York Catholic brings home district gold
BOILING SPRINGS - York Catholic finally brought home another district championship.
It was fitting that some of the York Catholic players that had experienced so much pain in this game during recent years finally ran out to midfield to accept the championship trophy. After losing three consecutive district championship games, York Catholic came out on top, defeating Newport, 51-21, in the District 3 Class 2A final Saturday night at Bud Ecker Field at Boiling Springs High School.
"Seeing our heartbreak the past couple years, we didn't want to see that again," senior running back Jakkar Kinard said.
"It's everything. I mean, I honestly dreamed about this kind of thing. It means everything. I'm so happy. It's amazing, man."
The Irish advance to the state tournament to play Dunmore at a site and time to be determined.
The elusive second district title in program history didn't come easily for the Irish. Locked in a back-and-forth game, with both teams piling up huge offensive numbers, the Irish (10-1) managed to hold Newport (9-2) scoreless in the second half.
"We hoped every year, this year we had the best chance so we went out and prepared and got it," senior Irish quarterback Dan Yokemick said.
Freed up to run behind York Catholic's big offensive line, Yokemick did a bit of everything, fueling York Catholic's 572 yards of total offense. He rushed for 298 yards and three scores. He also threw for two scores. Kinard picked up another 239 yards rushing, and he scored three first-half touchdowns.
"They are the most athletic big boys I've ever met," Yokemick said about his offensive line. "They're fun to play with. They make it easy for me."
Yokemick didn't mince words. The game turned in the second half when the Irish mixed up their defensive look. Switching from a three-man defensive front to a four-man front, they and Newport couldn't keep pace.
"They couldn't stop our offense, but our defense won this game," Yokemick said.
The Irish picked off five passes, but that only happened in large part because the Irish defense figured out how to slow Newport's running attack. Eli Goodling rushed for 117 first-half yards. He was held to 44 yards rushing in the second half.
Trailing, 39-21, on their first possession of the second half, the Buffaloes put together a 15-play, 51-yard drive.
York Catholic coach Eric Depew cheered on his defensive unit, telling them, "This is what we want," when Newport slowly moved the ball downfield.
Kinard, who picked off two passes in the game, ended the drive by snatching a pass attempt in the back of the end zone. Then Yokemick helped seal the win with a 91-yard touchdown run.
"We had to get a stop, get a stop, and we finally made some adjustments," Depew said. "They ate all that clock, and then we got the ball back. That was in our favor."
It marked York Catholic's first District 3 championship since the 1982 season, the first year of the District 3 football tournament.
The big plays proved to be the difference in the game, with York Catholic breaking off three touchdown runs of 63 yards or more.
"We want to enjoy this, this is something we've been wanting for a long time," Depew said. "We've been running this race, and to get it ... and finally come up with it, we're going to enjoy this one."
Check back for video highlights.
N – Eli Goodling 1 run (Justin Barlup kick), 9:29.
YC – Dan Yokemick 63 run (kick blocked), 8:39.
YC – Brenden Kennedy 9 pass from Yokemick (pass failed), 2:28.
YC – Jakkar Kinard 67 run (Nicolas Basile kick), :44.7.
N – Goodling 9 run (Barlup kick), 11:28.
YC – Kinard 1 run (Basile kick), 8:45.
N – Drew Paden 63 pass from Noah Heimbaugh (Barlup kick), 7:22.
YC – Kinard 4 run (kick blocked), 3:43.
YC – Yokemick 36 run (run failed), 9:38.
YC – Yokemick 91 run (Basile kick), 2:20.
YC – Ryan Sewell 15 pass from Yokemick (kick blocked), 5:09.
Rushing — YC, Kinard 29-239, Yokemick 18-298, Jake Hamilton 3-2. N, Goodling 31-161, Heimbaugh 6-28.
Passing — YC, Yokemick 3-4-1-33, Kennedy 0-1-0-0. N, Heimbaugh 8-24-5-159.
Receiving — YC, Kennedy 1-9, Ryan Sewell 2-24. N, Noah Reich 3-62, Paden 3-80, Preston Berkheimer 2-17.