The York County Cup’s first dance
The year 2013 marked the dawn of a new rivalry, as the York Silver Bullets joined the Atlantic Football Association.
The first dawn was marked by bitter cold on the frozen tundra of Hanover Middle School.
On March 16, 2013, the Hanover Rhinos hosted the Silver Bullets in the first battle for the York County Cup.
“(I was) crazy nervous,” said current Rhinos’ owner Adam Bostian, who was a linebacker in 2013. “It felt like alot of pressure, because we were two teams in the same county, so it was an immediate rivalry. We wanted to own York County.”
“We hoped (for a rivalry), that’s why we started the York County Cup,” York Silver Bullets’ tight end Shawn Brady said.
When the game started,the action was hard-hitting and rambunctious.
“Yeah it was a very intense game,” said then-Hanover safety Caleb Burns. “They thought they were better than us but we got them that day. Definitely one of the more physical games I’ve played in.”
“I never wanted to hit somebody so hard in my life,” Bostian said. “I wanted to make a statement that Hanover wasn’t some push-over team.”
Both offenses butted head-long into a defensive brick wall in the first quarter.
Finally, York quarterback Greg Murray forced the issue, and heaved up a deep-ball under pressure.
Hanover put a drive together midway through the second quarter, and Zac Carrick (Hanover ’05) cut through the crisp air and the right side of the York defense for a 5-yard touchdown run.
With Hanover leading 6-0 at halftime, the skies opened up.
First, buckets of rain poured down on the players, rendering the passing game almost completely obsolete.
Then, the rain turned to sleet, coating the already cold players in an icy layer.
“Yeah, the rain came down hard in the second half, it was a mess,” Burns said. “Neither offense could get anything going.”
The weather necessitated a change in the offensive game-plans for both teams.
“We used a lot of quick handoffs to alleviate the problem with footing,” Brady said.
Battling back, the Silver Bullets reached the red zone three times.
The first two forays ended with lost fumbles, but York had one more chance up its sleeve.
Inside the 20-yard line once more, in the final minutes, the Silver Bullets called for a pass.
Murray rolled out and fired the ball toward a receiver along the sideline, but Burns undercut the throw and picked it off for the game-sealing interception, and the cup belonged to the Rhinos.
“The whole defense deserves credit for that game though,” Burns said. “We had a good team and there were times that year and the year after where teams couldn’t score on us. I know (Hanover has) a couple guys left from those teams.”
York out-gained the Rhinos 195-78, and ground-out 135 yards on the ground ad 5.0 yards-per-carry.
“Yeah York moved the ball on us a couple times, but we tightened up” said Burns, who has played for both the Rhinos and the Silver Bullets in his career. “Throw in the rain and some good fortune, and we stopped them all day.”
“How in the heck did we lose to a bunch of kids and old men?,” Brady said he wondered after the game.
“They lost to a darn good group of kids and old men,” Burns said. “I seriously can’t tell you how good our D was.”