a small step in the right direction for a team that has been at or near the cellar the last half-dozen years. J.C. Lewis will look to keep the program on this path as he steps in as the Warriors’ new head coach. He’ll have only four starters back on offense and defense.

Gone from last year’s three-win team were six players who earned All-Star nods at season’s end: tight end Luke Knott, running back/defensive back Sammy Miller, wide receiver Steven Nalls, center Adam Dell, offensive/defensive tackle Logan Foore and outside linebacker Bryan Kerr (who also played quarterback).

However, Lewis said he has a roster of 60 players, which is more than years past and should create some competition for playing time, especially considering there’s a total of 14 starting spots up for grabs. One of them is at quarterback, where it’s a three-horse race between Collin Kelly, Jose Stoneberg and Chase Summers. Kelly (11 passes for 96 yards) and Stoneberg (11 passes for 75 yards) saw brief action last fall, while Summers is new to the fray. Whether or not all of this competition between players translates when facing opponents is a different conversation.

Quote: DeLuca: “There is a fresh energy about the team. After having Coach Kerr for three years and then bringing in Coach Lewis, there’s something fresh about the season that I think is going to help change the program.”

Schedule: 8/29 at Northern York, 9/05 vs. York Catholic, 9/12 vs. Northeastern, 9/19 vs. Exeter Township, 9/26 at Gettysburg, 10/03 vs. York Suburban, 10/10 vs. Eastern York, 10/17 at West York, 10/24 vs. Kennard-Dale, 10/31 at Dover.

Prediction:

West York hosts Dover in Week 9 and travels to Gettysburg on Halloween night in Week 10. Those final weeks will decide the winner of Division II. Go with West York. The Bulldogs came on strong toward the end of last season and could’ve been a playoff team had it not been for a few mistakes early in the year. They return nearly their entire starting roster and should get back to reigning supreme in this division. York Suburban will nab fourth place. It’s a coin flip between Eastern, Kennard-Dale and Susquehannock for the last three spots in the division standings.

— Ryan Vandersloot contributed to this report. Reach John Walk at jwalk@yorkdispatch.com.

By JOHN WALK
505-5406/@yorksportsguy

The kickoff to the 2014 high school football season is less than two weeks away.

To get you prepped for the upcoming gridiron action, The York Dispatch will run previews of all three divisions of the York-Adams League this week, and next week will provide a rundown of the top 10 games and players to watch out for this season, in addition to previews of all of the Week 1 games.

Up first is a preview of Division I, where there are plenty of contenders and no clear-cut favorites. The defending division champion Central York Panthers will have to replace nearly their entire starting roster from a year ago, while Dallastown, Red Lion, Spring Grove and South Western lost just about every offensive playmaker to graduation.

As a result, York High could sneak into contention with 2013 Division I Player of the Year, James Way, returning at quarterback alongside 13 other returning starters. In addition, coaching guru George Chaump will take over as the Bearcats’ offensive coordinator.

New Oxford and Northeastern, meanwhile, will see if they can hold their own in jumping up from Division II to Division I.

Here’s a look at all eight Division I teams:

Central York Panthers:

Coach: Brad Livingston (32nd season, 203-141-4 record, last year’s Division I Co-Coach of Year).

Last year’s record: 5-0 league (first place, Division I), 8-3 overall (District 3-AAAA appearance).

Returning starters: Five on offense; three on defense.

Key players lost to graduation: QB Dylan Hose, RB Breaun Randle, WR Zach Emswiler, WR Zane Knaub, WR Max Haldeman, ILB Collin George.

Key players returning: OG Nate Stephens (Sr.), OG Zane Santos (Jr.), WR-OLB Jeremiah Dadeboe (Sr.), TE Robert Romey III (Sr.), FB-DT Pearson Hinkle (Sr.), OLB Elzir Stroman (Jr.).

