WEST LAWN -- When Darian Hampton took the football on a reverse and found teammate Marquis Fells wide open for a 48-yard pass, Central York might have put a little doubt in top-seeded Wilson.
The eight-seeded Panthers defense had stopped the Bulldogs (11-1) on their first two possessions, and the trick play between their top two wide receivers added to that early in the second quarter Friday night at John Gurski Stadium. The drive, though, faded with a field goal.
Shortly thereafter, Fells' presence also faded -- absent because of an injury Central York coach Brad Livingston could not pinpoint -- and the Panthers' season ended with a 35-10 loss in the District 3 Class AAAA quarterfinals.
Hampton and Fells fueled the passing game for Central York (8-4) and quarterback Corey Hartz all season, allowing the signal caller to amass more than 2,000 yards passing. Friday night, Hartz found himself trying to evade Wilson's pass rush more than finding his top two targets. He finished with 159 yards through the air in his final game, completing 11-of-26 attempts, but none were bigger than Hampton's heave to Fells.
"You know you're not going to come over here and drive the ball 60, 70 or 80 yards every time," Livingston said, "but you look for plays.
"When you lose Marquis, you lose some options there."
Wilson seized momentum just as Central seemed to build some after a scoreless first quarter. The Bulldogs scored on their first play of the second, a short 4-yard pass on fourth-and-goal from Matt Timochenko to tight end Dominic Nigrelli, and they did not stop. They scored on their next drive and the one after that. One ended a 13-play drive following Kyle Smith's field goal for Central, and the next took only two plays after a Hartz interception in Panthers territory.
Both touchdowns were scored by Wilson running back Jimmy Brooks, who finished with three scores and a game-high 76 yards on just nine carries.
"This kind of night any points were going to be big," Livingston said. "The fewer you have to score against them, the better off you are."
The problem, as Livingston and Wilson coach Doug Dahms both acknowledged afterward, were the scoring chances Central gave up to Wilson with turnovers.
Hartz's interception that set up Brooks' second touchdown for a 21-3 lead was compounded by a lost fumble on Central's next offensive play. Wilson nearly scored again, but the Panthers warded off two Timochenko passes before Wilson kicker Hunter Rubright missed a 31-yard field goal to close the first half.
Central turned the ball over four times, three via interceptions, and Wilson twice turned them into touchdowns.
"We knew we had to put pressure on the quarterback because they like to get (Fells) out of the backfield, and they have a lot of speed," said Dahms, whose defense sacked Hartz four times. "We didn't feel they would be able to run the ball against us. We thought they were just going to open things up and try to make us screw up a couple of coverages, which they did one time, but for the most part their game plan is to try and confuse you. I thought our kids did a good job of recognizing and adjusting."
The Panthers' pass-heavy attack forced Dahms to alter his practice schemes this week, focusing more on secondary drills and pass rushing techniques. The changes were not new to his staff, however, as previous opponents, including Manheim Township and Cedar Crest provided a similar challenge.
Those two games resulted in Wilson shutouts. The Bulldogs have five of them this season, including last week's 48-0 win against Central's YAIAA rival, Dallastown. The Panthers' 10 points broke a streak of seven straight weeks in which Wilson allowed only one score or fewer per game.
Dahms even hinted at being impressed with his defense's play. When asked, he hesitated to compare it to previous teams, but offered one difference: "The one thing this defense has had to do was (adjust to) our offense being a little sluggish. Other years, our offense moved up and down the field pretty well."
Such was the case three years ago, when Central saw its season end at Wilson in the first round of the playoffs.
Central York 0 3 0 7 -- 10
Wilson 0 21 14 0 -- 35
Wil -- Dominic Nigrelli 4 pass from Matt Timochenko (Hunter Rubright kick). 11:54.
CY -- Kyle Smith 37 field goal, 9:22.
Wil -- Jimmy Brooks 7 run (Rubright kick), 2:02.
Wil -- Brooks 27 run (Rubright kick), :29.
Wil --Brooks 14 run (Rubright kick), 6:43.
Wil --Jesse Poore 5 run (Rubright kick), 5:28.
CY -- Darian Hampton 24 pass from Corey Hartz (Smith kick) 5:47.
-- CY -- Wil
First downs -- 9 -- 15
Rushes-yards -- 16-8 -- 49-304
Passing -- 12-28-3 -- 6-18-0
Passing yards -- 207 -- 61
Total yards -- 215 -- 365
Fumbles-lost -- 1-1 -- 1-0
Penalties-yards -- 4-24 -- 6-54
Rushing -- Central York, Sherief Sutton 6-26, Hartz 4-(-)43, Fells 2-0, Terrance Carter 2-34, Zach Steffee 1-(-)1, Zach Beam 1-(-)8; Wilson, Brooks 9-76, Junior Joseph 6-27, Dominic Moyer 5-9, Poore 5-51, Javon Young 3-29, Shane Dantzler 8-27, John Raifsnider 5-65, Connor Howell 5-9, Madison Miller 1-7, Timochenko 1-4, Kevin Weller 1-0.
Passing -- Central York, Hartz 11-26-3-159, Hampton 1-2-0-48; Wilson, Timochenko 6-17-0-61, Weller 0-1-0-0.
Receiving -- Central York, Hampton 5-124, Forest Curry 3-11, Fells 1-48, Tyler Wagner 1-4, Sutton 1-1, Nate Trona 1-19; Wilson, Young 2-35, Kyle Watkins 2-14, Nigrelli 1-4, Matt Close 1-8.