The Dallastown Wildcats got an early treat on Halloween Eve, defeating the Central York Panthers, 33-14, and clinching at least a share of their second consecutive YAIAA Division I title.
It will be the Wildcats' third division title in their last six seasons, and the first time in school history that the football team has won back-to-back division titles. The victory also extends Dallastown's undefeated record to 6-0 in the division and 9-0 overall.
"We're very happy," Dallastown head coach Kevin Myers said. "No one talked about (our team) at the beginning of the year, and quite frankly we didn't know what we'd have coming back. We had very few players returning, but it's a fun bunch of kids. They play well together and do their jobs, and it's well deserved."
The Wildcats controlled the game from the start. Central York received the opening kickoff and nearly turned the ball over on a fumble. Then, the Panthers fumbled the ball on their first offensive play, setting up Dallastown with good field position, which the Wildcats turned into three points. Quarterback Cade Gold then orchestrated a 48-yard drive capped by his own 3-yard touchdown run for a 10-0 lead with 6:18 left in the first quarter.
Gold scampered into the end zone again early in the second quarter to move Dallastown ahead 16-0.
The Panthers answered on their next drive to pull within 16-7, then pulled within two points after recovering Gold fumble and scoring on the ensuing drive.
Gold left the game after that drive and was replaced by Michael Sparks. He drove the Wildcats into field-goal range, and Drake Pew's 20-yard kick gave Dallastown a 19-14 cushion going into halftime.
"Michael's a cool cucumber," Myers said of Sparks. "You don't know if he's happy, sad, jubilant. I mean he's just a cool cucumber and did his job. The guys rallied around him in there. Kind of got stuck there in the second quarter even before Cade (to leave there), but it's a good win for the kids.
"A good win for the program top to bottom."
The Wildcats extended their lead even further in the second half, adding a touchdown in each of the third and fourth quarters.
After the game, there was no update on the status of Gold, who has been one of Dallastown's top performers this season. He entered the game 15th in Division I in rushing yards (467 for nine touchdowns).
Dallastown will face Red Lion next week. Despite having clinched the division, Myers said he doesn't think it will be hard to find motivation for the upcoming matchup.
"It's going to be Red Lion. That's all you need to say," Myers said. "It's going to be a hard-hitting, hard-fought game."
Dt — Drake Pew 20 field goal, 9:22
Dt — Cade Gold 3 run (Pew kick), 6:18
Dt — Gold 6 run (Pew kick no good), 11:53
CY — Nik Strine 5 run (Luckenbaugh kick), 7:02
CY — Noriega Goff 20 run (Luckenbaugh kick), 3:50
Dt — Drake Pew 20 field goal, 4.5 seconds
Dt — Edgar Centeno 79 run (Pew kick), 4:23
Dt — Dillon Callahan 9 run (pew kick), 3:40
Dt CYFirst downs1511Rushes-Yards40-33612-106Passing3-78-23-1Passing Yards31117Total Yards397223Punts4-792-43Fumbles-Lost1-13-1Penalties-Yards5-255-36
Rushing — Dt, Cade Gold 10-44, Michael Sparks 5-28, Dillon Callahan 7-92, Edgar Centeno 7-123, Jack Marks 10-42, Connor green 1-7. CY, Shyheim Goff 6-60, Nik Strine 2-11, Noriega Goff 4-35.
Passing — Dt, Gold 2-2-24, Michael Sparks 1-5-7. CY, Nik Strine 8-23-117.
Receiving — Dt, Jakob Jensen 2-16, Israel Carrion 1-15 . CY, Brandon Falkenstein 3-42, Shyheim Goff 1-4, Shawn Johnston 1-14, Sakai Barton 3-57.