York/Adams preview

2015 Overview

By Matt Goul

mgoul@GameTimePA.com

@mgoul on Twitter

 

A frigid afternoon at Hersheypark Stadium is where the high school football season closed last fall for the YAIAA. Such conditions seem far away, but that stage is the goal for every District 3 team under the sun prepping for this upcoming season.

 

Here are eight storylines to keep in mind as the season approaches:

1. How will Red Lion cope?

This was supposed to be a big year for Stone Hill, the two-year starting middle linebacker in Red Lion’s defense. It also was supposed to be a fall in which Nick Mankin flourished on the offensive line after starting for the first time in 2014.

Everything that was supposed to happen changed in mid-June, when Hill and Mankin died from a car crash in Lower Chanceford Township, about 15 miles southeast of Horn Field, where they played their high school football games. The Lions will take the field this fall remembering their friends and teammates. Jesse Shay and his coaching staff will guide them.

But no one can say for sure how this fall will affect the teens who take the field for at least 10 Friday nights this fall.

Red Lion opens at Hershey. It returns home in Week 2 against Manheim Township.

Both games will be emotional.

2. Coaching carousel comes to a stop

Six high school football head coaching jobs came open during the winter and spring across York and Adams counties.

Then a seventh opened.

Then an eighth.

At last check, no other football programs are making last-minute switches. The two late ones — Jason Warner taking over for Jason Thurston at New Oxford and Brian Hanson succeeding Matt Glennon at York County Tech — are especially difficult because of timing. While Warner and Hanson were being approved by their schools, others were preparing for team camps and other offseason activities. It helps that Warner and Hanson were already on staff for their programs. If not, the job could be too tall of a task.

As for the other moves, the biggest changes could come at West York, which brought back Jeremy Jones, and at Dover, which hired former Bulldogs assistant Wayne Snelbaker. A former West York offensive coordinator, Jones returns to after two constructive years at York Suburban. Snelbaker, meanwhile, will make some changes at Dover. On offense, the Eagles change from a run-heavy wing-T to a spread that should favor its returning players.

The musical coaching chairs trickled to Suburban, where Andy Loucks is now in charge after a year in the college ranks at Franklin & Marshall. He had been at Kennard-Dale before that but spent many Friday nights last season scouting local recruits for F&M.

One fit that should be a good one is Steve Wiles at Susquehannock. Including Wiles, the Warriors have shuffled through five coaches in eight seasons. A former Delone Catholic and Hanover coach, Wiles won two district titles at Delone at the Class AA and A levels.

3. Can the YAIAA’s bigger schools make postseason runs?

With so many coaching changes, the question of program stability must be raised around the league.

There are 23 teams in the YAIAA. Thirteen of those schools have made coaching changes since this year’s senior class came into high school in 2012.

Central York’s Brad Livingston is the dean at 33 seasons.

After him, the dropoff is steep: Bermudian Springs’ Jon DeFoe (16 years), Littlestown’s Mike Lippy (12) and Dallastown’s Kevin Myers (10) are the only other coaches with a decade of experience at their current schools.

The YAIAA has struggled beyond league play in Class AAAA or AAA. Red Lion is the only AAAA school to reach a district final since South Western in 2000. During that stretch in AAA, four YAIAA teams made it to the final. Only West York won a title in 2008.

Want to be like Wilson or Bishop McDevitt? Those District 3 powers don’t make too many changes at the top.

4. PIAA class expansion

Take it in. This could be the last time you see so many schools in your district playoff race. There might even be fewer spots up for grabs next year.

If the PIAA goes through with a proposal to expand from four classifications Week 11 could have a drastically different feel in 2016. A July plan put eight classes on the table.

Yes, that’s a year away, but it means this could be the last season for some familiar settings.

The sentiment from area coaches depends, usually on where their schools fit. Smaller schools are hesitant, especially in Class AA where eight teams currently qualify for the postseason. Many of the proposals call for four teams from each class making the postseason.