Returning starters: Five on offense, three on defense

Outlook: Livingston’s squad has speed, is strong in the kicking game and has plenty of depth on the roster, although it is weak in experience. This will be a new look for a team that had the fourth-best scoring offense last season. However, three linemen, the top-three receivers, quarterback Dylan Hose (1,459 passing yards, 16 touchdown passes, 671 rushing yards) and running back Breaun Randle (1,290 rushing yards, 12 touchdowns) are gone to graduation. Look for senior tight end Robert Romey (10 receptions for 93 yards) to be one of Central’s top weapons this season. It’s the same story on the defensive side, where only three starters are back.

Quote: Livingston: “You need to still be standing the last two weeks of the season. And if you’re still on your feet and in contention you might be able to win a title in those last two weeks.”

Schedule: 8/29 vs. West York, 9/05 vs. Cumberland Valley, 9/12 vs. Hempfield, 9/19 at Northeastern, 9/26 vs. South Western, 10/03 at New Oxford, 10/10 at Spring Grove, 10/17 vs. Red Lion, 10/24 at Dallastown, 10/31 vs. York High

Dallastown Wildcats:

Head coach: Kevin Myers (10th season, 50-50 record, last year’s Division I Co-Coach of Year).

Last year’s record: 4-1 league (second place, Division I), 10-3 overall (District 3-AAAA semifinals).

Key players lost to graduation: QB Andrew Henry, RB Robert Catchings, WR Malik Lewis.

Key players returning: FB-DE Dezmond Jones, TE-DB Owen Ritter, WR-LB Addison Quinones, C-DT Justin Tindall, OL-DT Zaire Willis.

Returning starters: Myers: “Six to seven on offense and defense.”

Outlook: The Wildcats (4-1 Division I, 10-3 last season) finished as runner-up to Central in Division I last season, but competed in the District 3-AAAA playoffs for seventh-straight season and made school history by reaching the district semifinals. Now in his 10th year at the helm, Wildcats’ head coach Kevin Myers returns six to seven starters on each side of the ball, but will have to replace playmakers Andrew Henry (1,408 yards passing last season), Robert Catchings (1,452 rushing yards) and Malik Lewis (834 yards receiving). Myers said at media day that junior Cade Gold is the front-runner to take over at quarterback while the running game will be by committee, and juniors Jake Jansen and Kiwane Tarbert will get shots at starting gigs as wideouts. Senior Addison Quinones will play a large role for this squad. He’s the most experienced receiver returning after pulling down 10 catches for 125 yards at wide receiver on offense. He’ll also lead the defense at linebacker behind towering tackles Justin Tindull and Zaire Willis, both seniors.

Quote: Myers: “Coming off a District 3 final, what are we gonna do with that? Is this gonna be an anomaly or is that something we’re gonna try to attain every year?”

Schedule: 8/29 vs. Lancaster Catholic, 9/05 at West York, 9/12 vs. Penn Manor, 9/19 at Spring Grove, 9/26 vs. York High, 10/03 at Northeastern, 10/10 vs. South Western, 10/17 at New Oxford, 10/24 vs. Central York, 10/31 at Red Lion.

New Oxford Colonials:

Head coach: Jason Thurston (third year, 10-11 record).

Last year’s record: 3-2 league (third place Division II), 6-5 overall (District 3-AAA appearance).

Key players lost to graduation: RB-DB Wes Beans, RB Aaron Zinneman, DE Marc O’Brien, DT Charlie Hoffman.

Key players returning: K Trey Parrish, OG-DE Max Lippy, FB-SS Hunter Ringrose.

Returning starters: Six on offense, six on defense.

Outlook: Jumping up from Division II to Division I this season, third-year coach Jason Thurston will have 12 returning starters (six offense, six defense), but lost to graduation are running back Wes Beans, who earned Division II Player of the Year honors last season after gouging out 1,408 rushing yards, and running back Aaron Zinneman (702 rushing yards). The duo made the Colonials the third-best rushing team in the league last year. However, New Oxford should stay strong in the running game with the entire starting five back on offensive line. That should also provide some stability for 6-foot-3 senior Jordan Gardner, a pocket quarterback who is stepping in for Anthony Lippy (881 passing yards) as the Colonials’ signal-caller. There is a chance the speedier Cordin Czap will see some time from behind center as well.

