Northern York coach Greg Bowman entered his first year at the helm with the goal of changing the culture of the football program.
The team that was once at the top of the Mid Penn Colonial Division won just six games in its last two seasons.
Bowman knew this season needed to start with a victory at Susquehannock on Friday night, a team Northern York beat last year. He got what he wished for in a 38-14 drubbing of the Warriors in front of the home crowd on opening night.
"We're thrilled," Bowman said. "I think we still have a lot of work to do, but it's a win. It's a great way to start the season."
Bowman's team signed a football and gave it to him as a reward for the victory. As he trotted off the field with ball in hand, one of his assistants walked up to him to say congratulations.
"Complete 180 from last year," the assistant told Bowman.
"I hope so. I'm excited about it," Bowman said, shaking his hand.
Northern York got off on the right foot with the help of running back Michael Kearney and fullback Bobby Shelly. They were the biggest offensive threats for the Polar Bears, rushing for a combined 257 yards and three touchdowns.
What makes this tandem interesting is that Shelly converted from running back to fullback this season, helping to block for his teammate instead of taking the bulk of carries.
"Coach Bowman came and changed the program entirely, and we won for him," Shelly said. "I think (we) work as a great tandem. I get the job done on the inside, and Mike just lights it up on the outside."
Kearney, who scored the first and last touchdowns of the game, had 177 yards on 24 carries.
"Our offensive line was great tonight. There were big holes," Kearney said. "Our power and isolation (formations) were great, and Bobby did a great job with those."
Kearney and Shelly weren't the only duo that Northern York had to work with. Bowman used both Curtis Robison and Justin Markle at quarterback, a move both players supported.
Both quarterbacks threw touchdown passes to wide receiver Andrew Swaisgood, who finished with 44 yards.
Josh Stoneberg led the way for Susquehannock, throwing for 164 yards. The highlight of his night was a pump-fake that allowed wide receiver Nick Tannura to get by the Northern York safeties and catch a 75-yard touchdown.
Nor — Michael Kearney 1 rush (Juarez kick), 4:14).
Nor — Andrew Swaisgood 20 pass from Justin Markle (Coover kick), 10:55.
Sus — Nick Tannura 75 pass from Josh Stoneberg (Juarez kick), 9:00.
Nor — Bobby Shelly 10 rush (Coover kick), 7:10.
Nor — Coover 31 kick, 0:00
Nor — Swaisgood 24 pass from Curtis Robison (Coover kick), 5:23.
Nor — Kearney 3 rush (Coover kick), 7:03
Sus — Caleb Oestrike 40 fumble recovery, (1:31)
NorSusFirst downs209 Rushes-yards48-32926-127 Passing4-6-07-10-0 Passing yards48164 Total yards377291Fumbles-lost1-02-1Penalties-yards4-25 5-45
Rushing — Nor, Bobby Shelly 13-80, Curtis Robison 2-9, Justin Markle 2-19, Jake Cromer 7-44, Michael Kearney 24-177. Sus, Kevin Clapp 7-26, Myles Moultrie 7-27, Dorian Faster 2-32, Josh Stoneberg 10-42
Passing — Nor, Curtis Robison 3-5-0-28, Justin Markle 1-1-0-20. Sus, Stoneberg 7-10-0-164
Receiving — Nor, Jason Delozier 1-4, Andrew Swaisgood 3-44. Sus, Dorian Faster 2-40, Nick Tannura 5-124.