“I’d have a tough time telling our kids you’re 9-1 and our season’s over,” Biglerville’s Alex Ramos said earlier this year.

However, many coaches at AAAA and AAA schools like the idea of expansion. District 3 has 40 schools in AAA, one of the most congested in the state. Of those 40 schools, 16 currently make the playoffs. Expanding to five or six classifications would surely ease that congestion.

“A state our size probably does need five,” South Western’s Damian Poalucci said. “I’m not sure six is needed.”

5. Who can corral the Mustangs?

Speaking of Poalucci, his South Western squad looks like the richest — in terms of talent — among YAIAA Division I teams. The Mustangs finished 5-5 last year in a three-way tie for second place in the division, but they also held a 21-point lead on the road at Dallastown before falling to the eventual division champion. With quarterback Brock Geiman and a slew of weapons, including versatile junior Drew Hartlaub and 6-foot-3 senior receiver Noah Staub, the Mustangs will be potent. The defense has some question marks with junior Seth Janney’s recent transfer to Malvern Prep. He would have been one of the top pass rushers in the league. They also lost leading tackler Tyler Jachelski and secondary standout Ryan Krebs (six interceptions in 2014) to graduation.

That means a team that can score might be able to keep up.

Central York will be able to start with returning quarterback Nik Strine. Northeastern could be a dark horse with most of its team back, including its quarterback and top three running backs. Dallastown and Red Lion, last year’s lone playoff teams from Division I, also bring back their quarterbacks and a few other standouts.

6. Does Division II still belong to West York or Dover?

The Bulldogs and Eagles have combined to win or share the last eight titles. The other programs that claimed shares of those championships (Northeastern and Littlestown) aren’t even in Division II anymore.

So look around the current D-II landscape. Gettysburg, which became West York’s toughest challenger last season, was hit hard by graduation. Susquehannock and Kennard-Dale combined for two wins in 2014.

That leaves Eastern York and York Suburban.

The Golden Knights are coming off a playoff appearance and have some pieces to work with for second-year coach Dave Kemmick. One big question is replacing the heart of Eastern’s defense in graduated linebacker Lucas Barshinger.

At Suburban, where Andy Loucks takes over for new West York coach Jeremy Jones, the Trojans have the league’s most potent aerial combo: QB Thomas Merkle and top target Collin Mailman. Both ranked second in the YAIAA as juniors in passing and receiving yards.

7. Will a new team rise in Division III?

Talk about heavy hits from graduation: Bermudian Springs suffered them.

The majority of the Eagles’ offensive line is gone, as are their two 1,000-yard rushers and quarterback, who also tied a school record for interceptions as a cornerback. No one will feel sorry for coach Jon DeFoe’s bunch, but no one will be surprised if they are players in the league chase.

Biglerville and York Catholic bring much more back this season, and that’s despite Catholic graduating all-purpose quarterback Hakeem Kinard. Both teams should be strong defensively, while the Canners bring back a versatile running back in senior Scott Cooper.

8. Experience under center

Three of the league's top five passers are back this season, and 16 YAIAA schools will have an experienced quarterback entering August practices. Only seven schools will need to break in a new QB. Kyle Krout of Hanover and Thomas Merkle of York Suburban were first and second in passing yardage a season ago. Brock Geiman was fifth.

By division, here’s how many schools have a returning starter at quarterback:

• Division I: 7 of 8

• Division II: 4 of 7

• Division III: 5 of 8

Contact Matt Goul at 771-2045.

