Here are the games to watch
High school football season is just a few nights away.
We’ve already looked at which YAIAA teams have the toughest non-conference schedules.
Now here are the games that should be circled on your schedule once the league season has started.
New Oxford to Dover, week 4
Dover is expected to be a YAIAA Division II contender after two seasons in Division I. The Eagles’ first league game is a home game against New Oxford, a team that has gone 10-2 since joining. joined the division in 2020. The division titles aren’t won in Week 4, but this game could have major ramifications.
Red Lion at York High, Week 5
York High easily won this game against a struggling Red Lion side last year. But these two teams have played a few classics in recent years. Red Lion scored two touchdowns in the final 3:26 to stun an undefeated York High team by one point in 2018. York High overcame a 22-point second-half deficit against the Lions in 2020. The Bearcats won the last three contests between these teams, but Jesse Shay’s Lions had won six straight games before that. Can an upgraded Red Lion team challenge the Bearcats this year?
Central York to Dallastown, Week 6
Dallastown provided a tough challenge to the undefeated Panthers in a 31-21 win at Central York in Week 9 last season. But the Wildcats were clear underdogs in this contest. Will it be this time? Maybe, but maybe not. The Wildcats are expected to be one of the best teams in Division I this year and Central York will also be strong but will have some questions to answer at quarterback. Of course, these questions should be answered by week 6.
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Delone Catholic at York Catholic, Week 6
This rivalry contest has been played in Week 9 of the past four seasons (or the penultimate Week 6 of the COVID-abbreviated 2020 season) and decided the YAIAA Division III title each time – both teams sharing matches. Although the game has been brought forward three weeks this season, it could still be the game that rocks the title. York Catholic is bringing back a lot of talent from an 11-1 squad and Delone is determined to improve from a 6-5 mark. Either way, it’s a game that both teams get excited about no matter what.
Dallastown to York High, week 7
Last season’s final score from York High 36, Dallastown 20 does not do this contest justice. It was a showcase between the two most dynamic point guards in the league. Bearcats running back Jahiem White rushed for 274 yards and four touchdowns on 19 carries while Dallastown receiver Kenny Johnson caught eight passes for 192 yards. Both players are back and committed to the Power Five―White in West Virginia and Johnson in Pitt programs. And both teams could be even better than they were last season. Prepare the popcorn for this one.
Kennard-Dale at New Oxford, Week 7
Last season, the Rams established themselves as the team to beat in YAIAA Division II with a 17-7 win over New Oxford. This year, the Rams will be looking to prove they weren’t a one-year wonder as the Colonials look to reclaim the crown they won in 2020. Will the game decide the title?
Bermudian Springs to Littlestown, week 10
Two traditional powerhouses coming off disappointing seasons by their standards. The Bermudians snuck into the Class 3A playoffs with a 5-5 record while the Bolts missed out by three spots with a 4-6 mark. Both teams hope to be much better this season. And this game has been a classic in the past. The Bermudians have won seven of the last 10 clashes, but six of those games have been decided by two scores or less. Will playoff seeding or a share of the YAIAA Division III title be on the line this year?
Dallastown at the Red Lion, Week 10
The league’s most anticipated rivalry game. This contest decided championship title shares in 2017 (Dallastown) and 2018 (Red Lion). And even the last few years have provided some fireworks ― even if the stakes were less. Red Lion held off Dallastown, 28-21, in 2019 and then won a thriller, 56-49, in 2020. Dallastown won in a blowout last year, but with Red Lion expecting betterment, don’t be surprised if at least Class 6A playoff standings are on the line this year.
Spring Grove to South Western, week 10
This classic rivalry game has lacked juice in recent years because the two schools weren’t competitive at the same time ― or both were in trouble. But with both teams coming out of the playoffs expecting to be competitive, it could be different this season. South Western certainly hopes that will be the case. While the Mustangs went 6-5 last season, they lost 35-0 to a standout Spring Grove team in the season finale. Hosting the game this year, the Mustangs will want a payback — and secure a second straight playoff berth.
Central York to York High, Week 10
The game has circled on everyone’s schedule. This contest has decided at least a share of the last five YAIAA Division I titles. But after two York High wins in 2017 and 2018, the Panthers won the last three by wide margins. Last year’s game was expected to be close but ended in a 60-14 blowout at Central York as a torrential downpour prevented York High from finding a quick footing while the Panthers enjoyed a good constant position on the ground. This year? The Bearcats could be the preseason pick for the title with the league’s best running back and quarterback on its roster as Central York overtakes the Beau Pribula era. Yet even York High coach Russ Stoner knows that Central York is “always the team to beat until we knock them out”. Let’s hope for better weather and a tighter game this time around.
Matt Allibone is a sports reporter for GameTimePA. He can be reached at 717-881-8221, [email protected] or on Twitter at @bad2theallibone.