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Editor's note: This is the last part of our division-by-division breakdown. Check out Division I here and Division II here.

OVERVIEW

We've talked ad nauseum about how deep this division is, but it bears repeating. Delone Catholic, Littlestown and Bermudian Springs will all be good again. York Suburban has real chance to take another step forward and contend for a title. And Biglerville is an intriguing dark horse.

Then there are teams like Eastern York, York Catholic and York County Tech, which should be improved but will have to contend with a brutal division slate. Don't be surprised to see some parody here throughout the season -- I'll go as far as saying I don't think any of the Division III teams go unbeaten through the 9-game league schedule.

POLE POSITION

If we're going to be doling out favorite tags, it makes sense to start with Bermudian Springs. The Eagles rolled to an undefeated regular season record last fall, and while they lost their two prolific running backs from that team -- Tyler Fitzkee and Adam Berryman -- Berm still brings back a lot of starters on both sides of the ball. Littlestown is led by 2,000-yard passer Dustin Crouse, and Delone Catholic is always strong.

The wild card here for me is York Suburban. The Trojans will have more speed and talent on offense than any team here. But how will those lines hold up? And will Suburban's lack of depth at certain positions come back to hurt them? Make no mistake though, this team has the ammunition to take home a championship.

And don't forget Biglerville, a 5-5 team from a year ago that could have easily been 8-2. York Catholic, with quarterback James Dougherty and running back Matt Lehr, won't a slouch either...

BREAKOUT PLAYER

Speaking of the Eagles, Berm has a tremendous history of churning out 1,000-yard running backs -- they've produced two of them in each of the last two seasons. This year, it looks like it might be Zach Stroup's turn. The senior saw some sporadic carries last season (19 for 90 yards and three touchdowns) but could be in line to see a big increase in that department this season. He's a fast player who's also physical enough to hold down a linebacker spot in Bermudian's defense. Keep an eye on him and senior quarterback Michael Moore, an underrated passer who quietly piloted the Eagles offense last season.

Other candidates: York Suburban coach Brian Freed has extolled the progress of senior Marquese Dillon, a dual-threat quarterback who will inherit full-time duties under center this year. ... Jake Kessler led Eastern York in receiving as a freshman last season. If the Golden Knights passing game can take another step forward, Kessler could post some solid numbers here.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

So many good candidates for this one. Dougherty and Lehr from York Catholic. Nixon-Alark from Suburban. Quarterbacks Brett Smith and Dustin Crouse from Delone and Littlestown, respectively.

But how can you pick against Eastern York running back Alex Cooley, who's 1,200 yards and change away from becoming the all-time leading rusher in YAIAA history?

The Golden Knights haven't had a winning season during Cooley's run with the school, but they can hardly attribute any blame for that to the 5-foot-7 senior. Cooley has topped the 100-yard mark in 12 of his last 13 games, and already has 3,170 career rushing yards to his name. He's versatile, too -- able to both gain tough yards inside and bounce outside to break the the big one. Admittedly, my picking him here is based in part on his career body of work -- if Eastern doesn't contend this season, it may be tough for him to win. But a runner as prolific as Cooley deserves some recognition, right?

BIGGEST GAME

Week 5: York Suburban at Bermudian Springs, Sept. 28, 7 p.m.

This is an interesting matchup on a lot of levels, not the least of which being that it could have some bearing on which team eventually walks away with a division title. But there are also two very divergent teams stylistically. York Suburban is all about speed and spreading the field. Bermudian is more old school Wing-T. Hard to know what to expect here, but I'll venture one guess: Get ready for a lot of points.

STAT PACK -- TOP RETURNERS

QuarterbacksDustin Crouse, Sr., Littlestown --126-of-246 (.512), 2,147 yards, 18 TDs, 10 INTs

James Dougherty, Sr., York Catholic -- 120-of-236 (.508), 2,134 yards, 16 TDs, 13 INTs

Brett Smith, Sr., Delone Catholic -- 66-of-112 (.589), 1,380 yards, 21 TDs, 6 INTs

Michael Moore, Sr., Bermudian Springs -- 51-of-100 (.510), 1,031 yards, 9 TDs, 4 INTs

Brady Goodfellow, Jr., Hanover -- 44-for-109 (.404), 579 yards, 5 TDs, 10 INTs

Running backs

Alex Cooley, Sr., Eastern York -- 242 carries, 1,950 yards, 8.06, 18 TDs

Oakley Fissel, Sr., Biglerville -- 159 carries, 1,148 yards, 7.22 avg., 13 TDs

Matthew Lehr, Sr., York Catholic -- 185 carries, 1,132 yards, 6.12 avg., 18 TDs

Calvin Savary, Jr., York County Tech -- 180 carries, 757 yards, 4.21 avg., 3 TDs

Jaime Nixon-Alark, Sr., York Suburban --  75 carries, 731 yards, 9.75 avg., 9 TDs

Wide receiversJaime Nixon-Alark, Sr., York Suburban -- 17 catches, 344 yards, 20.24 avg., 5 TDs

Jake Kessler, So., Eastern York -- 11 catches, 284 yards, 25.81 avg., 3 TDs

Joseph Rost, Sr., York Catholic --  13 catches, 205 yards, 15.77 avg., 2 TDs

PAST DIVISION CHAMPIONS

Note: The YAIAA went to a three-division format in 2004

2011: Bermudian Springs

2010: Littlestown

2009: Delone Catholic

2008: Delone Catholic, Bermudian Springs, Biglerville

2007: Delone Catholic

2006: Bermudian Springs

2005: Littlestown

2004: Littlestown

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Zach Miller, zmiller@GameTimePA.com | 8:31 PM Jul 19, 2016
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