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

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It looks as though history is going to repeat itself this season ... sort of.

Last year, we saw two teams win YAIAA division titles for the first time in decades. This year, it looks like we're going to see two more teams end long droughts.

Last fall, York Suburban won the Division II title, its first such title since a four-way split title in 1989 and its first outright division title since winning Division I in 1982. Hanover split the Division III title, for its first division title since winning Division II in 1996.

This fall, Red Lion and York Catholic both sit one win away from guaranteeing their fan base at least a share of division title, and both teams will win those titles outright by winning each of their last two games. The Lions, undefeated overall and in Division I, haven't won a division title since sweeping through Division I in 2003. The Fighting Irish, 7-1 overall and undefeated in Division III, haven't done it since winning Division II in 1992.

How have these two teams reached this point?

They've both done it with high-powered offenses.

The Lions have generated the most-potent offense in the league, amassing 3,093 yards on the year and outscoring opponents 328 to 97 so far. Friday night's 28-18 win against Central York was Red Lion's first game that stayed close into the fourth quarter.

The Fighting Irish, whose only loss came Week 3 against powerhouse Berks Catholic, rank second in the league in total offense with 2,798 yards. York Catholic beat Bermudian Springs, the team that won three of the last five division titles, by four touchdowns on Friday night.

What's left for these two teams to do this season?

Red Lion faces Spring Grove on Friday before a hosting Dallastown, which stands at 7-1, in the league's best rivalry game. The Lions can lock up a share of the division title by beating the Rockets, then win it outright by beating the Wildcats.

There's also a chance Red Lion could claim the division outright before even taking the field against Dallastown. If the Lions beat Spring Grove, and Dallastown loses at home to Central York, the YAIAA Division I title is heading to Red Lion for the first time in 12 years regardless of what happens in Week 10.

York Catholic, meanwhile, faces Fairfield on Friday and York County Tech in Week 10. Both the Knights and Spartans are much improved from last season, when they combined to go 2-18, but these games should feel easier than the wins against Littlestown and Bermudian Springs in the last few weeks.

Barring an upset (or two), the Fighting Irish will clinch a share of the Division III title on Friday and win it outright at home the final week of the season.

There's also a chance we may see some history made in Division II. York Suburban leads the division with an undefeated record in divisional play, while the Trojans' next two opponents, Gettysburg and Eastern York, sit in second place with one division loss each.

The Trojans can clinch a share of the division title by beating the Warriors and clinch it outright by beating Golden Knights. If that happens, York Suburban would win back-to-back titles for the first time since 1961 and 1962, when the league didn't even have divisions.

Week 9 championship scenarios

YAIAA Division I

  • Red Lion can clinch a share with a win OR Dallastown loss
  • Red Lion can clinch outright with a win AND Dallastown loss

YAIAA Division II

  • York Suburban can clinch a share with a win

YAIAA Division III

  • York Catholic can clinch a share with a win