On the defensive side, New Oxford is faced with the task of replacing Beans, who tallied 113 tackles and two interceptions at defensive back, in addition to defensive end Marc O’Brien (53 tackles, three sacks, one recovered fumble) and defensive tackle Charlie Hoffman (62 tackles, 1.5 sacks, one recovered fumble). All three were Division II All-Stars last season and contributed to a unit that was the fourth-best in the league against the pass.

The Colonials’ schedule isn’t forgiving, either. New Oxford faces one of the York-Adams League’s best squads from Division III (Bermudian Springs on Aug. 29) and Division II (Gettysburg on Sept. 5) in the opening two weeks, plays three of their first four games on the road and starts Division I competition against South Western, Spring Grove and Central York.

Quote: Gardner: “It’s going to be a challenge with tougher teams. But it’s an opportunity to show that New Oxford isn’t some little push-around type of school. We think we’re a big deal.”

Schedule: 8/29 vs. Bermudian Springs, 9/05 at Gettysburg, 9/12 at Biglerville, 9/19 at South Western, 9/26 vs. Spring Grove, 10/03 vs. Central York, 10/11 at Red Lion, 10/17 vs. Dallastown, 10/24 at York High, 10/31 vs. Northeastern.

Northeastern Bobcats:

Head coach: Jon Scepanski (second year, 1-9 record).

Last year’s record: 1-4 league (fifth place Division II), 1-9 overall.

Key players lost to graduation: WR Jowan Lewis-Kearse.

Key players returning: QB Marcus Josey, RB Chris Whack, ILB-RB Kody Reeser, OL-DL Peyton Wolgamuth.

Returning starters: 17.

Outlook: The journey this Bobcats program has taken since first forming a football team six years ago has been an interesting one. Brendan Brown coached the Bobcats since the inception, taking them through three losing seasons before going 6-5 in 2011 and 7-4 in 2012. Brown then stepped down and offensive coordinator Jon Scepanski stepped in as the new head man, only to see Northeastern took a step back in 2013 with a 1-9 overall mark and 1-4 record in league play. But those Bobcats were young, and they still nearly won half their games considering four of the losses were by six points or less. Now Scepanski will have 17 returning starters as Northeastern steps up into Division I competition. He’ll be employing new schemes on both sides of the ball, too. On offense, Northeastern is going to a spread wing-T attack, likely to take advantage of the team’s top-four rushers from last season returning, including junior quarterback Marcus Josey (1,246 passing yards, 258 rushing yards).

Northeastern had one of the worst defensive units in the league last fall (16th against the pass, 18th against the run). Again, this could be attributed to a young team. But Scepanski, who was once a defensive coordinator at Conestoga Valley, has decided to switch to a 3-5-3 scheme. Junior Kody Reeser, an inside linebacker who earned a Division II All-Star nod last season by totaling 96 tackles, 1.5 sacks and two interceptions, should be the ringleader here. Peyton Wolgamuth will spearhead the defensive line.

Quote: Scepanski: “We didn’t graduate many players and definitely not a lot of starters. So this year, everybody has that experience and they now understand what it takes to win games. They understand the level of competition they’re going to be playing against. Their expectations are higher, and mine are too. They’ve been putting in the dedication it takes to win.”

Schedule: 8/29 vs. York Catholic, 9/05 at York Suburban, 9/12 at Susquehannock, 9/19 vs. Central York, 9/26 at Red Lion, 10/03 vs. Dallastown, 10/10 at York High, 10/17 vs. Spring Grove, 10/24 vs. South Western, 10/31 at New Oxford

Red Lion Lions:

Head coach: Jesse Shay (second year, 4-6 record).

Last year’s record: 2-3 league (fourth place Division I), 4-6 overall.

Key players lost to graduation: QB Blake Cahill, WR Chris Knorr, WR Damien Hess.

Key players returning: RB Kenny Holloway, C-DT Sam Lowe.

Returning starters: Four on offense, eight on defense.

