High school football season is just a few nights away.
We’ve already taken a look at which teams in the YAIAA have the toughest non-conference schedules.
Now here are the games to circle on your calendar once the league season begins.
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 game against New Oxford, a team that has gone 10-2 since joining the division in 2020. The division titles aren’t won in Week 4, but this game could have big consequences.
Red Lion at York High, Week 5
York High easily won this game over a struggling Red Lion team last year. But these two teams have played some classics in recent years. The Red Lion scored two touchdowns in the final 3:26 to stun an unbeaten York High team by one point in 2018. York High overcame a 22-point second-half deficit against the Lions in 2020. The Bearcats have won their last three contests between these teams, but Jesse Shay’s Lions had won six straight before that. Can an improved Red Lion team challenge the Bearcats this year?
Central York at Dallastown, Week 6
Dallastown gave the undefeated Panthers quite a challenge in a 31-21 win at Central York in Week 9 last season. But the Wildcats were underpowered in that contest. Will it be like that this time? Maybe, but maybe not. The Wildcats should be one of the top teams in Division I this year and Central York will also be strong, but there are some questions to be answered at quarterback. Of course, these questions should be answered by week 6.
YAIAA football:What you need to know for the 2022 season
YAIAA football:View the entire 2022 season schedule
Delone Catholic at York Catholic, Week 6
This rivalry contest was played in Week 9 the last four seasons (or the penultimate Week 6 during the COVID-shortened 2020 season) and decided the YAIAA Division III title each time – with the two teams splitting the games. While the game has been postponed three weeks this season, it could still be the game that swings the title. York Catholic brings a lot of talent from an 11-1 team and Delone is determined to improve from a 6-5 mark. Regardless, this is a game that both teams feel for no matter what.
Dallastown at York High, Week 7
Last season’s final score of York High 36, Dallastown 20 doesn’t do that contest justice. It was a showcase between two of the most dynamic players in the league. Bearcats running back Jahiem White rushed 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 at West Virginia and Johnson at Pitt. And both teams can be even better than last season. Prepare the popcorn for this.
Kennard-Dale at New Oxford, Week 7
Last season, the Rams cemented themselves as the team to beat in YAIAA Division II with a 17-7 win over New Oxford. This year, the Rams will look to prove they weren’t a one-year wonder, while the Colonials will try to reclaim the crown they won in 2020. Will this be the title game?
Bermudian Springs at Littlestown, Week 10
Two traditional powers coming off disappointing seasons by their standards. Bermudian entered the Class 3A playoffs with a 5-5 record, while the Bolts dropped three spots at 4-6. Both teams hope to be much better this season. And this game has been a classic in the past. The Bermudians have won seven of their last 10 games, but six of those games have been decided by two scores or less. Will a playoff seed 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. This contest decided the league title shares in 2017 (Dallastown) and 2018 (Red Lion). And even recent years have offered some fireworks — even if less was at stake. Red Lion held off Dallastown, 28-21, in 2019 and then won a thriller, 56-49, in 2020. Dallastown won in a blowout last year, but with Red Lion looking to improve, don’t be surprised if at least a Class 6A playoff seed is on the line this year.
Spring Grove at South Western, Week 10
This classic rivalry game has lacked juice in recent years because the two schools haven’t been competitive at the same time — or both were struggling. But with both teams coming off back-to-back playoff seasons and expecting to be competitive, that could be different this season. South Western certainly hopes it will be. While the Mustangs went 6-5 last season, they lost, 35-0, to an outstanding Spring Grove team in the season finale. Looking ahead to the game this year, the Mustangs will want a comeback — and to secure a second straight playoff berth.
Central York at York High, Week 10
The game was circled on everyone’s calendar. That contest has decided at least a share of the last five YAIAA Division I titles. But after York High’s two wins in 2017 and 2018, the Panthers have won the last three by wide margins. Last year’s game was expected to be close, but it ended in a 60-14 blowout of Central York after a torrential rain prevented York High from getting any early ground as the Panthers took advantage of continued good field position. This year? The Bearcats could be the preseason title pick with the league’s best running back and quarterback on its roster as Central York moves through the Beau Pribula era. However, even York High coach Russ Stoner knows Central York is “still the team to beat until we knock them off.” 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.