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Red Lion secured the YAIAA Division I championship with Friday's 42-7 win against Spring Grove. George Marinos, for GameTimePA.com

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After finishing runner-up in YAIAA Division I for the past two seasons, Red Lion finally broke through.

The Lions beat Spring Grove, 42-7, on Friday night, improving to 9-0 on the season. Coupled with Central York's win against Dallastown, the victory gave Red Lion its first division title since 2003.

"It's incredibly gratifying," said Red Lion head coach Jesse Shay. "Most importantly, the staff and kids know we're not happy with just a division title. We're a win away from a perfect season, which is a fantastic feat for any team."

READ MORE: Red Lion, York Catholic on verge of ending droughts (column)

Despite the final score, it wasn't always easy for Red Lion on Friday night. The Lions possessed the ball just three times in the first half, and Spring Grove put together two quality drives on the strength of three third-down conversions and a fourth-down conversion in the opening quarter.

"Spring Grove did a nice job controlling the ball in the first half," Red Lion head coach Jesse Shay said. "The message to the defense was we've got to get the ball back. I believe our offense can put up points with almost anybody, but they have to have the ball first."

When the Lions did have the ball, they put up points.

However, the Spring Grove defense made them work. One Red Lion scoring drive took seven plays, and another took 14.

"That (emotion) kept us in the game," Spring Grove head coach Kyle Sprenkle said. "The kids were playing very emotional at the beginning, and you expect that."

Spring Grove nearly came up with a game-changing play with just over a minute left in the half.

The Rockets punted, and Ronnie Lawson raced downfield and nailed the returner as the ball touched his arms. The ball popped loose, and Spring Grove recovered.

However, a penalty for kick-catch interference was called, and the Rockets had to punt again.

Red Lion recovered a Spring Grove onside kick to start the second half.

Sam Emig completed a fourth-and-8 pass to Taylor Uberti, and two plays later, Dylan Gurreri scored a 3-yard touchdown on a sweep to the right.

In the first half, Gurreri had carried the ball to the 1 on one drive, and the 7 on another, only to watch a teammate run the ball for a score on the next play.

Emig completed the scoring for Red Lion with a swing pass into the right flat for Uberti that went for a 28-yard score, and a 14-yard pop pass to Patrick Daugherty on the first play of the fourth.

Red Lion will look to complete an undefeated regular season next week against Dallastown. You can watch that game live at GameTimePA.com.

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Red Lion_7_7_21_7_—_42    

Spring Grove_0_0_0_7_—_7 

First Quarter 

RL -- Sam Emig 1 run (Emig kick), 3:55

Second Quarter 

RL -- Patrick Daugherty 7 run (Emig kick), 4:16

Third Quarter 

RL -- Dylan Gurreri 3 run (Emig kick), 8:28

RL -- Daugherty 3 run (Emig kick), 6:27

RL -- Taylor Uberti 28 pass from Emig (Emig kick), 2:14

Fourth Quarter 

RL -- Daugherty 14 pass from Emig (Emig kick), 11:52

SG -- Brady Stein 24 pass from Jake Messersmith (Drew Gordon kick), 8:38

Team statistics

 _RL_ SG 

First downs_14_12

Rushes-Yards_32-231_37-128

Passing_8-13-0_8-20-2

Passing Yards_88_117

Total Yards_319_245

Punts_2-36.5_3-33.3

Fumbles-Lost_0-0_0-0

Penalties-Yards_3-15_3-35

Individual statistics

Rushing — Red Lion, Dylan Gurreri 12-153, Zach Throne 3-22, Patrick Daugherty 5-19, Sam Emig 6-17, Tyler Ness 4-16, Bronson Warner 1-2, Paul Jones 1-2. Spring Grove, Braden Brandt 22-60, Jake Messersmith 7-38, Anthony Hinson 5-33, David Tagliari 1-2, Eric Glass, Jr. 2-(-5).

Passing —  Red Lion, Emig 7-12-0-68, Throne 1-1-0-20. Spring Grove, Messersmith 8-20-2-117, Tagliari 0-0-0-0.

Receiving — Red Lion, Throne 3-11, Taylor Uberti 2-44, Jones 1-20, Daugherty 1-14, Denny Dennison 1-(-1). Spring Grove, Brady Stein 6-113, Connor Reed 1-2, Clay Baker 1-2.

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