BLAIR — Don’t schedule the York Dukes on Homecoming night with a fireworks show afterward. They just might ruin the night.
Behind a defensive performance that would make any coordinator proud, the Class B No. 7 York Dukes defeated the No. 4 Blair Bears 14-0 at Krantz Field in Blair. The Dukes’ stout 3-4 bend-but-don’t-break defense under coordinator Matt Kern hasn’t allowed a score in its last six quarters. It held Blair to 268 total yards on the night and just 71 on the ground.
“The defense was incredible,” York head coach Glen Snodgrass said. “Our coaches do an amazing job. We have a lot of speed on that side of the ball. But they just played their guts out. Once again, we were the stronger team in the fourth quarter.”
York’s opening series of the game resulted in the only score for its run-heavy offense. The Dukes rattled off a 13-play drive that drained around six minutes off the clock and ended with a 23-yard keeper around the edge from dual-threat quarterback Ty Bartholomew. York finished with 164 total yards and rushed for 73 in the win.
Bartholomew’s touchdown almost didn’t happen, however, as York was about to punt on a fourth-and-9, but Blair was called for offsides. The Dukes went for it on fourth-and-4, and converted when Bartholomew found wideout Tyler Wright for a 5-yard catch near his own sideline.
Blair’s offense had trouble getting anything going against the Dukes’ defense. Its first two series resulted in three-and-outs. The Bears’ third drive ended when Wyatt Collingham stepped in front of a Jason Stewart pass for an interception.
York’s defense, which was also without injured starting linebacker Chase Cotton, came up big again just before halftime when it stopped Blair from scoring, even when the Bears had the ball on the Dukes’ 3. On both third and fourth down, Stewart threw incomplete passes and York took a 7-0 lead at halftime.
Collingham had another big night for his team. Midway though the fourth quarter, Blair coughed up the ball on a third-and-1 and Collingham scooped and scored from 54 yards to give the Dukes a 14-0 advantage.
Against Alliance last week in York’s season opener, Collingham returned a kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown and ran for a 49-yard rushing score.
“Wyatt Collingham, he’s that’s garbage man. He finds ways to get big yards in key situations,” Snodgrass said.
Collingham, a backup running back, may have to be more involved in the offense next week at McCook. York’s starter at running back and outside linebacker, Jacob Diaz, was injured in the second quarter and never returned to the game.
Without Diaz in the lineup, York’s offense struggled to move the ball. He’s also a key part to the defense.
“It really cuts your playbook down,” Snodgrass said of the offense without Diaz. “I feel like Wyatt can be a very capable back, though. With more reps he’ll be a much improved player next week.”
York (2-0) 7 0 0 0 — 0
At Blair (1-1) 0 0 0 7 — 14
Y: Ty Bartholomew 23 run (Thomas Ivey kick)
Y: Wyatt Collingham 54 fumble return (Ivey kick)