High school football season is just a few nights away.
We’ve already looked at which teams have the toughest non-conference schedules in the YAIAA.
Here are the games to circle on your calendar now that the league season has started.
New Oxford at Dover, Week 4
Dover is expected to be a contender in YAIAA Division II after two seasons in Division I. The Eagles’ first league game is a home contest against New Oxford, a team that has gone 10-2 since joining the division in 2020. The division titles were clinched in Week 4, but this game could have a big impact.
Red Lions at York High, Week 5
York High easily defeated a struggling Red Lion team last year. But these two teams have played some classics in recent years. The Red Lions scored two touchdowns in the final 3:26 to upset an undefeated York High team in 2018 by one point. York High overcame a 22-point deficit in the second half against the Lions in 2020. The Bearcats have won the last three contests. Between these teams, however, Jesse Shay’s Lions had won six straight games before that. Can an improved Red Lion team challenge the Bearcats this year?
Central York at Dallastown, Week 6
Dallastown challenged the undefeated Panthers last season with a 31-21 win over Central York in Week 9. But the Wildcats were clear underdogs in that tournament. Will it be the same this time? Maybe, but probably not. The Wildcats should be one of the best teams in Division I this year and Central York will be strong as well but there are some questions to answer at quarterback. Of course, those questions should be answered within week 6.
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Delon Catholic at York Catholic, Week 6
This rivalry tournament has been played in Week 9 for the past four seasons (or the last Week 6 during the COVID-abbreviated 2020 season) and has decided the YAIAA Division III title each time – with the two teams splitting the games. With the game moved three weeks earlier this season, it could still be the game that swings the title. York Catholic returns a lot of talent from an 11-1 team and Delone is determined to improve from a 6-5 mark. Either way, this is a game that both teams will pull out no matter what.
Dallastown at York High, Week 7
York High’s final season final score of 36, Dallastown 20 doesn’t do that contest justice. It was a showdown between two of the most dynamic playmakers in the league. Jaheem White led the Bearcats rushing for 274 yards and four touchdowns on 19 carries while Dallastown receiver Kenny Johnson caught eight passes for 192 yards. Both players have returned and committed to Power Five programs — White to West Virginia and Johnson to Pitt. And both teams could be even better than last season. Prepare popcorn for this.
Kennard-Dale at New Oxford, Week 7
Last season, the Rams cemented themselves as the team to beat New Oxford 17-7 in YAIAA Division II. This year, the Rams will be looking to prove they aren’t a one-year wonder while the Colonials will try to reclaim the crown they won in 2020. Will this be the match that decides the title?
Bermudian Springs at Littlestown, Week 10
The two traditional powers are coming off disappointing seasons by their standards. The Bermudians entered the playoffs with a 5-5 record in Class 3A while the Bolts dropped three spots with a 4-6 mark. Both teams are hoping to do better this season. And this game has been a classic in the past. The Bermudians have won seven of their last 10 matchups, but six of those games have been decided by two scores or less. Will playoff seeding or a share of the YAIAA Division III title be on the line this year?
Dallastown at Red Lion, Week 10
The most anticipated rivalry game in the league. The tournament determined the shares of the 2017 (Dallastown) and 2018 (Red Lions) league titles. And the past few years have also provided some fireworks—albeit less risky ones. The Red Lions held off Dallastown, 28-21, in 2019 and then won a thriller, 56-49, in 2020. Dallastown won in a blowout last year, but don’t be surprised if the Red Lions expect to improve. Playoff seeding in Class 6A is on the line this year.
Spring Grove Southwestern, Week 10
This classic rivalry game has lacked juice in recent years because the two schools weren’t competitive at the same time — or both were struggling. But with both teams coming off playoff seasons and expected to be competitive, it could be different this season. Southwest certainly hopes it will. Last season the Mustangs went 6-5, but lost 35-0 to a great Spring Grove team in the season finale. By hosting this year’s game, the Mustangs will want to recoup some money — and secure a second straight playoff berth.
Central York at York High, Week 10
The game circled everyone’s calendar. The tournament has decided at least a share of the last five YAIAA Division I titles. But after two York High victories in 2017 and 2018, the Panthers have won the last three by large margins. Last year’s game was expected to be close but ended in a 60-14 Central York blowout as torrential rains prevented York High from finding any early ground while the Panthers consistently took advantage of good field position. this year? The Bearcats could be preseason favorites for the title with the league’s best running backs and quarterbacks on their roster while Central York moves past the Beau Pribula era. Still, even York High coach Ross Stoner knows Central York is “still a winning team as long as we knock them out.” Let’s hope for better weather and a closer game this time.
Matt Allibone is a sports reporter for GameTimePA. He can be reached at 717-881-8221, [email protected] or on Twitter at @bad2theallibone.