Players to watch

Read all York/Adams players to watch profiles

Team list

Schedule

Week 1

Friday, Sept. 4

Red Lion 40, Hershey 20

Red Land 17, York Suburban 7

Boiling Springs 35, Littlestown 0

Northeastern 40, York Catholic 7

Dover 42, Shippensburg 17

Eastern York 24, Columbia 0

Hanover 33, James Buchanan 0

Central York 31, West York 28

Reading 36, William Penn 0

New Oxford 24, Bermudian Springs 21

Cumberland Valley 33, Spring Grove 0

Northern York 38, Susquehannock 14

Newport 42, Fairfield 0

Dallastown 26, Lancaster Catholic 14

South Western 38, Gettysburg 13

Annville-Cleona 39, Biglerville 36 (2OT)

Trinity 42, Delone Catholic 28

Waynesboro 60, Kennard-Dale 28

 

Saturday, Sept. 5 

York County Tech 27, Pequea Valley 21 (OT)

Week 2

Friday, Sept. 11

Boiling Spring 21, Bermudian Springs 0

Big Spring 36, Dover 35

Cedar Cliff 42, South Western 14

Cumberland Valley 48, Central York 6

Delone Catholic 39, Columbia 16

Fairfield 34, James Buchanan 6

Gettysburg 21, New Oxford 14

Hanover 41, Kennard-Dale 14

Greencastle-Antrim 51, Littlestown 13

Manheim Township 22, Red Lion 15

Middletown 19, Northern York 16

Carlisle 54, Red Land 49

Spring Grove 17, Mechanicsburg 14

Susquehannock 24, York Catholic 14

Waynesboro 14, Biglerville 13

Dallastown 10, West York 0

J.P. McCaskey 31, William Penn 12

Eastern York 19, York County Tech 12

Northeastern 31, York Suburban 24

 

Week 3

Friday, Sept. 18

Union City (TN) 56, Delone Catholic 0

Hempfield 42, Central York 14

Dallastown 35, Penn Manor 0

Red Lion 35, West York 14

Red Land 38, Dover 14

Waynesboro 33, Gettysburg 0

Hanover 13, Eastern York 6

Northeastern 30, Susquehannock 21

Berks Catholic 40, York Catholic 17

Lancaster Catholic 28, Littlestown 13

Northern York 42, Mechanicsburg 13

York Suburban 29, Spring Grove 22

Shippensburg 26, Bermudian Springs 16

South Western 17, Carlisle 14

Biglerville 27, New Oxford 13

Silver Oak Academy (Md.) 47, Fairfield 7

Saturday, Sept. 19

Kennard-Dale 34, York County Tech 20

Harrisburg 41, William Penn 0

 

Week 4

Friday, Sept. 25

Northern York 51, James Buchanan 0

Souther Western 21, New Oxford 6

Exeter Township 35, Susquehannock 0

Dover 25, Gettysburg 14

Northeastern 42, Central York 0

Hanover 22, Bermudian Springs 14

York Suburban 34, Kennard-Dale 12

Littlestown 23, York County Tech 6

Biglerville 47, Fairfield 0

Red Lion 70, William Penn 6

West York 42, Eastern York 21

Hershey 34, Red Land 7

Dallastown 20, Spring Grove 10

York Catholic 29, Delone Catholic 24

 

Week 5

Friday, Oct. 2

Bermudian Springs 42, Fairfield 12

Dallastown 50, William Penn 14

Dover 7, Eastern York 6

York Suburban 38, Ephrata 6

Susquehannock 21, Gettysburg 7

Delone Catholic 26, Littlestown 7

Spring Grove 37, New Oxford 7

Northern York 13, Waynesboro 7

Susquehanna Township 50, Red Land 14

Northeastern 14, Red Lion 13

Hanover 20, York Catholic 13

 

Saturday, Oct. 3

Biglerville 23, York County Tech 6
West York 42, Kennard-Dale 19

Monday, Oct. 5

 

South Western 35, Central York 14

Week 6

Friday, Oct. 9

Biglerville 21, Delone Catholic 6

Dover 41, Kennard-Dale 20

Hanover 53, Fairfield 14

Eastern York 33, Gettysburg 3

Lower Dauphin 35, Red Land 0

Central York 38, New Oxford 19

Dallastown 15, Northeastern 12

Northern York 17, Big Spring 10

South Western 31, Red Lion 14

York Suburban 47, Susquehannock 14

Spring Grove 48, William Penn 20

York Catholic 35, Littlestown 14

Bermudian Springs 34, York County Tech 8

 