Outlook: Coach Jesse Shay said he prefers running over passing. But in his first year steering the Red Lion program last season, he instead took advantage of the weapons at his disposal and let quarterback Blake Cahill (1,580 passing yards) do his thing. So now that Cahill and last year’s top four receivers are gone to graduation, Shay said this year’s offense will have a “ground-it-out, four-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust” approach. Expect senior running back Kenny Holloway (505 rushing yards last season) to get plenty of touches. Although this Red Lion team is laden with seniors, Holloway and three offensive linemen are the only returning starters on the offensive side.

The defense will be anchored by senior defensive end Sam Lowe, who is one of eight returning starters on that side. Lowe’s 73 tackles, six sacks and three recovered fumbles a year ago earned him Division I All-Star honors.

Quote: Shay: “I think South Western will be much improved. Central is Central. I don’t think they rebuild. I think they just reload. The same with Dallastown. I think they’ll be strong. And you have the program Russ (Stoner) has over at Spring Grove. I’m excited to see New Oxford, who was a playoff team last year. And a big school like Northeastern coming over and joining us. Then you have George Chaump coaching over at York High. Where do I see us fitting in? I don’t have the slightest clue. I really don’t. And I’m not just being a politician. I don’t know.”

Schedule: 8/29 vs. Hershey, 9/05 at Manheim Township, 9/12 vs. West York, 9/19 at York High, 9/26 vs. Northeastern, 10/3 at South Western, 10/11 vs. New Oxford, 10/17 at Central York, 10/24 at Spring Grove, 10/31 vs. Dallastown.

Spring Grove Rockets:

Head coach: Russ Stoner (fourth year, 15-18 record).

Last year’s record: 2-3 league (third place Division I), 6-5 overall (District 3-AAA appearance).

Key players lost to graduation: QB Seth Hildebrand, RB Jeff Delaughter, WR Logan Hall, G Tyler Amspacher, DL David Shaw, DT DeAndre Gaskins, DE Kyle Micik.

Key players returning: ILB Zack Stauffer, OLB Nick Erickson, DB Ian Slaven, G Andrew Lawson, K Andrew Luckenbaugh.

Returning starters: Seven on offense, seven on defense.

Outlook: Yes. Spring Grove has nearly everyone back on offense and defense. But the few holes fourth-year Rockets’ coach Russ Stoner has to fill are gaping ones. Running back Jeff Delaughter has finally graduated, taking with him a program-record 3,477 career rushing yards. Ditto for the 1-2 combo of quarterback Seth Hildebrand (1,622 passing yards, 468 rushing yards) and receiver Logan Hall (56 receptions for 937 yards, 10 touchdowns). On the defensive side, lineman David Shaw is now playing at the University of Maryland. Fellow defensive linemen DeAndre Gaskins and Kyle Micik, both All-Star selections last fall, are also gone.

Offensively, Stoner feels confident Spring Grove will be fine at quarterback, considering he’s had two different signal-callers throw for more than 1,500 yards in each of the last two years, so his expectation is to find the next man up. The biggest question mark on this side of the ball will obviously be how the Rockets attempt to fill the mighty cleats of Delaughter.

Defensively, although the line is pretty much starting from scratch, Spring Grove does return a flurry of other talents. The linebacking corps will be extremely active with 2013 All-Star selections Zack Stauffer (140 tackles, three interceptions, four sacks, two recovered fumbles) and Nick Erickson (77 tackles, three sacks) staying busy. Behind them is another returning All-Star in defensive back Ian Slaven (65 tackles, three sacks, one recovered fumble).

Quote: Stoner: “The expectation is we’re gonna be a tough out. The expectation is that when your number is called you’re gonna work. That’s what we pretty much try to instill now at Spring Grove.”

Schedule: 8/29 at Cumberland Valley, 9/05 vs. Mechanicsburg, 9/12 vs. York Suburban, 9/19 vs. Dallastown, 9/26 at New Oxford, 10/03 at York High, 10/10 vs. Central York, 10/17 at Northeastern, 10/24 vs. Red Lion, 10/31 at South Western.

South Western Mustangs:

Head coach: Damian Poalucci (third year, 9-12 record).

Last year’s record: 1-4 league (fifth place Division I), 3-7 overall.

Key players lost to graduation: TE-DB Logan Bowman, QB Tyler Sterner, RB Dillon Thomas, RB Camden Brown, ILB Gunner Holtz, DB Ryan Lane.

