No YAIAA football team will face a more unenviable task this weekend than Dallastown. The Wildcats will board a bus bound for Mechanicsburg on Friday night, where they will play a District 3-AAAA first-round playoff game against none other than 12-time district champion Cumberland Valley. The Eagles (9-1) are once again the tournament's top seed, as they search for a third straight district crown.

Of course, Dallastown is happy just to be playing next week.

As of late last Friday, the Wildcats thought they were finished. That much was evident after a 27-24 loss to Red Lion, as Dallastown's senior players exchanged teary-eyed hugs with their coaches and each other. The Wildcats had entered the week ranked 17th in the district power rankings, one spot shy of a playoff berth. A defeat appeared to seal their fate.

But when the district power rankings were released, Dallastown was in. A string of favorable results had allowed it to finish just .004055 points ahead of Carlisle.

Come midday Saturday, Wildcats coach Kevin Myers and his staff were turning their attention toward the district's most powerful program.

"I thought we were done," Myers said this week. "The kids thought they were done. In a sense, it focused us. The kids aren’t taking this week for granted."

Remember, the Wildcats are just one year removed from a 10-0 season that landed them the No. 1 seed in districts. Dallastown was hammered by graduation, and returned few impact players on both sides of the ball this year.

So while 4-6 may not look like much, there is plenty for Myers and his staff to build on. After last Friday's game, the coach said this year's team had improved as much as any he's ever had at Dallastown.

If nothing else, the Wildcats young players will get a taste of playoff football.

After last week, it's an opportunity they feel lucky to have.

"Make no mistake, we know what we’re up against," Myers said. "We know we’re going to have to play a heck of a game."


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