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YAIAA Week 7: Dallastown, South Western meet in elimination game

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The YAIAA Division I race is pretty simple right now.

Red Lion sits in first, showing no signs of slowing down. Four teams — Central York, Dallastown, South Western and Spring Grove — sit just behind the Lions, and each has one division loss. If any of those trailing teams suffer another division loss, it could be a setback that eliminates the team from title contention.

Both Dallastown and South Western find themselves in that position after suffering their first division losses last week.

Last year, the Wildcats edged the Mustangs, 29-21, in a battle for first place in the division. This year, their matchup is something of an elimination game to decide which team will stay in the mix for a division title.

The Wildcats have amassed 1,452 of their 1,686 yards this season on the ground. The Mustangs defense, which ranks in the top half of the league in rushing defense, will need to focus on stopping the run.

One of these teams will still be within at least a game of the YAIAA Division I lead when this one is over. Which team will it be?

Friday's games

Central York at Spring Grove

Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Last year: Spring Grove, 24-14.
The skinny: Speaking of South Western vs. Dallastown being an elimination game, this game has very similar stakes on the line. Both teams enter with one division loss, so only the winner will stay in contention to win the Division I title.
Panthers (4-2, 2-1) must: Take advantage of red zone possessions. Two weeks ago, the Panthers had multiple drives come up just short against South Western in a 14-11 loss. They rebounded against New Oxford last week, but the Rockets defense should put up a greater fight.  
Rockets (4-2, 2-1) must: Stay sharp on defense. Spring Grove held William Penn to 126 yards and forced three turnovers last week, but the Rockets face a much tougher offense this week.

Delone Catholic at Bermudian Springs

Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Last year: Bermudian Springs, 20-17.
The skinny: The Eagles look to stay undefeated in Division III, while the Squires will try to avoid their third division loss and remain on the outskirts of the title race. 
Squires (4-2, 1-2) must: Remain balanced on offense. After struggling to pass earlier this season, Delone got a very nice game from quarterback Brian Shermeyer (8-of-11, 130 yards, 2 TDs) against Biglerville. A similar performance would be huge against the Eagles
Eagles (5-1, 3-0) must: Start faster. Bermudian Springs has come out of the gate slow before rebounding to win multiple times this season, much to the frustration of head coach Jon DeFoe. That approach might not work against a strong team like Delone Catholic.

Dover at Conrad Weiser

Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Last year: Did not play.
The skinny: Dover looks to get on a winning streak after beating Kennard-Dale last week.
Eagles (2-4) must: Keep their young running back duo going. Derek Arevalo and Brandon Lawyer combined for 172 yards and four touchdown runs last week.
Scouts (3-3) must: Keep the chains moving. The Scouts amassed 20 first downs last week, building up possession time in a 38-27 win against Reading.

Eastern York at Susquehannock

Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Last year: Susquehannock, 42-20.
The skinny: Eastern York looks to stay at the front of the pack in YAIAA Division II and remain undefeated in divisional play.
Golden Knights (3-3, 3-0) must: Get Logan Kline and Keegan Corwell going. The two running backs combined for nearly 200 yards last week against Gettysburg.
Warriors (1-5, 0-2) must: Finish strong. The Warriors have entered the fourth quarter with a lead in two of their last three losses. Those late-game struggles need to be eliminated.

Gettysburg at Kennard-Dale

Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Last year: Kennard-Dale, 21-14.
The skinny: This game was an overtime thriller last year, and the Warriors want to get revenge to keep their season on track.
Warriors (3-3, 2-1) must: Stop the run. The Warriors are one of the better running teams in the league, but they were outgained on the ground by Eastern York last week.
Rams (0-6, 0-3) must: Be careful with the ball. The Rams turned the ball over three times last week, giving away a lot of yards in the field position battle.

Hershey at Red Land

Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Last year: Hershey, 34-7.
The skinny: The Patriots look get to back on track following a bye week and a disappointing Week 5 loss to Lower Dauphin.
Trojans (0-6, 0-2) must: Score points. The Trojans have been shut out twice this season, and mustered just two points against Cedar Cliff last week.
Patriots (4-2, 2-1) must: Protect the quarterback. The Patriots gave up two drive-killing sacks in a loss to Lower Dauphin two weeks ago.