Key players returning: DT-OT Matt Helwig, QB-FS Brock Geiman, QB-OLB Ryan Krebs, FB-LB Jonas Walter, WR-CB Hunter Palmer, WR-CB Brady Thayer, WR Noah Staub.

Returning starters: Six on offense, seven on defense.

Outlook: Never again will this happen to the Mustangs. At least that’s the mantra coming out of the South Western camp this fall following last year’s disastrous season on a team decimated by injuries (18 total, four season-ending). Somehow, though, the Mustangs still managed to win three games and come within a touchdown or less in four of their seven losses. They lost most of their offensive skill positions to graduation, but there are decent pieces returning. Brock Geiman completed 7 of 16 passes for 165 yards in brief action behind center a year ago, so he has somewhat of a handle on the offense. He’ll have options to throw to in returning receivers Noah Staub (13 receptions for 243 yards), Brady Thayer (11 receptions for 226 yards) and Hunter Palmer (seven receptions for 150 yards). The ground attack, meanwhile, is another story considering running backs Dillon Thomas (490 rushing yards) and Camden Brown (368 rushing yards) have graduated.

South Western was in the top-third in the league when it came to stopping the run last fall, while its passing defense was middle of the pack. A lot of Division I coaches feel the Mustangs will be much improved this season, and seven returning starters on defense bodes well to support that notion. Now if South Western can just stay healthy…

Quote: Poalucci: “One of our themes throughout the offseason was ‘Never again’. Never again to have that type of season and never again to a lot of things, like a 3-7 record — 3-7 is not what I think was representative of what we were, but that’s what we were.”

Schedule: 8/29 vs. Gettysburg, 9/05 at Cedar Cliff, 9/12 at Carlisle, 9/19 vs. New Oxford, 9/26 at Central York, 10/03 vs. Red Lion, 10/10 at Dallastown, 10/17 vs. York High, 10/24 at Northeastern, 10/31 vs. Spring Grove.

York High Bearcats:

Head coach: Shawn Heinold (third year, 9-11 record).

Last year’s record: 1-4 league (sixth place Division I), 4-6 overall.

Key players lost to graduation: WR Da’keem Dennison.

Key players returning: QB James Way, WR-DB Bryshon Sweeney, ILB Lasmir Mitchell.

Returning starters: Eight on offense, six on defense.

Outlook: Although the Bearcats went 4-6 last season and only won one game in the division, everyone is expecting them to do big things this season. Why? First, they return 14 starters. Second, one of them is 2013 Division I Player of the Year James Way. And third, third-year Bearcats’ head coach Shawn Heinold has added George Chaump to his staff. Chaump will be York High’s new offensive coordinator this fall. Oh, and Way told The York Dispatch last year, when chatting about his Player of the Year accolade, he and his teammates want to win the division crown this season.

The Bearcats certainly have all the makings to do so. Way threw for a league-best 1,671 passing yards and added another 1,024 yards on the ground a year ago. Way won’t be alone, either. In his arsenal, Way will be able to hand off to running back Bryshon Sweeney (487 rushing yards) or throw to Sweeney (19 receptions for 225 yards) or Sae-quan Whitaker (15 receptions for 225 yards). That receiving duo should be able to fill the shoes of graduated receiver Da’keem Dennison (40 receptions, 636 yards). Heinold also stressed he’s working on improving the play of his offensive line. Then you factor in Chaump, who has more than 50 years of coaching experience in college (Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Ohio State, Marshall and Navy) and high school (Central Dauphin, Harrisburg, Central Dauphin East). And it gets scary to think about what this York High offense might be able to do on gridiron this fall.

The strength of the offense will have to outweigh a questionable defense. The Bearcats return six starters from a unit that had trouble stopping the ball on the ground or through the air last fall. Look for inside linebacker Lasmir Mitchell, a second-team All-Star selection in 2013, to anchor this defense. Another concern of Heinold’s is depth, so health will play a factor on both sides down the stretch.

Quote: Way on Chaump: “He’s teaching us a lot of new things. He’s also teaching us why, if we did something wrong, why it was wrong. He’s helping us read coverages and how to break down film. So, yeah, I think it’s a pretty good experience.”

