Football season is upon us, folks. YAIAA Media Day is Thursday, and practices will officially begin the following Monday.
In attempt to get everybody out there in blog-land revved up for the upcoming season, we'll be reliving a few memorable moments from last season. Throughout the next week or so leading up to media day, we'll be counting down the five most thrilling games from 2009. As always, we here at the Varsity Beat welcome your feedback, and would love to hear your favorite games and memories from the 2009 campaign. Stop by the comments section or drop us an email at email@example.com. Maybe we'll put up a post with fan responses when all is said and done.
Without further adieu, let's get started with No. 5...
Week 3September 18West York 26, Red Lion 21
Red Lion's Horn Field provided a picturesque setting for this matchup of two teams with high hopes for the 2009 season. West York had rolled into last fall fresh off a District 3 Class AAA championship, while Red Lion boosted some promising talent throughout its roster.
For most the game, everything seemed to go the Lions way. At various points, the Bulldogs had a 95-yard touchdown run called back for holding, were stopped on a fourth-and-goal on the stroke of halftime and even fell victim to a brilliant onside kick call by Red Lion coming out of halftime.
Red Lion took a 14-7 lead into the fourth quarter, setting the stage for a breathtaking, back-and-forth frame.
But in order to get back in the game, West York needed a bit of luck.
On a second-and-8 at midfield early in the quarter, Bulldogs quarterback Alex George completed a pass to Jerrin Toomey, who was hit immediately and fumbled. But while the rest of the players on the field stopped playing -- thinking the pass was incomplete -- Bulldogs receiver Dan Gay scooped the ball up and scampered 43 yards for a game-tying touchdown.
The teams traded touchdowns on their next possessions -- Red Lion on an 11-yard run by quarterback Chad Kelly, West York on a 32-yard screen pass from George to Darion Bundy.
But there was one more bit of misfortune waiting West York: Kicker Alex Scott missed a potentially game-tying extra point, leaving the Bulldogs down by one with 4:23 left.
Once again, West York dug deep. The Bulldogs forced a three-and-out, and tailback Corey Harris returned the ensuing punt 43 yards to the Red Lion 5-yard line. George muscled into the end zone on the next play with 2:29 remaining for what turned out to be the deciding score.
The game served as a springboard for West York, which won its first nine games and advanced all the way to the district quarterfinals. Red Lion would lose another heartbreaker the next week -- a 32-27 home defeat to William Penn -- and finish the season 4-6.
"We dominated the whole game, I felt, and gave up a couple of big plays to them," Lions coach Pat Conrad said then. "We played a hell of a football game tonight, but we've got to be able to come through."
Littlestown 47, West York 21: One game away from a perfect regular season and an outright DIvision II title, the Bulldogs were stunned at home by an explosive Bolts squad. Littlestown racked up 466 yards up offense, led by quarterback Matt Zuber's five touchdowns (three passing, two running). The Bolts sprinted out to a 28-14 lead at halftime, and were never seriously challenged after that.
The victory earned Littlestown (9-3, 6-1 Div. II) a share of the Division II title with West York.