York Suburban football left no doubt that they are the best team in YAIAA Division II Friday night. The Trojans forced six turnovers, dropped 49 first-half points on Dover and won going away, 55-27, moving York Suburban one step closer to its first division title since 1989.
In a first half that resembled a video game or a Big 12 college football shootout, York Suburban (6-2, 4-0) put on a show and that might be understating it. The Trojans lit up the scoreboard for five touchdowns in their first 15 plays and pushed a 21-14 lead to 49-14 in the second quarter.
"I was talking to (offensive coordinator) Coach Marshall on the sideline and I thought we were going to be in for a TCU-Baylor type game," Trojans quarterback Thomas Merkle joked. "We thought we were going to be in for a shootout when it was 21-14, but we broke a couple plays open and the defense got some turnovers. It was a great win overall."
Dover was playing without numerous starters. The Eagles dressed 24 players but boast a roster of 40 players.
Merkle, the league's top passer, found the league's leading receiver, Collin Mailman, twice for touchdowns in the first quarter, then a third time early in the second. Mailman, who racked up 161 yards all in the first half, added an interception on the defensive side of the ball. On Mailman's second touchdown, the senior receiver was hit 2 yards behind the line of scrimmage on a screen pass but somehow eluded three tacklers and sprinted down the sideline for 24 yards.
"We always see the same thing on the field since we've been playing together for so long," Merkle said of his connection with Mailman.
Teague Hoffman, Dajour Henderson and Justice Gettle added touchdown runs of 53, 72 and 44 yards for the Trojans in the first half, and a Travis Edwards 6-yard run pushed the lead to 49-14 at the half.
"Maybe in the summer but not this fall," York Suburban head coach Andy Loucks joked when asked if he had seen his offense play that well. "We've had our moments where we were playing well, but we were really clicking in the first half."
Dover (4-4, 3-1) added long touchdowns from Durran Ledbetter and Andrew Hoffman, and quarterback Tad Pequignot, who had passed for 75 yards all season, threw for 310 yards and four touchdowns Friday.
At one point in the first half, there were six touchdowns in a six-minute span.
The second half featured a running clock. Dover's Cole Jesmer added two late touchdowns, but it wasn't nearly enough. Dustin Knaub picked off Pequignot on Dover's first drive of the second half, then scooped up a loose ball and took it 32 yards for a touchdown on Dover's second drive.
The win leaves York Suburban alone atop Division II with two games to go in the regular season. No Trojans team has won a YAIAA division title since 1989 when they finished in a five-way tie in Division II.
"Nothing's ever locked up," Loucks said of the division race. "We knew we had to win tonight to control our own destiny and be the only undefeated team left in the division. It was a very important game."
YS — Collin Mailman 53 pass from Thomas Merkle (Jonas Atkinson kick), 10:26.
DO — Durran Ledbetter 56 pass from Tad Pequignot (Josh Bradley kick), 3:45.
YS — Teague Hoffman 53 run (Atkinson kick), 2:49.
YS — Mailman 24 pass from Merkle (Atkinson kick), 1:44.
DO — Andrew Hoffman 59 pass from Pequignot (Bradley kick), 0:00.
YS — Dajour Henderson 72 run (Atkinson kick), 11:38.
YS — Mailman 44 pass from Merkle (Atkinson kick), 9:46.
YS — Justice Gettle 44 run (Atkinson kick), 5:08.
YS — Travis Edwards 6 run (Atkinson kick), 2:17.
YS — Dustin Knaub 32 fumble return (pass failed), 5:47.
Do — Cole Jesmer 16 pass from Pequignot (Bradley kick), 8:47.
Do — Jesmer 17 pass from Pequignot (time expired), 0:00.
DoYSFirst downs1415Rushes-yards26-8222-250Passing16-28-311-17Passing yards310216Total yards392466Punts1-464-30Fumbles-lost4-31-0Penalties-yards 3-251-15
Rushing — Do, Durran Ledbetter 7-13, Cole Jesmer 5-(-8), Tad Pequignot 14-77. YS, Dajour Henderson 9-93, Teague Hoffman 3-62, Travis Edwards 4-38, Justice Gettle 3-56, Pete Groncki 1-(-1), Lucas Friend 1-2, Jake Taylor 1-0.
Passing — Do, Pequignot 16-28-310-3. YS, Thomas Merkle 9-13-208, Ben Igo 2-4-8.
Receiving — Do, Andrew Hoffman 5-87, Caden Snyder 3-58, Kire Watkins 1-0, Jesmer 2-33, Ledbetter 5-132. YS, Collin Mailman 4-161, Brad Smith 2-32, Dustin Knaub 1-11, Henderson 2-4, Gettle 1-1, Mitch Franz 1-7.