WEST LAWN -- A week ago, Dallastown's chances of making the postseason were slim. The Wildcats were 20th in the District 3 Class AAAA rankings and needed help to earn the 16th and final seed.
They got the help last week, but no more Friday night at Wilson.
The top-seeded Bulldogs (10-1) made quick work of Dallastown (4-7) by scoring four times in the first quarter, not yielding a first down until the third and advancing with a 48-0 win at Wilson's John Gurski Stadium. Wilson will get another YAIAA foe next week in the quarterfinals, as Central York beat Chambersburg, 33-28.
Wilson's defense is gaining confidence as the season wears on; the Bulldogs' shutout Friday was their fifth of the season. They have not allowed an opponent to score more than once in any of their last seven games.
However, one problem Wilson coach Doug Dahms said he wanted to address was quickly resolved.
"We've been struggling, offensively," Dahms said, "so we wanted to get our offense on a roll."
Their first drive took less than 2 minutes and ended with senior Jesse Poore running 20 yards for a touchdown. Their second drive took just 50 seconds and ended with another 20-yard run, this time by Connecticut-bound Junior Joseph, who was recruited as a 6-foot-2, 235-pound defensive end.
It didn't get any better for Dallastown, as Chandler Green was unable to get up from the Wilson sideline on his own after catching a 7-yard pass from Andrew Henry. Later in the first quarter, linebacker Drew Romesberg had to be helped off the field after he was shaken up. Dallastown coach Kevin Myers said Green hurt his ankle. He was unable to comment on the extent of Romesberg's injury.
Green's reception was Dallastown's biggest offensive gain of the first half. Wilson's defense held Dallastown to negative-4 yards of total offense in the first half. The Wildcats opened the second half by finally converting a first down and advancing to the Wilson 6-yard line, but that came against the Bulldogs' backups.
And even that drive ended with an interception that led to another Wilson touchdown with the running clock in effect.
Myers blamed missed tackles, which allowed Wilson quarterback Matt Timochenko to work quickly and efficiently. The 6-3 sophomore relied on his running game for the first two drives of a convincing first quarter, but he showed flashes of accuracy and a deep ball once the game took shape. He launched a 64-yard pass to 5-9 receiver Javon Young that pushed Wilson's early advantage to 21-0. Timochenko finished 7-of-13 for 103 yards.
Like the defense, the Wilson starting offense sat for the second half.
"They're a good team, but the area we've got to improve on is tackling," Myers said. "How many times have we had that? It's sort of been the story of our season."
The Wildcats were once contending for a YAIAA Division I title, until losses to William Penn and Spring Grove derailed their chances.
"We want to get to the point where we don't let down the guys that came before us," said Myers, whose teams have just made the playoffs twice since an undefeated regular season in 2010. "Our record may not show it, but I think we're there in the fact they kept coming out punching and firing."
Their chances to improve on their No. 16 ranking in Class AAAA next season should get a boost with Henry slated to return for a third year as the starting quarterback. Junior running back Robert Catchings should be in the fold, too, after emerging with a 1,000-yard season.
Just making it to the District 3 playoffs, though, is getting old to Myers.
"We're glad to be here," he said, "but we don't want to keep sneaking in year after year."
Dallastown 0 0 0 0 -- 0
Wilson 28 7 7 6 -- 48
W -- Jesse Poore 20 run (Hunter Rubright kick), 10:29.
W -- Junior Joseph 20 run (Rubright kick), 8:03.
W -- Javon Young 4 pass from Matt Timochenko (Rubright kick), 4:25.
W -- Chris Zerbe 3 blocked punt return (Rubright kick), 0:20.
W -- Jim Brooks 1 run (Rubright kick), 8:19.
W -- Shane Dantzler 4 run (Haji Fofana kick), 4:06.
W -- Jake Templin 2 run (run failed), 4:20.
-- Dt -- W
First downs -- 4 -- 11
Rushes-yards -- 18-12 -- 35-216
Passing -- 3-21-2 -- 7-14-0
Passing yards -- 30 -- 103
Total yards -- 42 -- 321
Fumbles-lost -- 1-1 -- 2-1
Penalties-yards -- 6-45 -- 9-85
Rushing -- Dallastown, Andrew Henry 10-11, Robert Catchings 6-0, Adam Deardorff 0-0, Damoni Weaver 1-1; Wilson, Brooks 6-40, Poore 4-48, Joseph 3-51, John Raifsnider 2-5, Timochenko 3-(-)15, Young 1-9, Dantzler 6-25, Connor Howell 4-2, Dustin Miller 2-(-)1, Jaymes Hoptley 1-3, Soul Ukpong 1-3, Tim Whitmoyer 1-46, Templin 1-2.
Passing -- Dallastown, Henry 3-21-2-30; Wilson, Timochenko 7-13-0-103, Hassan Richardson 0-1-0-0.
Receiving -- Dallastown, Josh Chronister 2-23, Chandler Green 1-7; Wilson, Young 3-71, Tim Shields 2-11, Kyle Watkins 1-7, unidentified 1-6.