Now that the first week of high school football is in the books, it's time to bring back our weekly YAIAA power rankings.
First, a word on the process behind this list: Don't think of this as a straight-on measure of which team is better in a head-to-head sense -- obviously, if that were the case, the top five would be loaded with Class AAA and AAAA teams all the time. Instead, think of these as a gauge primarily of which team is playing the best, with record, quality of opponent(s), classification, etc., also factored in.
It's all very scientific. Or not.
That said, please chime in with your own take -- criticisms welcome! -- in the comments section. Let's get this discussion going.
Now, to our first Top 10 of the season...
1. West York -- Really the only pick here that I didn't have to labor over. The Bulldogs (1-0) beat Central York, 24-7, but it probably wasn't that close. The most impressive part of the night was West York's defense. If that group can get penetrate into the backfield all night like it did against the Panthers, opponents are going to have a hard time moving the football.
2. South Western -- Mike Felton is gone, but this team is similar to last year's group in a lot of ways. They probably haven't gotten as much credit as they should have coming into the season, and after a 41-6 rout of Gettysburg there are plenty of reasons to believe the Mustangs (1-0) will play a big factor in the Division I race. That said, the road gets harder with games against Cedar Cliff and Central Dauphin coming up.
3. Bermudian Springs -- A workmanlike performance by the Eagles (1-0) on opening night, especially on defense. New Oxford finished with minus-10 total yards during a 21-0 loss, and Berm's retooled offense managed 261 rushing yards. The passing game (4-of-13, 2 INTs) could probably use some fine-tuning going forward.
4. Northeastern -- It wasn't a Picasso by any means, but a victory over a scary York Catholic team is a pretty good way to start a season. Senior running back Daniel Adams was the workhorse for the Bobcats (1-0), racking up 173 rushing yards and two scores on 28 carries. The 28 points allowed don't look great, but keep in mind how dangerous the Irish's attack is. Not to mention Northeastern got some key stops in the fourth quarter.
5. Dover -- You can question the quality of competition but hey, a 52-point win is a 52-point win. We'll get a better sense of Dover's staying power in the coming weeks, but those 483 rushing yards from Week 1 are pretty reminiscent of what Bill Miller's team did week-in and week-out last season. And don't forget, the Eagles (1-0) had five touchdowns called back against Hanover because of penalties. Yikes.
6. Littlestown --The Thunderbolts (1-0) can probably take some confidence from the fact that they were able to win without their vaunted passing game playing much of a factor. And a shutout victory is always a good confidence-builder out of the chute.
7. York Suburban -- A little shaky at times last week, as the Trojans (1-0) almost blew a 21-point lead to Susquehannock. The turnovers (five total) will need to be cleaned up heading into division play.
8. Biglerville -- James Buchanan may be in rebuild mode, but putting up a 56-spot still sparkles. So does the Canners' (1-0) 8 yards-per-carry average from that opening-night victory.
9. Delone Catholic -- A shoddy second half overshadowed an inspired first 24 minutes last Friday against powerful Trinity. A somewhat inexperienced Squires (0-1) team led 27-21 at the half before allowing 28 unanswered. Not much of a gap between any of these Division III teams.
10. Dallastown -- Still a believer in this group, despite Roman Clay's video game-esque outing. Lancaster Catholic is one of the top football programs in the state, and the Wildcats hung with them in chunks. If the offense is going to score like it did last week, the Wildcats (0-1) will win games.
Central York -- Lot to improve on from that loss to the Bulldogs, but here's my glass-half-full look: The Panthers defense, a question mark coming into the season, held its own for much of the night and forced two turnovers. It's just that Central's inability to move the ball didn't afford them much time to rest. The glass-half-empty look: With Cumberland Valley coming up, it may get worse for Central before it gets better.
York Catholic -- How exciting will this offense be to watch? James Dougherty is electric at quarterback. Matt Lehr may be the league's most overlooked running back. Aaron O'Brien, Joseph Rost, Qua'Shawn Grooms and others make up a formidable receiving corps. If the defense toughens up, this team could throw a wrench in the Division III race.