South Western looking to limit turnovers
We've paid plenty of attention to Dallastown and Red Lion in the past few weeks, and with reason. Based on records, the two could be considered the favorites in a crowded YAIAA Division I field. Meanwhile, last year's co-champions have flown under the radar a bit. Both South Western and Central York are 3-2. Both will certainly be factors -- one way or another -- in this division race. The Mustangs in particular are an interesting case. In last week's loss to West York, South Western committed six turnovers. It has a minus-six turnover ratio for the season. And yet, Mustangs coach Don Seidenstricker said Thursday the team is actually on pace to pile up the most total yards in the coach's 25-year tenure. "What we've done this year in our two losses," Seidenstricker said, "we've kind of shut ourselves down with penalties or turnovers." Imagine what that offense can do if it gets out of its own way. In five games, South Western has racked up 1,944 yards of offense, 1,400 of that coming on the ground. Only Littlestown has more total yards (2,163). South Western will have eliminate those mistakes when it visits Dallastown Friday at 7 p.m. That figures to be one of the marquee matchups of the opening weekend of division play. The division's lone unbeaten against its defending co-champion. "They are the complete package," Seidenstricker said of Dallastown. "As I look at our scout sheets from the last couple years, I'm counting eight guys who played a significant amount on offense and seven on the defense. "The first thing you expect is, they're not going to give us anything. These are experienced kids who have won a lot of football games." An even bigger focus this week, Seidenstricker said, has been tightening up on defense. South Western enters the game having allowed 19.8 points per game. Not awful, but that number is also good for second worst in the division. Then again, every game figures to be important in a tough-to-figure division. In our print edition to tomorrow, I wrote a bit about the top-to-bottom strength of Division I this season. I didn't talk to Seidenstricker in time to get his comments into the print story, but the longtime coach is more qualified than just about anybody to assess the state of the division. "To see our division with the number of teams that have winning records to this point, what we talked about way back on media day is starting to bear itself out," he said. "I think the coaching has become better, the concepts. For many years, we've embraced a program concept, 7-12 (7th grade through 12th grade). That's what you're starting to see. ... You're seeing a lot more coaches putting in more time. "The other thing that happens, when you do end up putting as much time in in the offseason, I think some sophomore players and even some juniors may have gotten lost in the shuffle earlier in the season. Coaches are willing to play some of those younger kids. There are more chances to see them, with 7-on-7s."