Schedule: 8/29 at Reading, 9/05 vs. J.P. McCaskey, 9/13 at Harrisburg, 9/19 vs. Red Lion, 9/26 at Dallastown, 10/03 vs. Spring Grove, 10/10 vs. Northeastern, 10/17 at South Western, 10/24 vs. New Oxford, 10/31 at Central York.

Predicted finish of Division I

It seems to happen every year.

Central York finishes at or near the top of the division, graduates a ton of seniors and reloads the following year. The Panthers will do so again this fall, with York High following in a close second place. The Bearcats have much room for improvement since they only won a game in league competition a year ago. Plus, they won’t be sneaking up on anyone, considering most everyone knows how dangerous York High might be. The Bearcats travel to Central York in Week 10, so the division could be decided then.

The next three spots in the division are pretty much a coin flip between Dallastown, South Western and Northeastern. Both the Wildcats and Mustangs return about half their starting lineups, the concern here being the loss of talented skill players. And the Bobcats bring back the most starters of any team in the division, including their quarterback. But they only won one game last year. And they were in Division II then. So Northeastern must prove its worth on the field. Like Stoner said, Spring Grove will give every team a battle. But its tough to see the Rockets winning a lot of games considering the level of talent they lost. New Oxford and Red Lion round out the division, with the added caveat of Red Lion having the ability to pull out a couple surprises along the way.

— Ryan Vandersloot contributed to this report. Reach John Walk at jwalk@yorkdispatch.com.

By JOHN WALK
505-5406/@yorksportsguy

At this point, some games on the 2014 calendar look awfully appetizing on paper.

Then again, by the time we hit October, what were once looked at as big games could possibly be lackluster.

Why? Well, many arguments could be made about how the football seasons play out for the 23 teams in the York-Adams League. Teams might fail to live up to the hype. A traditionally bottom-of-the-barrel program could have a surprising campaign. And, of course, injuries could derail the plans for some squads.

With all that being said, just days before the kickoff to the high school football season, here are some of the top games involving York-Adams League squads to watch out for this season. They are listed by week.

Week 1, Central York vs. West York: Usually the big matchup of Week 1 every year, this one will tell us plenty about both squads. The Bulldogs, with 17 returning starters, are expected to be back in contention for the Division II crown. Central York, the defending Division I champ, has to replace nearly its entire starting roster. But most coaches feel the Panthers have a tendency to reload every year and not skip a beat. Also of note this week, Spring Grove hosts last year’s District 3-AAAA runner-up Cumberland Valley, while Northeastern vs. York Catholic could light up the scoreboard.

Week 2, Northeastern at York Suburban: Plenty to like about this meeting between a pair of somewhat similar teams. York Suburban is jumping up from Division III to Division II, Northeastern from Division II to Division I. Both return plenty of starters. Both have a quarterback who tossed for 1,200-plus yards last fall. Both have the potential to do some damage in their respective divisions. Oh, and this could be a high-scoring affair considering both have questions on defense. Also of note this week, Dallastown is at West York.

Week 3, York Catholic vs. Berks Catholic: York Catholic has a lot of talent returning, most of it on offense. Berks Catholic went 14-1 last fall, winning the District 3-AA title along the way, but must replace 24 seniors and nine All-Berks League picks. Still, Berks Catholic is expected to reload and be strong again. If the Irish can hold their own in this game, it will say a lot about what they’ll be able to do in Division III this fall.

Week 4: Three games to watch here. The winner of York Catholic at Delone Catholic will likely be a contender for the Division III crown. The winner of Gettysburg at Dover should go on to challenge West York for the Division II crown. And Central York at Northeastern says more about the Bobcats than it does the Panthers. If Northeastern and its 17 returning starters win here, it could be just the start of solid season in Division I for the Bobcats.

Week 5: Three games here, too. If York High is to contend for the Division I crown this fall, it will need a victory at Dallastown. Delone Catholic at Littlestown will play a role in the Division III race. South Western, meanwhile, has high hopes this fall, and avenging last year’s 42-0 drubbing to the Panthers will be on the minds of the Mustangs when they travel to Central York.