Littlestown at Hanover

Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Last year: Hanover, 36-14.
The skinny: Hanover rebounded from three straight losses to beat Fairfield last week, but the Nighthawks now face a Littlestown team in the thick of the District 3 playoff race. 
Thunderbolts (5-1, 2-1) must: Slow down Logan Brown. The sophomore running back started at quarterback for Hanover last week and threw for 135 yards while running for 128. Keeping him bottled up will limit the Nighthawks' offense. 
Nighthawks (3-3, 1-2) must: Continue to stop the run. Hanover kept Fairfield running back Charlie Burnett in check last week, but now it must slow down the Littlestown duo of Wes Storey and Drew Matthews.

New Oxford at Red Lion

Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Last year: Red Lion, 61-21.
The skinny: This game matches up two teams going in very different directions.
Colonials (0-6, 0-3) must: Establish a passing game. The Colonials completed 2-of-19 passes last week for just 9 yards.
Lions (6-0, 3-0) must: Keep the offense balanced. Three players — Dylan Gurreri, Sam Emig and Patrick Daugherty — rushed for more than 70 yards in last week's blowout win against South Western.

Northern York at Mifflin County

Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Last year: Did not play.
The skinny: The Polar Bears look to stay in the Mid-Penn Colonial race.
Polar Bears (3-3, 1-2) must: Start fast. The Polar Bears made quick work of James Buchanan last week, scoring 42 first-half points in a 56-6 win.
Huskies (2-4, 2-1) must: Establish the running game. The Huskies had a great passing game last week against undefeated Shippensburg, completing 17-for-24 passes for 243 yards but only rushed for 84 yards.

York Catholic at Biglerville

Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Last year: York Catholic, 27-20.
The skinny: The Irish are rolling after last week's win over Littlestown, and now face the winless Canners. 
Fighting Irish (5-1, 3-0) must: Not get overconfident. York Catholic is clearly the favorite in this game, but every contest is important when you're fighting to win the division championship and make the District 3 title game. 
Canners (0-6, 0-3) must: Key on Jakkar Kinard and Dan Yokemick. The running back/quarterback combo makes the Irish go, and no team has slowed the duo down yet.

West York at York Suburban

Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Last year: York Suburban, 23-22.
The skinny: The Trojans look to stay undefeated in YAIAA Division II play and keep their four-game winning streak going.
Bulldogs (1-5, 1-1) must: Stay efficient in the passing game. The Bulldogs completed 15-of-21 passes last week against Governor Mifflin.
Trojans (4-2, 2-0) must: Keep airing it out. Trojans quarterback Ben Igo ranks third in the YAIAA in passing yards despite missing a game earlier this year.

York County Tech at Fairfield

Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Last year: York County Tech, 30-14.
The skinny: Two of the league's most improved teams look to get back to .500 in Division III play. 
Spartans (3-3, 1-2) must: Establish the run. Quarterback Josiah Smallwood has thrown the ball well this season, but the Spartans have struggled to run the ball against good teams. They'll have a better chance to be more balanced against a Fairfield team that gave up more than 400 rushing yards last week. 
Knights (4-2, 1-2) must: Get their offense back on track. The Green Knights averaged 38 points per game the first four weeks, but they have scored a combined 21 the last two weeks against tougher competition.

Saturday's game

Northeastern at William Penn

Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Last year: Northeastern, 35-8.
The skinny: The Bobcats righted the ship by beating Dallastown and now look to keep their playoff hopes alive.  
Bobcats (4-2, 1-2) must: Keep the run game going strong. The Bobcats rushed for 245 yards last week as they won a division game for the first time this year.
Bearcats (0-6, 0-3) must: Avoid bad penalties. The Bearcats had a 43-yard touchdown pass negated in last week's loss to Spring Grove. Those mistakes can't happen for a team that sometimes struggles to score.