Defense leads the way to Dallastown's 3-0 start
While he may try to deflect any "team-to-beat" talk, even Dallastown coach Kevin Myers can't deny that his team enters Friday night's YAIAA Division I game against Spring Grove coming off back-to-back shutouts.
"I think it's on Northeastern and South Western myself," Myers laughed when asked about his squad having a potential target on its back. "We are very happy with 3-0, don't get me wrong. No disrespect to our opponents, but it's not like we played Cedar Cliff and Carlisle like South Western did."
Still, consecutive shutouts against a West York team that runs an exhausting no-huddle offense, followed by 35-0 win at Penn Manor — the only team that knocked off the Wildcats during the 2014 regular season — is impressive.
"I don't care who you played, to get two shutouts you have to play some solid defense to make that happen," Myers said. "I am really pleased with the moves we made in the offseason, putting some people in different positions. Obviously it's paid some dividends."
One of those changes was moving William Reilly, a solid outside linebacker, to the inside position. Reilly leads Dallastown with 30 tackles and three passes defended this season.
"At first I was a little worried because our defense wasn't bonding very well," Reilly said. "After Week 1 the chemistry seemed great, practice went really smoothly, and everything just clicked for us. I'd like to see what we can do in the future."
The 3-0 Wildcats will host the Rockets to open the league season. Spring Grove enters with a 1-2 record, but those losses came at District 3 power Cumberland Valley, and on the road against a good York Suburban team.
Sophomore Max Teyral is second on the team in tackles with 18 and senior Connor Green has 15 (12 of which are solo) with 1.5 sacks.
Reilly said the blanking of West York boosted the team, and helped the Wildcats avenge last season's loss to the Comets.
"I think it gave us a little more confidence. That was something we definitely needed in our defense," he said. "We graduated a lot of good players and had a lot of younger players. They just had to realize that they could get the job done. (Penn Manor) handed our butts to us. It felt good to reciprocate that."
The team is performing well after graduating 2014 YAIAA Player of the Year Addison Quinones, who is getting playing time as a freshman at Johns Hopkins.
"Our pass defense and our secondary has probably been a little better than it's been the last couple years," said Myers. "Last year we couldn't get off the field on third down to save our life.
"Last year I think guys counted on Addison and Justin Tindull, one or two guys to make a play. This year we don't have that. It's truly team effort out there. We are getting 11 hats to the ball and that's all we ask for. Everyone is doing their job. They do what they are coached to do and don't try to do too much."
So does this early success mean the Wildcats are the team to beat? Will they repeat as Division I champs? Reilly wouldn't bite on that.
"We don't really listen to all of that around here," he said. "We know there's a lot of teams in the league that could easily beat us if we don't prepare for them. We like to think that every week is going to be a battle."