Leftover notes from Friday's District 3 football action
Thanksgiving week is upon, and there are still three YAIAA teams alive in the District 3 football playoffs. Two will play for district titles next week.
We'll have plenty of buildup to those games throughout the coming days. For now, here are some quick hits from Friday's action to whet your appetite for next week.
-- At West York, where I was Friday, the Bulldogs turned an overwhelming performance during a 42-17 win against Spring Grove. It wasn't the fact that West York won that surprised many -- it was just how dominant the Bulldogs were against a very good Spring Grove team.
One of the big keys for West York was its running game. The Bulldogs were held to 77 rushing yards on 32 carries in their first meeting with Spring Grove. On Friday, they ran for 193 on 34 carries, with 123 of those yards coming in the first half.
"It’s been all week," West York coach Ron Miller said. "(Offensive line coach Jim Snelbaker) has been hammering, hammering the O-line. Those guys just did a phenomenal job. I thought our game plan was well-executed. We were able to take some advantage of their aggressiveness."
-- Even on a night when he was frequently double-teamed, West York's do-it-all receiver Zack Smith found ways to make plays.
The senior hauled in a 49-yard touchdown pass right before halftime, one of his two catches on the night. Perhaps just as importantly, his 72-yard kickoff return set up West York's first touchdown, a 15-yard Brock Snellbaker run. That immediately followed a Spring Grove field goal in the first quarter.
"That was in my opinion probably the biggest key to the game tonight," Stoner said of the return.
-- Smith left the game briefly in the second half but returned to the game. Two other West York players also suffered ankle injuries: senior lineman Janssen Nelson and junior safety Justin Warfel. Nelson did not return the game after leaving in the second quarter, but Miller is hopeful he will be able to play next week.
-- West York's semifinal opponent is one it knows well. Next Friday will mark the third time in the last four years the Bulldogs and Susquehanna Township have met in the District 3 playoffs. The Indians beat West York, 7-6, in the 2009 district semfinals. Last year, the Bulldogs returned the favor with a 42-14 win in the district quarterfinals.
Susquehanna Township, the No. 3 seed, beat Manheim Central, 27-17, on Friday.
-- Though this was a disappointing end to the season for Spring Grove, Rockets coach Russ Stoner stressed perspective after the game. His team went from 1-9 doormat last season to Division I co-champions this fall.
The better news: Spring Grove will return eight starters on both sides of the ball next season.
"Nobody, nobody thought we could do what we just did this year," Stoner said. "I'm proud of the effort, I'm proud of the commitment they made.
"I don't want to be a flash in the pan. I want to be with the West Yorks and the Centrals of this league. That's what we're going to get to work on. As soon as the New Year gets here we'll be back in the weight room."
-- You have to feel from Bermudian Springs running back Zach Stroup, whose senior season is likely over after he suffered a broken collarbone during his team's win over Biglerville on Friday.
The team's leading rusher will have to watch next week, as the Eagles take on Wyomissing in the District 3 Class AA title game. The Evening Sun's Daniel Paulling has more on Stroup here.
That will put more pressure on Bermudian running backs Tristan Sponseller and Ryan Markle to carry the load.
-- How good is Bermudian's opponent next week? Including its 42-14 win over Schuylkill Valley on Friday, Wyomissing has outscored its opponents a combined 481-126 this season. The Spartans are averaging 40.1 points per game and allowing just 10.5.
-- Delone Catholic's opponent in the District 3 title game, Steel-High, has made it to this point largely thanks to defense. During their current five-game winning streak, the Rollers have allowed 6.6 points per game. They've given up more than seven points once in that span, and blanked Millersburg, 21-0, during Friday's semifinal.
The Squires held off Columbia, 28-16, in their semifinal matchup Friday.