By Daniel Paulling
My Saturday column wasn’t posted so I decided to post it here. Please leave your comments below. There will be a lot of movement by Spring Grove for next week.
The biggest question in YAIAA football is who will win Division III.
Entering Friday, Bermudian Springs led with a 4-0 record, but Biglerville, Delone Catholic and York Catholic are each 3-1. Littlestown, York Suburban and Eastern York are all 2-2, but likely will need some help to make a run.
So, who wins? It’s too close for me to predict, but I had Bermudian Springs highest among area teams in the division in this week’s Sun Poll. The Eagles have a strong defense and have found two running backs after losing two good ones to graduation.
It wouldn’t surprise me, though, if Biglerville’s three running backs, Oakley Fissel, Jordan Wenk and Joe Hurda, who have combined for 1,292 yards and 21 touchdowns entering Friday, push their team to first.
Or if Delone makes a run as quarterback Brett Smith (ankle) and running back Nick Braun (shoulder) continue to bounce back from early-season injuries.
Or if York Catholic, with the gifted left arm of quarterback James Dougherty, takes the division. The Fighting Irish had 1,506 passing yards through their first five games, and Dougherty was completing 64.6 percent of his passes.
You get my point: There are four teams that could win the division.
As for the other teams in the area, here’s how I voted in my Week 6 Sun Poll. I decided to write about my picks here to give a sense of where I see each team as we pass the halfway point of the season. I usually post these on our blog (www.evesunblog.com/handfulofsports), but I’ll also do a column at the end of the football season. You can read my thoughts on the blog until then.
1. South Western: The Mustangs have inched up from fourth to second in the latest Sun Poll. They beat New Oxford 52-0 two weeks ago, a team Bermudian Springs beat “just” 21-0 in the first week of the season. I’d love to see a game between South Western and Bermudian Springs.
2. Bermudian Springs: How good is the Eagles’ defense? It allowed Eastern York running back Alex Cooley just 44 yards and no touchdowns. Compare that with how Cooley did against Columbia (325 yards, 5 touchdowns), Fairfield (297, 5) or Hanover (500, 8). Coach Jon DeFoe returned a lot of linemen from last season and found running backs in Zach Stroup and Tristan Sponseller to rush behind them.
3. Biglerville; 4. Delone; 5. Littlestown: Yes, Biglerville lost by 15 to Delone last week. So why pick the Canners ahead of the Squires? How else to treat each of these teams? Delone lost by 19 to Littlestown, a team Biglerville beat by 18. My deciding factor was that Littlestown lost to York Catholic to give it two divisional losses, making Delone’s loss to Littlestown “worse” than the Canners’ loss to Delone. Delone lost to a team lower in the Sun Poll than Biglerville did. It wouldn’t surprise me, though, to see this order change.
6. Spring Grove – The Rockets rushed for 1,033 yards last season but had 969 entering Friday. That has been a big reason for three wins in their first five games in coach Russ Stoner’s second year. They could take a big leap in the rankings soon.
7. New Oxford – The Colonials have won one non-divisional game this season after winning twice in divisional play the last two years. For them to contend for a division title, though, the offense needs to improve. It has rushed for just 260 yards and passed for 208 more.
8. Gettysburg – The Warriors earned their first win of the season against Waynesboro, but that came after four ugly losses with an average margin of defeat of 43.3 points. They are rebuilding, obviously, but still have a win this season.
9. Hanover; 10. Fairfield – I wouldn’t argue if someone placed Fairfield ahead of Hanover. The Green Knights have lost by five fewer points than Hanover in their three common opponents. But I’m leaning toward Hanover beating Fairfield if the game were played this weekend. I, of course, may flip-flop 10 times before then.