YAIAA football end-of-season power rankings
Another football season has come and gone in York and Adams Counties. Here is the final edition of our power rankings, as we take a look back at some of the top teams in the league this season.
1. Central York -- The Panthers had a 15-point, second-half lead against Central Dauphin, but couldn't finish the job in a 28-21, District 3-AAAA semifinal defeat. Still, Central York (10-3) pieced together a fine season, one highlighted by an opening night win over rival West York and, later, a thrilling upset of Governor Mifflin in the district quarterfinals. The team's success was set up by a speed-infused defense and an efficient passing game. Quarterback Brandon Baker fired an incredible 31 touchdown passes, 20 of those to fellow senior Jalil Ford.
2. West York -- One of the overlooked facts of this West York team is just how young the Bulldogs (10-3) are. That certainly wasn't lost on the team's coaches, which have a rock solid foundation on which to build the next few seasons. For now, they say goodbye to group of 15 seniors, headlined by quarterback Kaden Hepler, receiver/safety Jerrin Toomey and lineman Robert Tanner. That group helped West York win a share of its fifth-straight YAIAA Division II championship and advance to its third District 3-AAA semifinal in four years.
3. South Western -- How do you chose between these top three teams? Central York beat West York. South Western beat Central York. West York beat South Western. The Mustangs (10-3) saw an incredible late-season run fizzle in the district quarterfinals against Cumberland Valley, but not before they won six straight games and an outright YAIAA Division I title. But this season was about much more than wins and losses. It was about a team and a community coming together following the death of junior receiver Ben Bynaker. South Western's emotional win against Central York that week -- and the outpouring of support showed around the league -- was undoubtedly one of the highlights of the high school season.
4. Bermudian Springs -- The Eagles (11-1) bulldozing season thudded to a close in the District 3-AA semifinals against Wyomissing, in the form of a 34-7 defeat. Still, Bermudian's season was a record-breaking one for the program, which peeled off 11 straight wins and rolled to a YAIAA Division III title. The signature victory was likely a 22-15 storming of Delone Catholic in Week 6. The numbers posted by senior running backs Tyler Fitzkee and Adam Berryman were simply staggering. Fitzkee compiled team-highs in rushing yards (1,595) and rushing touchdowns (26). Berryman was not far behind (1,581, 19).
5. Dover -- The Eagles were a major part of a crowded Division II field. Dover lost just one regular season game -- at Northeastern in Week 8 -- en route to a 9-1 regular season record and a share of the program's first Division II title. That run included a 30-27 home win against rival West York, one which came without the services of prolific senior tailback Tanner Link (1,784 rushing yards, 25 TDs). Not even Link's heroics could lift the Eagles, however, in a 45-40, first-round playoff loss to Susquehanna Township.
6. Delone Catholic -- The Squires cruised to a 9-1 regular season and got as a reward ... a trip to high-scoring Trinity in the first round of the District 3-AA playoffs. That excursion ended in a 49-27 defeat to the Shamrocks, and an abrupt finish to another fine season in McSherrystown. Quarterback Brett Smith paced a dangerous passing attack (1,380 yards, 21 TDs), while backs Tyler Smith and Colby McMaster each topped 800 yards rushing.
7. Red Lion -- A year removed from their District 3-AAAA title game appearance, the Lions 2011 season was one of ups and downs. They lost their first two games. Then won the next five. Then lost the next two. When healthy, Red Lion (6-5) had the talent to hang with any team in the area. But a combination of injuries and other concerns meant Pat Conrad and his staff weren't always dealing with a full deck.
8. Northeastern -- It was a landmark season for Northeastern (6-5), which won a share of its first Division II title and made its first appearance in the District 3-AAA playoffs. All this in just the program's fourth season of varsity football. The Bobcats earned a season-defining upset of Dover, before faltering to division rival West York twice: first in Week 9, then in the first round of the district playoffs.
9. Littlestown -- At least one thing did not change for the Thunderbolts this season: Mike Lippy and co. found another prolific quarterback. This time it was junior Dustin Crouse. He finished the season with 2,138 passing yards and 20 touchdowns. If Littlestown can tighten up on defense and improve its running game, it should be a major player next season.
10. York Suburban -- Brian Freed's first season at the Trojans' helm was a successful one. After a two-win season in 2010, Suburban went 6-4 and finished in the top half of the Division III standings. The best may be yet to come, too, with talented playmakers like Jaime Nixon-Alark, Marquese Dillon and Isaiah Randall due back next season.
Honorable mentions: Biglerville, Dallastown, York Catholic