York Suburban senior Thomas Merkle entered Friday's Division II game with Susquehannock as arguably the top signal caller in the league with 952 yards and nine touchdowns through five games.
Merkle did nothing to dispel that against the Warriors in Week 6 as he completed 12-of-20 passes for four touchdowns, two that went to senior wide receiver Collin Mailman, who is the league's top receiver through five games.
Those two, along with a game-high 156 yards of rushing from senior running back Dajour Henderson, helped the Trojans pile up 535 yards of offense during a 47-14 win against Susquehannock. The win keeps York Suburban unbeaten in Division II along with Dover and West York.
"It was definitely a good performance," Merkle said. "We had the running game going. Everything was fantastic. We had a bunch of passing yards. It was a great overall. The defense stepped up. We only gave up 14 points. All around, it was a great game for us."
York Suburban, which dropped its first two games of the year by 10 at Red Land and by a touchdown at Division I Northeastern, has now won four straight and averaged 37 points per game during the run. This despite switching head coaches and offensive schemes this season as former Kennard-Dale head coach Andy Loucks came in for Jeremy Jones, who moved on to West York.
"(Switching systems) hasn't been hard at all and helps me in the long run," Merkle said. "From my ninth-grade year on, we did a lot of spread, no-huddle type of stuff. Before that, we did a lot of Pro-I stuff, now we're doing a mix. I think it is going to help me as a football player and in learning the game more."
Merkle said NCAA Division III schools Juniata, John Carroll University and Ithaca have talked to him about extending his career at the college level. He said he also talked a while back with Division II Shippensburg.
"We'll see how it goes after this season," Merkle said. "I just visited Juniata, and I am going to visit Ursinus in a week or two."
BAD SNAP CRITICAL TO EASTERN'S WIN >> Guess it's a good thing Eastern York spends plenty of time in practice dealing with bouncing snaps — especially when the Golden Knights are in a shotgun formation.
It was a snap that skimmed back to quarterback Ryan Kalke that ignited a critical play in the Knights' 33-3 rout of Division II rival Gettysburg on Friday.
Facing a second-and-long at the Gettysburg 45 — and leading by a 14-3 count early in the third quarter — Kalke somehow managed to find the football, pick it up, find some running room and scoot 44 yards to the Warriors' 1.
"It was a broken play," Kalke said. "Guys kept blocking, I picked up their blocks and got a big play out of it. That's just a good show for our team how we keep pushing."
Several plays later — ironically, another bad snap cost the Knights (3-3, 1-2) 4 yards and nearly the ball — Jordan Weaver bounced in from the 5 to make it 20-3.
Gettysburg never recovered.
"Broken play, but we'll take it," Eastern York skipper Dave Kemmick echoed. "We practice low snaps all the time. I always tell the kids, a low snap is better than a high snap. He should be ready for that."