Week 6: Hard to choose the best game of Week 6. For York Catholic, this starts a string of three tough matchups that will determine its fate in Division III, beginning with a home game against defending division champ Littlestown. Spring Grove at York High and Dallastown at Northeastern will make the Division I race a bit more clear.

Week 7: Another intriguing trio. For Bermudian Springs, a home matchup with Delone Catholic will tell us how the Eagles stack up with Division III contenders York Catholic and Littlestown looming the following weeks. Central York travels to Spring Grove and South Western travels to Dallastown, with all four having the potential to still be in the thick of the Division I race at this point.

Week 8, Bermudian Springs at York Catholic: If the Irish are still undefeated in the division, which is a very real possibility, then the Eagles will be their last truly tough hurdle in York Catholic’s quest to win its first division title in more than two decades.

Week 9: Two games to keep an eye on. Littlestown at Bermudian Springs could decide the winner of Division III. Dover at West York will play a large role about who wins Division II. This is Dover’s last tough test in their attempt to win the division for the second year in a row, while West York has division contender Gettysburg looming in Week 10.

Week 10: This is the week we’ve all been waiting for. York High is expected to contend for the Division I crown. If the Bearcats live up to this billing, then their Week 10 trip to defending Division I champ Central York could very well decide who wins the crown this fall. Meanwhile, in Division II, Gettysburg hosts West York, a meeting of two teams who are expected to battle it out for the division title. Plus, this is the first meeting between the clubs since Gettysburg beat West York by five points in the District 3-AAA quarterfinals seven years ago, so there might be a little more than the division crown on the line here.

— Reach John Walk at jwalk@yorkdispatch.com.

By JOHN WALK
505-5406/@yorksportsguy

No longer will we hear about them on the high school gridirons of the York-Adams League.

Names such as lineman David Shaw (Spring Grove), quarterback Andrew Henry (Dallastown) and running backs Jeff Delaughter (Spring Grove) and Calvin Savary (York Tech). They’re a few, among many, big names gone to graduation.

However, there are plenty who could fill their void this fall. And just about all of them will have unique challenges and important roles to play if their teams hope to make any noise. These players will make their first attempts to do so this Friday, when the 2014 high school football season gets started.

Here, listed in alphabetical order, are some of the top York-Adams League players to watch out for this season, followed by a list of others to keep an eye on and others who are on the rise:

RB Colton Dull, Bermudian Springs, 6-2, 192 senior: Bermudian will need to find a new quarterback, replace its top wide receiver and a do-it-all tight end. As a result, the running game is the only sure bet for this ball club, considering it amassed 2,890 rushing yards last fall and the team’s top-three rushers are returning. That includes Dull (1,107 rushing yards, 14 touchdowns), who should be the ringleader of this unit once again.

FB-ILB Isaiah Green, Dover, 6-1, 197, senior: The Eagles had the top running game in the league in 2013, averaging 6.7 yards a carry. And Green is back after gouging out a team-high 1,161 rushing yards a year ago. Dover will need a new quarterback, but most of its line is returning, so look for Green to get even more action this fall when the Eagles defend their Division II crown.

WR-OLB Qua’Shawn Grooms, York Catholic, 5-9, 200, senior: The main target for quarterback Hakeem Kinard will be Grooms, who hauled in 39 catches for 632 yards and seven touchdowns last fall, earning a Division III first-team all-star nod.

QB Marcus Josey, Northeastern, 5-11, 150, junior: The Bobcats have nowhere to go but up with 17 starters back from a team that went 1-9 last fall, with four of the losses by six points or less. Second-year coach Jon Scepanski is switching to a spread wing-T attack on offense, likely to take advantage of the team’s top four rushers from last season returning. One would think Northeastern will continue to take advantage of the arm of Josey (1,246 passing yards last fall), and maybe we’ll see him rack up more than the 258 rushing yards he collected last season.

