In one drive, Dallastown shows progress
It ended in disappointment. On the game's last play, Andrew Henry's floated pass down the left sideline grazed off of Andrew Heird's hands. Dallastown's hopes of a game-tying score dropped onto the soaked turf.
The final: West York 21, Dallastown 13.
But during the lead-up to that play -- a frantic, last-ditch drive that had started at the Wildcats' 1-yard line -- Dallastown coach Kevin Myers saw something to build on. His Wildcats had struggled to score during this young season, going 11 quarters without a touchdown heading into Friday. This time, faced with a seemingly insurmountable task, the Wildcats moved down the field and gave themselves a shot at a tie.
"I think we grew up a lot that last drive," Myers said.
It started with the quarterback. Henry, a sophomore making his third varsity start, had completed 4 of 14 passes prior to that drive for 26 yards.
This time, Henry showed composure in the shadow of his own end zone. He zipped short passes to open targets. A five-yard pass. Then an eight-yarder. Then 16 ... 17 ... 11.
Henry completed 5 of 7 throws on the drive for 57 yards. He also scrambled for 16 yards, and while there were a few plays when Henry should have run out of bounds and didn't, he still seemed in control while running Dallastown's two-minute offense.
Henry also benefited from what Myers called the best pass blocking his seen from his team yet this season.
Dallastown appeared to move inside the Bulldogs' 10-yard line on a long pass and run by Malik Lewis, but Lewis was called for a 15-yard facemask penalty. (Officials ruled he committed the infraction while trying to stiff arm a defender.) Because of that, Dallastown had to settle for a 22-yard prayer into the end zone on the final play.
Heird seemed to have a shot at the ball, but couldn't make the catch.
Disappointing? You bet. Still, there was plenty for the Wildcats to take from this one. Overall, it was probably their best all-around performance of the season. The difference between a win and a loss was minute. A slip here. A missed tackle there. And remember, this was against a perennially strong West York team.
The 1-3 record doesn't look good right now. And there are still issues to iron out. But Friday night's game -- and those last two minutes, especially -- showed there are still reasons for optimism down in Dallastown.
"We grew up a lot tonight," Myers said. "We saw a lot of good things out there. We just have to put up 48 (minutes) instead of 36 or 22. You got to put it all together."