YORK —  The plan for the York High School football team in the second half of Friday’s Class B South game against Leavitt was to try and establish the running game.

Not even York head coach Randy Small could have imagined what he witnessed from the Wildcat sideline in the game’s final 24 minutes.

The Wildcats ran 32 plays in the second half, and every play saw senior quarterback Trevor LaBonte either hand the ball off to Andrew Rodrigues (21 times), Ryan Daley (five times), Spencer Thorne (two times) or keep it himself (four times).

York had three possessions in the second half and scored on all three drives as it rallied from a 14-point halftime deficit and pull out a emotional, 21-14 win over the Hornets.

“We had to play smashmouth football (in the second half) and that is simply what we did,” Small said. “That first drive gave us a little energy, then we stuffed them defensively and that gave us a little more energy and we got going.”

Rodrigues finished the night with 229 yards on 33 carries and reaching the end zone on touchdown runs of 5 and 6; the final one giving York the game-winning touchdown with 47.7 seconds left.

“We’ve had a lot of good ones over the years, and he’s learning how to run downhill and his line is finding what it is to roll over people,” Small said. “You put those two together and good things happen. We grew uptonight.”

In total, the Wildcats, behind the two tight end offensive line of Timmy MacDonald, Andrew Bricker, Jackson McCarty, Oscar Kwok, Colin Palmer, Will Sheive and Jake Nelson, rushed for 315 yards; 172 coming the second half.

“They ran it right at us and we had a hard time stopping it,” said Michael Hathaway, who wasn’t surprised that York ran the ball 32 times in the second half. “Not at all, I was surprised they didn’t run every play in the first half to be quite honest. We thought that was going to be their game plan coming in and as the game went on, they just wore us down.”

York won the opening coin toss, but elected to defer into the second half. Leavitt scored a pair of second quarter touchdowns and benefitted from three York turnovers in the first half, taking a 14-0 lead into intermission.

The Wildcats took the second half kickoff and marched 67 yards on 11 plays, taking nearly 5 minutes off the clock and culminating on LaBonte’s two-yard keeper up the middle on second-and-goal.

York never got to a third down play on the drive and gained at least 4 yards on the first nine plays of the drive and cut the Leavitt lead to 14-7 with 7:36 left in the third.

The Wildcats then forced Leavitt to a three-and-out on the ensuing possession with the highlight play being Bricker’s tackle of D’Andre James in the backfield for a 2-yard loss on third-and-3.

The York offense went right back to work, from its own 45-yard line. Once again, the Wildcats threw a heavy dose of Rodrigues at Leavitt, as the first-year running back carried the ball six times on the eight-play drive, gaining 37 yards. The final carry of the drive was a 5-yard touchdown run, tying the game at 14-14 with 1:38 left in the third.

“My line is the best, I love my guys,” Rodrigues said. “We’re not the biggest kids, but we have the most heart, play strong, play physical, get low and drive them out.”


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