By Chris Metcalf
GREIGSVILLE – Heading into the 2023-24 high school sports season, everybody throughout the Livingston Conference was excited to see the York boys’ basketball team make a run for the top of Section V.
That will come in March, but it’s November that has the York/Pavilion community popping.
Head coach Kurt Schneider and his No. 11 NYS Class D ranked York/Pavilion football squad are currently sitting at the No. 1 seed as they host No. 5 Notre Dame in a Class D semifinal Friday night in York.
Kick-off is slated for 7 p.m. in what will be one of the biggest and most anticipated football match-ups throughout Section V.
The two teams have met twice already this season with Y/P winning both match-ups, although both were equally competitive.
The Golden Knights won their Week 1 contest 20-12 on Sept. 1 in York and then defeated the Fighting Irish 25-18 during their Week 6 game on Oct. 5 at GCC.
York comes into the game 7-1, outscoring opponents 194-130 or an average margin of victory at 23-16.
“(Playing someone for a third time) is really uncharted territory for us,” coach Schneider said. “We have never played a team three times in a year, but that is the reality we all face in the Class D semis. If you look back at the previous two contests, both were really close, and I really don’t expect anything different in this one. Notre Dame is a good squad with some really good athletes, led by their QB, and we know that we are going to have a battle Friday night.”
Y/P’s offense has been fun to watch this fall, led by sophomore-slinging QB Parker Bonefede and senior scatback Carl Szczech.
Bonefede has gone 74-of-129 passing (57%) for 1,176 yards with nine TDs. He has also run 52 times for 217 yards and seven more scores.
The 5-foot-6, 160-pound Szczech has been very durable this season, rushing for 664 yards on 143 carries (4.6 avg) with 10 TDs. He’s also caught seven passes out of the backfield for 51 yards.
Bonefede’s three targets on the outside have all been exciting to watch this season with seniors Joe Bauer (6-foot-3) and Jake Pangrazio (6-foot-4) and sophomore Ryan Brady (6-foot) combining for 1,032 yards and nine TDs.
Bauer leads the trio with 544 yards on 21 receptions and four touchdowns while Pangrazio has made 16 receptions for 273 yards and four TDs. Pangrazio’s late TD reception against Notre Dame in the second match-up sealed the Golden Knights’ victory.
Brady has caught 23 passes for 215 yards and one score.
The threesome averages just over 17 yards every time they catch the ball.
Defensively, coordinator Cody DuBiel has his boys playing very well on that side of the ball, led by their linebacking core of Brady, senior Brennan Royce, and junior Liam Ezard .
Brady leads the team with 71 tackles and three interceptions while Royce has registered 53 tackles and two INT’s. Ezard has also played extremely well chipping in with 49 tackles, one sack and an INT.
Also on D, athletic six-foot, 170-pound senior defensive back Tyler Brady leads the team with six INTs and has also posted 34 tackles.
On the defensive line, senior Joe Munoz has been tremendous producing 26 tackles and three sacks.
With Y/P earning the top seed, they also earned a bye in the quarterfinals while Notre Dame picked up the road victory over defending champ O-A/E on Saturday.
While the week off certainly helped heal up a few dings, Schneider is hoping the consistency can get back in sync early Friday night.
“The bye week is a bit of a double-edged sword, we certainly had a chance to rest and recover both physically and mentally,” coach Schneider said. “We took a day and did some team building instead of football which was a lot of fun, but there is also the chance that you can lose that momentum we have been carrying with us. We have been trying to guard against that by making practice as game-like as possible and keeping that mental focus and grind alive.”
Schneider feels playing at home will help his squad, and this will be the final home game for his seniors.
“I think that the real advantage of home field, besides the obvious lack of travel, is the metal edge,” coach Schneider said. “We know that we have earned the right to play a home game again in sectionals for the second year in a row. We have talked at great length about the things we have earned this year, the top seed, the bye, and home playoff game, but we also know that we have to continue to earn the right to keep playing football. This is a really special group and a great group of guys to be around, from the players to the coaching staff. I think that we all are dialed in right now and doing everything we can to keep this season going one day at a time. We still have some big goals left on the table that we want to go get.”
The winner of Friday night’s game will play in the Class D title game Nov. 10 at Brockport against the winner of No. 2 Avon and No. 3 Canisteo-Greenwood.
“We all expect a good competitive game, like we said ND is a good team,” coach Schneider said. “You can really look at our entire season, and with very few exceptions, we have been in difficult ball games that were usually decided late in games. I think that the lessons learned from a difficult regular season is that we are never out of a game and we can play with anyone when we play our best version of ourselves and Golden Knight Football. So we’ll take it one play at a time, do our one-eleventh, go battle for our brothers, and see where we end up when it’s all said and done.”
A recipe for success right there!
Doug McFarland Photography