QB-CB Hakeem Kinard, York Catholic, 5-10, 175, senior: The Irish in 2013 placed third in the Division III standings and made it all the way to the District 3-A title game to finish with an 8-4 overall record, the program’s most wins since 2002 (9-3). And Kinard was the player who proved most troublesome last fall for opposing defenses, passing for 1,688 yards, rushing for 1,203 yards and scoring 33 total touchdowns. Kinard and a few returning talented receivers will play a large role if the Irish have any hopes of nabbing the program’s first division title since 1992.

WR-DB Dylan Krieger, Hanover, senior: The only areas Hanover (1-9 in 2013) was strong in last season came in the passing game, both offensively and defensively. That should continue into 2014 with the return of Krieger (45 receptions for 719 yards) at wideout and junior Kyle Krout taking over the full-time starting gig at quarterback after totaling 420 passing yards in limited time last fall.

QB Thomas Merkle, York Suburban, 5-11, 145, junior: The Trojans return eight starters on offense, led by Merkle, who tossed 1,367 passing yards last fall, contributing to the sixth-best passing offense in the league. He’ll have a pair of receivers to throw to in senior Jimmy Daglaris (12 receptions for 299 yards) and junior Collin Mailman (13 receptions for 196 yards), both of whom will have to step up to replace graduated wideouts Emmanuel McDowell (34 receptions for 584 yards) and Steve Salcedo (27 receptions for 346 yards).

MLB-RB Zack Stauffer, Spring Grove, 5-11, 205, senior: Stauffer last fall made 140 tackles, picked off three interceptions, scooped up two fumbles and collected four sacks en route to being a Division I All-Star selection. However, opposing offenses now won’t have to worry up front about lineman David Shaw, who has graduated and is now playing at the University of Maryland. As a matter of fact, Spring Grove will have to replace its entire defensive line, so Stauffer might have to fight his way through a few more blockers this season before bringing down the ball carrier.

QB-FS James Way, York High, 6-foot-4, 209 pounds, senior: In 2013, Way completed 117 of 208 pass attempts (56.3 percent) for 1,624 yards while also averaging 7.2 yards a carry on 142 rushes for 1,024 yards, totaling 25 combined touchdowns. Now a senior with coaching guru George Chaump taking over as the Bearcats’ offensive coordinator, and a few weapons at his disposal (running back Bryshon Sweeney, wide receiver Sae’quan Whitaker), Way could again take home Division I Player of the Year honors by season’s end.

Keep an eye on: OG Andrew Lawson (Spring Grove, jr), K Andrew Luckenbaugh (Spring Grove, jr), OT-DT Justin Tindull (Dallastown, sr), WR-SS Addison Quinones (Dallastown, sr), C-DT Sam Lowe (Red Lion, sr), TE-OLB Malik Allen (Dover, sr), OT-DT Levi Murphy (Dover, sr), RB-OLB David Livelsberger (Eastern York, sr), MLB-TE Lucas Barshinger (Eastern York, sr), C Logan Stover (West York, sr), OG, DE/DT Nick Kniery (West York, sr), RB-OLB Noah Townsley (West York, sr), WR-OLB Sawyer Robinson (York Suburban, sr), QB-FS Mason Flickinger (Fairfield, sr), OLB-FB Kody Reeser (Northeastern, jr).

On the rise: TE-LB Robert Romey (Central York, sr), OLB-FB Nick Erickson (Spring Grove, jr), DB Ian Slaven (Spring Grove, jr), OG-DT Zaire Willis (Dallastown, sr), RB-DT Kenny Holloway (Red Lion, sr), RB-DB Bryshon Sweeney (York High, sr), DT-OT Noah Hakes (Berm. Springs, sr), CB-WR Wyatt Gearhart (Berm. Springs, sr), RB-DB Jake Kadis (Delone Cath., sr), RB-DB Tavian Dorsey (Delone Cath., jr), WR-S Tyler Loucks (Delone Cath., sr), OT-DT Garret Ishman (Eastern York, sr), WR Tyler Lampe (Gettysburg, sr), QB Ross Campbell (West York, sr), WR Ian Lichty (West York, sr), WR-FS Terry Cains (West York, jr), RB-DB Nashid Bones (York Tech, sr).

—Reach John Walk at jwalk@yorkdispatch.com.


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