Saturday, Oct. 10

Delaware Valley Charter 37, West York 29

Week 7

Friday, Oct. 16

Bermudian Springs 20, Delone Catholic 17

York Catholic 27, Biglerville 20

Hanover 36, Littlestown 14

Kennard-Dale 21, Gettysburg 14 (OT)

Reading 26, Dover 7

Big Spring 21, Red land 7

Red Lion 61, New Oxford 21

Northern York 24, Shippensburg 19

Spring Grove 24, Central York 14

Susquehannock 42, Eastern York 20

Northeastern 35, William Penn 8

York Suburban 23, West York 22

Dallastown 29, South Western 21

 

Saturday, Oct. 17

York County Tech 30, Fairfield 14

Week 8

Friday, Oct. 23

Red Lion 42, Central York 7

Dallastown 43, New Oxford 13

Northeastern 30, Spring Grove 0

South Western 46, William Penn 0

Delone Catholic 51, Fairfield 28

Biglerville 41, Littlestown 20

Bermudian Springs 20, York Catholic 17

Hanover 53, York County Tech 16

York Suburban 55, Dover 27

Kennard-Dale 18, Eastern York 14

Conrad Weiser 47, Gettysburg 0

West York 34, Susquehannock 31

Red Land 48, Mechanicsburg 16

Northern York 38, Greencastle-Antrim 14

 

Week 9

Friday, Oct. 30

Bermudian Springs 35, Littlestown 0

Dallastown 33, Central York 14

Eastern York 48, Pine Grove 0

York Catholic 59, Fairfield 14

Biglerville 42. Hanover 21

Lower Dauphin 38, Northern York 7

Bishop McDevitt 41, Red Land 14

Red Lion 28, Spring Grove 14

Susquehannock 35, Kennard-Dale 17

West York 39, Dover 14

New Oxford 26, William Penn 14

Delone Catholic 49, York County Tech 28

York Suburban 45, Gettysburg 14

South Western 24, Northeastern 7

 

 

Week 10

Friday, Nov. 6

Biglerville 17, Bermudian Springs 14

Central York 42, William Penn 0

Hanover 45, Delone Catholic 20

Susquehannock 44, Dover 13

East Pennsboro 28, Northern York 7

York Suburban 30, Eastern York 7

West York 52, Gettysburg 14

Millersburg 7, Kennard-Dale 6

Littlestown 72, Fairfield 36

Northeastern 45, New Oxford 7

Cedar Cliff 56, Red Land 34

Red Lion 26, Dallastown 0

Spring Grove 28, South Western 21

 

Saturday, Nov. 7

York Catholic 56, York County Tech 8

Week 11

Friday, Nov. 13

District 3 Tourmament

Class AAAA

First round

Hempfield 23, South Western 21

Central Dauphin East 42, Dallastown 21

Cumberland Valley 48, Red Lion 21

Class AAA

First round

Northern York 30, York Suburban 16

Northeastern 48, Northern Lebanon 12

Manheim Central 51, Spring Grove 3

Class AA

Quarterfinals

Biglerville 30, Hanover 7

Week 12

Friday, Nov. 20

District 3 Tournament

Class AAA

Quarterfinals

Bishop McDevitt 49, Northern York 21

Susquehanna Township 42, Northeastern 14

Class A

Semifinals

York Catholic 21, Steel-High 14

 

Saturday, Nov. 21

District 3 Tournament

Class AA

Semifinals

Wyomissing 42, Biglerville 14

Week 13

Friday, Nov. 27

District 3 Tournament

Class A

Championship

Camp Hill 40, York Catholic 28