The high school football season is just a few nights away.
We’ve already taken a look at which YAIAA teams have the toughest non-conference schedules.
Now, here are the games you need to circle on your calendar once the league season begins.
New Oxford at 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 joined the division in 2020. The division titles are” t won in Week 4, but this game could have major ramifications.
Red Lion at York High, Week 5
York High won this matchup over a struggling Red Lion team last year. But these two teams have played some classics in recent years. Red Lion scored two touchdowns in the final 3:26 to stun an unbeaten York High team by one point in 2018. York High overcame a 22-point second-half deficit against the Lions in 2020. The Bearcats have won the last three games. between these teams, but Jesse Shay’s Lions had won six straight before that. Can an improved Red Lion team challenge the Bearcats this year?
Central York at Dallastown, Week 6
Dallastown gave the undefeated Panthers a big challenge in a 31-21 win over Central York in Week 9 last season. But the Wildcats were clear underdogs in this contest. Will it be like that this time? Maybe, but maybe not. The Wildcats should be one of the top teams in Division I this year and Central York will be strong as well, but they have some questions to answer at quarterback. Of course, these questions should be answered in week 6.
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Delone Catholic at York Catholic, Week 6
This rivalry contest was played in Week 9 each of the last four seasons (or the penultimate Week 6 during the COVID-shortened 2020 season) and decided the YAIAA Division III title each time, with the two teams splitting the games . Even though the game has been moved up three weeks this season, it could still be the title-changing game. York Catholic returns plenty of talent from an 11-1 squad and Delone is determined to improve from 6-5. Regardless, this is a game that both teams will be excited about no matter what happens.
Dallastown at York High, Week 7
Last season’s final score of York High 36, Dallastown 20 doesn’t do this contest justice. It was a showcase between the two most dynamic players in the league. Bearcats running back Jahiem White rushed for 274 yards and four touchdowns on 19 carries, while Dallastown wide receiver Kenny Johnson caught eight passes for 192 yards. Both players have returned and committed to Power Five programs: White to West Virginia and Johnson to Pitt. And both teams could be even better than last season. Get the popcorn ready 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 try to prove they weren’t a one-year wonder, while the Colonials will try to reclaim the crown they won in 2020. Will this be the game that decides the title?
Bermudian Springs at Littlestown, Week 10
Two traditional powers coming off disappointing seasons by their standards. Bermudian snuck into the Class 3A playoffs with a 5-5 record, while the Bolts missed out by three points with a 4-6 mark. Both teams hope to be much better this season. And this game has been a classic in the past. Bermudian have won seven of their last 10 meetings, but six of those games have been decided by two scores or less. Will playoff berth or a share of the YAIAA Division III title be on the line this year?
Dallastown at Red Lion, Week 10
The most anticipated rivalry game in the league. This contest decided the league title shares in 2017 (Dallastown) and 2018 (Red Lion). And even recent years have provided some fireworks, even if there was less at stake. 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 hoping to improve, don’t be surprised if at least La playoff berth in Class 6A is up for grabs this year.
Spring Grove at Southwest, Week 10
This classic rivalry game has lacked juice in recent years because the two schools haven’t been competitive at the same time, or both were struggling. But with both teams coming off playoff seasons and hoping to be competitive, that could be different this season. Southwest certainly hopes it is. While the Mustangs went 6-5 last season, they lost, 35-0, to an excellent Spring Grove team in the season finale. Hosting the game this year, the Mustangs will be looking to bounce back a bit and secure a second straight playoff berth.
Central York at York High, week 10
The game was on everyone’s calendar. This contest has decided at least a portion of the last five YAIAA Division I titles. But after two wins over York High in 2017 and 2018, the Panthers have won their last three by wide margins. Last year’s game was expected to be close, but it ended in a 60-14 blowout of Central York as a torrential downpour prevented York High from finding a starting point while the Panthers take advantage of the constant good position of the field. This year? The Bearcats may be the preseason title pick with the league’s best running back and quarterback on their roster as Central York moves past the Beau Pribula era. Still, even York High coach Russ Stoner knows Central York is “the team to beat until we knock them down.” We hope for better weather and a tighter game this time.
Matt Allibone is a sports reporter for GameTimePA. He can be reached at 717-881-8221, [email protected] or on Twitter at @bad2theallibone.