Matt Allibone and Teddy Feinberg talk about the upcoming season of YAIAA Division III football.
After York Catholic made three straight appearances in the District 3 Class A title game, those around the program said it's time to get over the hump. And the PIAA's split into six classifications could be just what the doctor ordered.
At least that is what Fighting Irish coach Eric Depew is hoping as his team moves up to Class 2A, where there is no longer a district playoff game prior to the championship contest. The Irish have finished district runner-up in each of the past three years.
Between that and finishing only a game behind Division III co-champs Hanover and Biglerville in 2015, York Catholic has plenty to play for in the new campaign.
“The kids are excited about that going into this year I sensed through the summer we are hungry,” Depew said. “To be there three years in a row and come up short, division-wise we were right there and were short, I think the kids are hungry for that.”
One thing the group won’t do is rest on the laurels of past success.
“We talk about it and will more when we get into the season,” Depew said. “This is a very important year for us, we want to try to get over that hump. I expect us to be there so we don’t want to be satisfied with silver.”
Quarterbacks: Although he is entering his second season under center, Dan Yokemick is a four-year starter at various positions for the Irish. He completed 52 percent of his throws last year with 13 touchdowns.
Running backs: The Irish bring back a tandem that rushed for nearly 2,000 yards combined last year in senior Jakkar Kinard (1,319 yards, 15 TDs) and Yokemick (594, 9).
Receivers: Depew said this is an area of concern as most players who recorded catches last year have graduated. However, Depew has high hopes for 6-3 junior Riley Brennan.
Offensive line: There’s no shortage of size at York Catholic with Liam Landis (6-5, 350) and Matt Knauer (6-4, 295) leading the wall up front.
YAIAA Division III football players discuss a variety of topics, including their favorite NFL players and most embarrassing moments. Matt Allibone
Defensive line: Knauer had 30 tackles, four for loss with two sacks last season, and fellow senior Mike McKim will provide an athletic option while stepping in for graduated seniors.
Linebackers: Jake Hamilton (109) and Ryan Sewell (94) combined for 213 tackles as junior last season and are back to anchor the Irish defense.
Secondary: Yokemick (73 tackles, three interceptions) and Kinard (23, one) are solid in the secondary, and Depew is hoping the return of Brandon Kennedy will add depth to the mix.
There will likely be new faces in the kicking/punting game, but the staff is very high on what’s in the pipeline. Kick returning is covered with Kinard and others.
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Save the date
Depew isn’t one to point to a certain opponent, but opening the season at neighbor York Suburban will likely have the team fired up.
Big and athletic, York Catholic has a lot of experience returning from a team that has been very successful. There seems to be little reason to expect a drop off now.
In the huddle
Head coach: Eric Depew, (30-27 in five seasons) (DC)
Assistant coaches: Matt Sentz (OC), Brad Hayek, Dave Gardner, Paul Dormer
Class: 2A, YAIAA Division III
Enrollment: 328 (165)
Sept. 2 — York Catholic at York Suburban, 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 — York Catholic at Susquehannock, 7 p.m.
Sept. 16 — Berks Catholic at York Catholic, 7 p.m.
Sept. 23 — York Catholic at Delone Catholic, 7 p.m.
Sept. 30* — Hanover at York Catholic, 7 p.m.
Oct. 7 — Littlestown at York Catholic, 7 p.m.
Oct. 14 — York Catholic at Biglerville, 7 p.m.
Oct. 21 — Bermudian Springs at York Catholic, 7 p.m.
Oct. 28 — York Catholic at Fairfield, 7 p.m.
Nov. 4 — York County Tech at York Catholic, 7 p.m.
L // Northeastern // 7-40
L // Susquehannock // 14-24
L // @ Berks Catholic // 7-40
W // Delone Catholic // 29-24
L // @ Hanover // 13-20
W // @ Littlestown // 35-14
W // Biglerville // 27-20
L // @ Bermudian Springs // 17-20
W // Fairfield // 59-14
W // @ York County Tech //56-8
District 3 Class A
Semifinals // W // Steelton-Highspire // 21-14
Championship // L // Camp Hill // 40-28